June 10, 2010

Weakness and Blame

Justin Katz

Chris Stirewalt makes a point about President Obama's hypocrisy when it comes to blame taking and partisanship. Pop culturally, we make a great deal of hypocrisy in this country, but as Stirewalt intimates, it's really the weakness beneath that tastes of blood in the water to political sharks.

I thought of something similar during the two-day "whose ass to kick" media flash. If you missed it, somehow, in explaining why he wasn't expressing more heat against the evil-doers of BP, the president said that he'd been talking to experts to figure out "whose ass to kick." Most commentary has focused on the unpresidential nature of such comments. Filling in for Dan Yorke, the other day, Matt Allen focused on the faux passion from our college professor chief executive. Stirewalt focuses on Obama's turning away from the federal government's responsibility.

What struck me was the president's statement that he had been in the Gulf region well before "any of the talking heads." Again, weakness. Why should the president be setting his bar by the response time of news and commentary celebrities? It's a bit like a doctor's defending himself on the grounds that he had visited the patient well before any flower delivery guys had found the room.

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The Layabout In Chief is a destructive combination of ideology, inexperience, ego and pure incompetence.

From Mitt Romney's op piece in USATODAY.

"Has it come to this again? The president is meeting with his oil spill experts, he crudely tells us, so that he knows "whose ass to kick." We have become accustomed to his management style — target a scapegoat, assign blame and go on the attack. To win health care legislation, he vilified insurance executives; to escape bankruptcy law for General Motors, he demonized senior lenders; to take the focus from the excesses of government, he castigated business meetings in Las Vegas; and to deflect responsibility for the deepening and lengthening downturn, he blames Wall Street and George W. Bush. But what may make good politics does not make good leadership. And when a crisis is upon us, America wants a leader, not a politician."

Posted by: Tim at June 10, 2010 2:05 PM

"Kick ass"?What a joke.Obama probably never had a real fight.He probably never got hit really hard.He should've.He might have learned something.Michelle is another story,because she probably mixed it up more than a few times.
Hey,Rhody-you and Obama might share something.See above.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 10, 2010 2:14 PM

Sadly such idiotic statements will only endear him more to the majority of the American public. It was calculated to appeal to them. If you think 51% of the population voting for something magically makes it right, go out and meet some representative samples of that 51%. They love the idea of having an ass-kicker in chief - doesn't even matter whose ass.

Posted by: Dan at June 10, 2010 2:21 PM

Dan, the 51%


Posted by: Warrington Faust at June 10, 2010 3:08 PM

Indoctrination of young children... wonderful.

Posted by: Dan at June 10, 2010 3:17 PM

Obama's sick and tired of hearing the right make excuses for BP.
Oops, forgot. Only conservative white men (and a female politicians who cater to them) are allowed to be angry. My bad.

Posted by: rhody at June 10, 2010 5:02 PM

Way to turn everything into a racial and gender issue, Rhody. I'm not a psychiatrist, but I believe they call that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Posted by: Dan at June 10, 2010 5:39 PM

BP told us there were 5,000 barrels a day. Now we learn there are one million gallons a day.

The right is always preaching that big business can solve everything - yet the right now is screaming for the Federal Government to help!

Today, the right hit a new low...one which proves what they are really about. Both the Republican senate leader.....and the US Chamber of Commerce (a rightie group) said THE US TAXPAYER should help pay for this! How's that for libertarian thinking, Dan.

The problem for the right is that every single thing that has been happening, from coal mine deaths to the wars costing trillions to the destruction of the economy and now to the largest environment disaster in history......has proven their creed DEAD WRONG.

Unfortunately, future generations will have to suffer for the rights desire to keep us all in cheap oil.

I'm sorry, but that is the truth. Privatize the profits, and socialize the losses is the rallying cry of the GOP.

Posted by: Stuart at June 10, 2010 7:09 PM

Speaking of the evil-doers of BP...it seems as if lying and deceiving about the amount of oil leaking, the undersea plumes, etc. is not enough.

Now we find out something which a religious guy like Justin should find truly evil. After Obama met the families of the dead from the oil rig today, the families were interviewed by news outlets and asked if BP (their employer and killer) had contacted the families. The answer was no.

Not a phone call. Not a visit. Not a condolences card. Not an invite to meet with the CEO.


