A Crisis Unwasted

June 3, 2010 04:58

Obama allies in Congress are pushing for new taxes on oil companies to “pay for” the disaster while using the spill as a pretext to push for disastrous cap-and-trade legislation. Pure political brilliance. As for stopping millions of gallons of crude from spilling into the Gulf of Mexico, they haven’t a clue.

IBD Editorials

The Spill: Since the oil started gushing in the Gulf, the White House response has struck most Americans as off-key at best, incompetent at worst. The reason is simple: Politics, not reality, motivates this administration.

In crisis, character is inevitably revealed. That this president has looked so inept in handling both the spill itself and the negative public opinion it was bound to bring is a testament to his lack of preparation for the office.

No executive experience, virtually no private-sector business experience, no military service, no real responsibility for decision making that has real-world consequences — this was President Obama’s resume when he was sworn in.

Now it shows in his botched response to the BP spill. From the April 20 explosion that blew up the well and killed 11 oil workers to now, the steps Obama has taken have been strangely political.

Politics, it turns out, is the one area where our young president is at least semi-competent. In the early days after the blowout, the president and his aides said little. Like most of us, they assumed it would be over within days. Why stick their necks out?

When the magnitude of the spill became known and the criticism began, they changed tack, embracing BP and trying to look involved. After all, when the flood of crude finally stopped, the White House could step in and take credit.

Didn’t happen. The hole has proved stubbornly tough to close. And rather than gushing 1,000 barrels of oil a day, as BP first estimated, it’s now thought to be spewing 19,000 or more.

This led to major disappointment and frustration. “Just plug the damn hole,” Obama said as the crisis deepened.


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