The notion that the government should be directing, as opposed to merely supervising, the effort to stop the leak -- BP should be pushed aside; bring in the military -- is absurd. So far as that side of the operations goes, all that matters is who has more technical expertise: the company or the administration? (If your house was burning down, would you want the White House directing the fire crews, or maybe calling in air strikes, as a sign of how seriously Obama takes your problem?)
There are complaints about the scale of federal resources committed to coastline defenses and clean-up, but I don't see evidence, yet, that the White House has chosen to do less than the feasible maximum. As for Rove's legalisms, they are preposterous and count for nothing. The country blamed Bush for the appalling mismanagement of the Katrina aftermath, and was right to. I see no signs of a remotely similar shambles in the way the leak has been dealt with. Worse, in the crucial first few days after the hurricane, Bush seemed blithely unconcerned, and those images were juxtaposed against the awful and immediately apparent human consequences. Obama has not made that error. If he is unlucky, or if he slips up in an uncharacteristic way, this may not protect him. Still, I would be surprised if the political harm could be even half as bad as Bush's self-inflicted injuries.
What Obama said today was correct. He admitted he was wrong to suppose that oil companies were ready to deal with accidents of this type. He was hardly alone in making that assumption. Ensuring that they are ready next time is the challenge for regulatory reform. But fixing those rules won't help in managing the present emergency. The spill has happened, and there is only so much the government can do. I'd expect the public to understand that. ...Clive Crook
Crook forgets that for slightly less than half of our nation the motto is, "My mind is made up. Don't confuse me with facts!"