Stuck in the Oil Spill
Like those oil-besmirched pelicans thrashing about in misery in the
A third trip to the
Like it or not, those images on the nation's television screens and newspaper front pages of the oil-sopped pelicans are an unhappy metaphor for Obama himself. He is taking the political fall specifically for BP and by extension for past failures to regulate adequately the oil industry's safeguards against such a catastrophe.
No amount of castigating BP and restating its full financial responsibility for the cost of cleaning up the mess can mitigate the truism of the sign that once graced the Oval Office desk of President
In his fashion, the famously cool-headed president, while saying in a
Even as BP's hapless CEO,
Meanwhile, the oil spill is despoiling whatever good news manages to ooze into public consciousness. As economic indicators continue to demonstrate small but steady progress toward recovery from the recession, such as Friday's announcement of 431,000 more new jobs created and a drop in the unemployment rate to 9.7 percent, little cheering is heard.
Bad news for the administration, however, still manages to generate news media attention despite the mesmerizing oil-spill saga. It has failed, for example, to cover up the business-as-usual
On the heels of the acknowledgment that former President
This sort of political arm-twisting has been commonplace in Republican and Democratic administrations alike for years. But Obama's repeated boast of planning to change the way
Taken together with the continuing drumbeat of obstruction from the Republican congressional leadership toward most of the Obama domestic agenda now engulfed in the oil-spill calamity, the president is increasingly struggling to regain the political initiative.
All new presidents, to be sure, soon find that the unpredictability of events have complicated their best-laid plans for reshaping the country to their visions because "the buck stops" at their Oval Office desk. For Obama's predecessor, the 9/11 terrorist attacks indisputably made the point.
It could be argued that
In any event, he has no option but to press on with the effort to cap the well, in a way that demonstrates a more certain leadership hand than he has been able to exhibit under trying circumstances so far.
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BP Gulf Oil Spill: Stuck in the Oil Spill | United States
(c) 2010 Jules Witcover