This blog is obviously strong left leaning, and with good reason: For the most part, the Republican Party is one of evil intent and evil deeds; one that ignores the poor and suffering in favor of the wealthy and corporate. Throughout its recent history, dating back to the so-called Reagan Revolution that included allowing large companies to run fidcally amock and ignored AIDS victims, the Republican Party has perfectly symbolized selfish, arrogant leadership. Social programs that help people? To hell with ’em—we need more tax cuts!
And yet …
Right now, Barack Obama is looking pathetically weak. The Gulf of Mexico disaster has been going and going and going … and where in the world is our president? In times of strife, people require strong leadership and, if nothing else, an image of strong leadership. Yet as the excellent David Gergen has repeatedly noticed, Obama has been largely invisible. No emergency speeches. No public demands of accountability. No new ideas or brainstorming. Nothing.
Here’s James Carville’s take: “The President of the United States could’ve come down here, he could’ve been involved with the families of these 11 people [who died on the rig after an explosion]. He could be commandeering tankers and making BP bring tankers in and clean this up. They could be deploying people to the coast right now. He could be with the Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard … doing something about these regulations. These people are crying, they’re begging for something down here, and it just looks like he’s not involved in this. Man, you got to get down here and take control of this! Put somebody in charge of this thing and get this moving! We’re about to die down here!”
Is it possible, behind the scenes, the president is doing what’s needed? Perhaps. But the presidency is not a private gig. People want to see that you’re busting ass. They want to know it. They are crying for it.
A couple of days ago the Republicans started calling this Obama’s Katrina. I thought it was ludicrous then. Now, however, they might have a political point. This will be used against the man, and it probably should be. The oil disaster is his biggest test as a president, and he seems to be failing. Badly.