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The Kind of President I’d Like to Have

The other evening, Rachel Maddow delivered a fake Oval Office address, giving the kind of speech she wishes Obama had given about the oil spill, instead of the weak, cowardly, mealy-mouthed address he gave.

It's great.  This (Maddow) is the kind of president I hoped Obama would be. What a disappointment he is!


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Obama’s “Katrina”

Jp-SPILL-1-articleInline More than three weeks ago, I noted that, in my view, the Obama White House had totally botched its response to the BP oil spill in the gulf.  That situation has worsened considerably since then, in every way.  I now believe that this incident has become Obama's Hurricane Katrina.  Just as that event in 2005 spelled the beginning of the undoing of Bush's presidency, the Obama Administration's dismal, pathetic response to the Gulf oil spill will start to undo Obama's presidency.   Trust erodes further; questions of competence predominate; dissatisfaction spreads.

In his column in today's Times, Bob Herbert notes that it was Bush's Administration that gave BP all sorts of environmental waivers in 2007, leading to this disaster.  But it turns out that Obama's Interior Department continues to operate in the same cozy way with the oil industry and that the White House response to this environmental calamity has been far too lackadaisical.  Herbert writes:

President Obama should have taken charge of the response to the oil
spill — which he called a “potentially unprecedented” environmental
calamity — from jump street. He should have called in the very best
minds and operatives from the corporate and scientific worlds and
imposed an emergency plan of action — to be carried out by BP and all
others who might be required. Instead, after all this time, after more
than a month of BP’s demonstrated incompetence, the administration
continues to dither.

Incredibly, until The Times blew the whistle in an
article on Monday
, environmental waivers were still being offered
for oil drilling in the gulf. What will it take for sanity to prevail?
How many people have to die or face ruin, and how much of nature has to
be despoiled before we rein in the cowboys of these runaway
corporations?

Steadily increasing numbers of anxiety-ridden coastal residents are
watching not just their livelihoods but an entire way of life slip away.
Even as BP’s lawyers are consumed with the task of limiting the
company’s liability, the administration continues to insist it has
little choice but to follow the company’s lead in fighting the spill.
That is dangerous nonsense.

President Obama has an obligation to make it unmistakably clear that
BP’s interests are not the same as America’s interests. He needs to
stand shoulder to shoulder with the people who are taking the brunt of
this latest corporate outrage. The oil has now stained nearly 70 miles
of the Louisiana Coast. No one can say what terrible toll the gusher is
taking in the depths of the gulf. And spreading right along with the oil
is a pervasive and dismaying sense of helplessness from our leaders in
Washington.

The White House announced today that Obama will visit the Gulf region tomorrow — for the second time (!!) since the blowout of the pipeline. Too little, too late. 

It will sadden me if the Obama Administration's undoing comes from its mimicry of the Bush Administration's response to disaster.   Don't these people ever learn?  What's sad is that we thought the Obama people were better than this. They're not.