It's not hard to see where the rights infatuation with "business at any cost" has taken us. We have forgot about who was supposed to benefit from business....that would be US HUMANS.

Shame, Shame, Shame.
That type of behavior is called..... psychopathic.
But the right approves.......and feels bad for BP. After all, they might not make as big of a profit.

Posted by: Stuart at June 10, 2010 8:50 PM

The BP spill has become so emotionally charged, I am dubious of all news reports. I am concerned that the "Luddites" may have an undue influence on the news. I am wondering why the microbes that successfully ate the Exxon Valdez oil are not being tried.

My starting point is that any well a mile under the ocean's surface is a technological feat, but is going to be real problematic. I do not assume malfeasance, or evil intent. The oil is necessary to our economy, if not our lives, and BP was not permitted to drill in shallower water.

It is a serious problem, let's stop whining, recognize that Obama is not the man and "cowboy up".

Posted by: Warrington Faust at June 10, 2010 9:28 PM

>well a mile under the ocean's surface is a technological feat

And so is jumping off a cliff with those new wings you made up. The question is how you land.

Faust, I'm sorry......first of all, this is probably the worst environmental catastrophe in the history of the USA. Maybe worse than that - might make it to the worst in the Americas or even the world eventually.

You talk about this tiny amount of ill gained oil as essential to our "life" and yet don't mention that perhaps the FOOD CHAIN and the OCEAN is essential to our life? Amazing, really!

Let's be frank. Energy is crucial to our way of life and advancement and comfort. That is a given. However, there are many technologies available right this minute which can provide us with both energy....and the means to vastly reduce our use (conservation, efficiency).

As an example, an average person in Texas uses 4X the amount of energy that a person in RI does. So, your defense of oil at any cost is really saying "that dude in Texas deserves to have the large SUVs, the 5,000 sq ft. McMansion and the other wasteful habits......even if it means we have to chance polluting up a vast part of the food chain and environment".

It would be one thing if we already exhausted the savings from less energy use, efficiency and other means...but we are nowhere near that point. We could cut energy use in this country in 1/2 and not really break a sweat.

So, IMHO, you are defending the indefensible - that is WASTE. It goes against what we Americans were raised with...well, at least those with depression era parents "eat what is on your plate - there are children starving in Europe".

Well, maybe we should try to make the parents of our generation tell their kids "do not waste ANY energy, because there are entire vast parts of our food chain, oceans and air dying as a result".....

Faust, the frontier is gone. There are no more virgin forest over yonder hills. It's time for responsibility. This will be another stain upon our generation and country - we despoiled a vast gulf in an attempt to waste more.......just plain selfishness and greed.

Mind you...I am not against tapping energy. But I am for responsibility first.

Posted by: Stuart at June 10, 2010 9:48 PM

Stuart, sorry I can't agree with you. The BP mess was perfectly forseeable when it was determined to ban shallow water drilling. We decided to take the risk of "high tech" deep water drilling.

If you think it wasn't forseeable, read up on the Glomar Explorer.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at June 10, 2010 10:11 PM

Here we have Stuart as usual barking at us that all we need is a monk's cell and a tricycle apiece(not him of course)so much like the big time "environmentalists"who fly around in Gulfstreams.
I actually practice energy conservation,but i don't preach about it to others.
BP should be bankrupted if need be to pay back for gross negligence.I will never believe they didn't know the extent of the danger.
A lot of liveliehoods have been wiped out.
Eleven workers were killed.
This spill has ruined a fragile coastal zone.
There is plenty of blame but seemingly no ready solution.
Anyone remember Chernobyl?
The fellow travellers like Stuart were quiet as mice about that little f*ckup.
Hey-here's a thought-we can get that slime Bono to run a concert and it will be "all better".
One thing bugs me-anyone who's studied the subject of the ocean deeps even at an elementary level knows that at abyssal depths strange things happen and correcting a problem down there is something we have no practice with due to the totally alien nature of that environment.We know more about Mars than the deep ocean zones.
Drilling should be only in shallow water.At least there it is possible for humans to attack problems hands on.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 10, 2010 11:31 PM

>The BP mess was perfectly forseeable when it was determined to ban shallow water drilling

So, let's be clear.
You are saying that when, in 1981, Reagan signed into law and the GOP Senate passed the original moratorium, the writing was on the wall?

Or was it in June 1990 when President George Bush announced a 10-year moratorium on drilling off California, Florida, and New England?

