Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Two Large Gulfs: The One with the Oil, and the One with the Administration's Credibility

It feels like we've seen three catastrophes in the Gulf Coast in the past month. The first was the explosion that killed eleven workers; even if nothing else had happened, we would have had to reevaluate (not cancel, but reexamine) our views on offshore oil drilling to figure out just why this happened, and how much danger there was to the men (and women?) who would be out there extracting this oil.

The second was the platform sinking to the bottom of the ocean; I figure that sort of thing complicates the forensic investigation of just why this terrible disaster occurred.

But the third is the fact that it's now been a month and this well is still leaking like federal workers who didn't like Bush administration proposals. The New York Times's Bob Herbert tends to hyperventilate at the best of times, but I'll bet some folks on the right find themselves nodding a bit: "The response of the Obama administration and the general public to this latest outrage at the hands of a giant, politically connected corporation has been embarrassingly tepid. . . . The fact that 11 human beings were killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion (their bodies never found) has become, at best, an afterthought. BP counts its profits in the billions, and, therefore, it's important. The 11 men working on the rig were no more important in the current American scheme of things than the oystermen losing their livelihoods along the gulf, or the wildlife doomed to die in an environment fouled by BP's oil, or the waters that will be left unfit for ordinary families to swim and boat in. This is the bitter reality of the American present, a period in which big business has cemented an unholy alliance with big government against the interests of ordinary Americans, who, of course, are the great majority of Americans. The great majority of Americans no longer matter."

Of course, we might add a few more examples to those unholy business-government partnerships: TARP, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, General Motors using government money to pay back a government loan and then spending more government money to run commercials bragging about paying back their government loan, and so on . . .
The liberals at FireDogLake, among those least worried about being team players: "Now the White House is having a hissy behind closed doors with the media because dammitall, they can't stop asking questions about the spill. Oh that'll work, that'll make a difference; the biggest environmental disaster our country has experienced will go away if only the media shuts up about it."

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has decided to go his own way to protect his state; meanwhile, Capt. Edwin Stanton, who heads up the Coast Guard's response, is taking blame: "'The governor is right. It's too slow, and if it's anybody's fault, it's mine, for not pushing (BP) hard enough perhaps,' Stanton said.'We did have a problem with getting boom down here to begin with, but there seems to be boom that is in the staging areas that needs to be put out'" Later he called himself "slow and dumb," which I'm guessing was sarcasm.


Morning Jolt  . . . with Jim Geraghty

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