Photo: The White House
Update: We wrote this almost a month ago. Does anyone dispute it today?Original post April 29: It’s been argued that Hurricane Katrina was one of George W. Bush’s biggest organizational failures, for the tragedy was allowed to fester on for way too long before his much-vaunted homeland security apparatus sprang into action.
Will the oil spill in the gulf — which some suspect could be worse than Exxon Valdez — be the equivalent for Barack Obama?
Today the story got elevated to national emergency level, but the explosion on the rig happened eight days ago!
While numerous investigations will no doubt be launched into the companies behind the rig (BP, Transocean), will anyone ask what the DHS and The White House have been doing for 8 days, while an ecological disaster was unfolding in such a sensitive region?
We’re guessing that unlike Bush, Obama will largely get a pass. Katrina played into a narrative of Bush ignoring the plight of the poor and African-Americans. Nobody is suggesting that Obama is bad on the environment. Also, just generally, an ecological disaster won’t elicit the same kind of emotional response as a human tragedy (for good reason).
Let’s at least acknowledge the obvious opposite, that if we were currently in a Republican administration that had just okayed offshore drilling in America, and they had gone eight days without serious action, they’d be getting absolutely pilloried in the press.
The fact that the oil slick is lapping up against the Gulf Coast now and over the next several hours is just a cruel, but meaningless, Katrina-related coincidence.
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