There were also many extensions and additions in between, including many put forward by GW to satisfy his brother, who was Gov. of Florida (who maybe foresaw this mess).

So, your opinion is? Should we just expect to go to the beaches of Fl and New England and everywhere else and see and hear the rigs drilling?

Is there anything you are not willing to give up in order to waste more oil?

To put it all in perspective, we are talking about a very small fraction of our oil or energy use - depending on how you want to look at it (number of rigs possible, number of refineries, amount of capital available to drill, potential markets) it is about 5%.....maybe even less. So we are, in effect, saying that instead of working to save 5% in other other fashion, we'd rather hear the dim of drilling and see derricks rising EVERYWHERE off our shores.

Count me out. I'd rather pay more or use less...or both.

Posted by: Stuart at June 11, 2010 10:12 AM

There has been a lot of referencing lately by misinformed leftists who point to the Gulf and the mine accident and think that this is somehow egg on the face of "small government" Republicans and libertarians...what a warped view. These phiosophies reject government intervention in lieu of personal responsibility and free markets, they do not reject the idea that a government should provide certain functions that these two things cannot themselves provide!

As for the "ass kicking", count me among those that find it appealing...although it would have been more effective had the language been used a month ago, before his vacation.

Posted by: jp at June 11, 2010 3:00 PM

It would be a fine thing if kicking someone's ass would close off a pipe at 5,000 ft under the ocean.

It does not.

As to small governments Republicans or Libertarians, they exist only in dreams. There are none of them anywhere near public office. Even Rand Paul wants more wars and to make that "small" government tell women they must not have reproductive choice...at the point of the governments gun!

Sorry, there are such things as small government politicians - just those who fool you with the talking point. There are, however, some pols who are less responsible and others who are more responsible. Many of those same "small government" types cheer cutting taxes while increasing spending and debt.

It seems as if small government was not hardly a talking point while the Republicans vastly increased the size of it......and then, all of a sudden, when a Dem is elected....oh, the sky is falling.

Too much a coincidence, in my view.

Posted by: Stuart at June 11, 2010 5:11 PM

"Drilling should be only in shallow water.At least there it is possible for humans to attack problems hands on."

Ding ding. Or on land for the same reason.

Posted by: Monique at June 11, 2010 5:59 PM

Stuart writes:

"So, let's be clear.
You are saying that when, in 1981, Reagan signed into law and the GOP Senate passed the original moratorium, the writing was on the wall?"

Well, 1983 was a lot closer to the 1968 CIA fiasco with the Glomar Explorer. So yes, probably more government people remembered it. They probably thought they were putting an end to off shore drilling. Once again the private sector was underestimated.

"Or was it in June 1990 when President George Bush announced a 10-year moratorium on drilling off California, Florida, and New England?"

I assume that was a "politically based" decision which found favor with voters in California, Florida and New England. I doubt it was based on any "energy policy". A politicians "first job" is to be re-elected, I assume this sometimes overpowers wisdom.

"There were also many extensions and additions in between, including many put forward by GW to satisfy his brother, who was Gov. of Florida (who maybe foresaw this mess)."

Once again, I assume this placed politics ahead of energy.

Since anyone, who cares, knows that work a mile down is extremely difficult. This knowledge requires the included knowledge that repairs a mile down are also difficult.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at June 11, 2010 6:34 PM

>Ding ding. Or on land for the same reason

ding ding ding.....
#2 - Land is usually owned by people and used for other various things, like shopping malls.

You know, Monique, there is a lot of coal under certain areas of RI, especially Portsmouth. Do you support us strip mining here in RI? How about drilling for oil here on LAND?

ding, ding, ding, dingbat.

Posted by: Stuart at June 11, 2010 8:58 PM

Stuart-why strip mine in RI when this country hasn't got any coal (or natural gas)shortage.Strip mining is successful in remote parts of Wyoming and similar locations which don't have much impact on anything.
I never understand why we don't rely more on natural gas,of which we have enormous reserves.It's cleaner than oil by far.

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Работал тут недавно с КРИТБИ, с их стороны были директор Колпаков и его первый зам полный мудак Чернов.
Просто жесть, эти мудак Чернов и недодиректор Колпаков, какие все таки обделенные мозгами дебилы.
В такой инновационной сфере, такие некомпетентные люди, это просто ужас.
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