“The Only Thing The Oil Spill And 9/11 Have In Common Is Nothing“

“The Only Thing The Oil Spill And 9/11 Have In Common Is Nothing

June 16th, 2010 Posted By Erik Wong.

obama

New York Post:

President Obama doesn’t like the fact that the Gulf oil spill reminds people of Hurricane Katrina, since the public response to that catastrophe hastened the decline of his predecessor’s standing. He’d prefer that the American people be reminded of something else — something that rallied people around their president.

And so he told Politico over the weekend that the oil spill has “echoes of 9/11.”

Americans thought differently about “our vulnerabilities” after the events of 9/11, Obama said, and the oil spill is “going to shape how we think about the environment and energy for many years to come.”

This is, not to put too fine a point on it, one of the most bizarre things ever said by any president.

It is worth considering the meaning of this profoundly wrongheaded analogy tonight when the president delivers his first Oval Office address — his latest attempt to minimize the political damage the oil spill is wreaking on his reputation.

The first thing that needs to be said is this: The only thing the oil spill and 9/11 have in common is nothing.

Yes, 9/11 was very important and so is the spill. But many terrible things happen, are important — and are unalike. The Haiti earthquake of 2009 and Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 were both important, but they had nothing whatever to do with each other. Nor did the tsunami of 2004 and the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Just as in those cases, what’s most notable about 9/11 and the oil spill is how essentially dif ferent they are. One was a brilliantly conceived and diabolical act of war; the other a horrific accident that was the last thing anybody wanted to happen. One was designed to decapitate the US government and deliver a mortal blow to the world’s financial system; the other wasn’t designed at all.

One was purposeful destruction intended to harm. The other is a purposeless catastrophe that was in no way intentional at all but will do great harm. One was an attack on the United States. The other was an accident.

So what on earth could the president have been thinking?

The first possibility is that there is some kind of perverse wish being expressed in these words. They have a wistful quality, as though the president wished he had a different crisis, a more popular crisis, on his hands.

Of course the fact that 9/11 would prove to be a net political benefit for George W. Bush was not the result of happenstance. It was due to the way he responded.

After a few days of discomfiting uncertainty, Bush found his voice and his purpose, delivering a series of powerful speeches that suggested a seriousness of purpose in regard to his presidential responsibilities that no one had actually expected of him.

Whatever happened afterward to shake that perspective on him in the minds of so many, the fact was that Bush had to meet the moment to secure the political advantage.

Obama has had no such moment in relation to the oil spill, because he couldn’t have. BP didn’t mean to do it and has been laboring desperately to fix what got broken. It is liable for what it did, it does not deny its own culpability, and it may itself be capsized as a result.

What the deployment of the 9/11 analogy suggests is that Obama would like to treat BP as though it were al Qaeda, at least rhetorically — a villain for him to confront on behalf of the wounded American people.

That may seem politically shrewd to Obama and his team, but it will have parlous consequences. The analogy muddies and obfuscates.

By comparing an unwanted disaster to a conscious act of war, Obama is adding an improper moral dimension to the effort to clean up the Gulf — a moral reckoning that will make it harder rather than easier to focus on the task of actually plugging the damn hole.

By likening the murder of 3,000 people and the efforts to take out the US government to a series of mistakes that added up to a catastrophe, Obama has defined evil down in a fashion that does immense violence to good sense, good taste and good leadership.

Stuck on stupid: Obama’s czar fetish

Michelle Malkin 

Lead Story

Stuck on stupid: Obama’s czar fetish

By Michelle Malkin  •  June 15, 2010 11:25 PM

In his widely-panned, bloodless Oval Office address Tuesday night (did I call this last month or what!?), President Obama tapped his Navy Secretary Ray Mabus as the new oil spill recovery czar. Doesn’t he have enough to do leading the Navy? More to the point, as my latest column below points out, don’t we have enough czars and bureaucrats tripping over each other for Gulf headlines and photo-ops already?

Meanwhile, Mark Knoller reports that Obama is scheduled to finally meet with BP execs tomorrow at 10:15am…for a whopping 20 minutes. Where is the ass-kicking czar?

The speech was a dud, but never fear, Organzing for America is here to exploit the crisis with spam solicitations and a snazzy new green Obama hardhat graphic (soon to be the new oil recover czar’s logo, too?)!

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Stuck on stupid: Obama’s czar fetish
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2010

Here is the Obama Disaster Management Theory: In times of crisis, you can never have enough unelected, unvetted political appointees hanging around. Nearly two months after the BP oil spill, the White House will now name an oil-spill-restoration point person to oversee recovery efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. Too many czars have already spoiled this administration’s credibility. Might as well pile on another.

The new oil-spill czar is not to be mistaken for the old oil-spill czar, U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who was officially designated the “National Incident Commander of the Unified Command for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico” on April 30. Allen was appointed by Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano ten days after the disaster, which Napolitano claimed the administration had been on top of since, um, “Day One.”

Fifty-six days later, President Obama has deemed the leadership skills of Allen, Napolitano, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, environmental czar Carol Browner, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and the rest of his self-declared “all hands on deck” crew insufficient. The new disaster czar also comes on top of the “National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling,” created by executive order on May 22 and “tasked with providing recommendations on how we can prevent and mitigate the impact of any future spills that result from offshore drilling.”

As I’ve noted before regarding Obama’s czar-mania, this White House has bypassed the Senate advise-and-consent role and unilaterally created a two-tiered government. It’s fronted by cabinet secretaries able to withstand public scrutiny (some of them just barely) and then managed behind the scenes by shadow secretaries with broad powers beyond congressional reach. Bureaucratic chaos serves as a useful smokescreen to obscure the true source of policy decision-making. While past administrations going back to the Nixon era have designated such “superaides,” none has exploited and extended the concept as widely as Obama has (we’re up to the 40th appointed czar, by Washington-based watchdog group Judicial Watch’s count).

It’s government by proxy and government by press release all rolled into one.

According to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, the latest commissar will have the power to oversee government efforts “to increase the health and the vitality of the species there, the wildlife and the natural beauty that we all know is the Gulf of Mexico.” This will make the power-grabbing environmental lobby happy. And the new czar appointment will feed the photo-op-hungry news cycle. But instead of rushing to move “past the cleanup and response phase of this disaster,” shouldn’t this czar-crazy regime concentrate on the immediate mitigation tasks at hand?

Folks in the Gulf don’t need any more Romanov-style apparatchiks or blue-ribbon crony panels to show them the way toward relief. Florida public officials and foreign shippers say the protectionist Jones Act is preventing vessels from abroad from providing clean-up aid. And Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal (R) has exposed White House obstructionism and delays in approving the construction of barrier walls to stop the oil spread. After waiting weeks for approval, Jindal received a green light from the White House to put up just five barrier islands — a minuscule amount of his plan. Tired of waiting for approval of the rest of his plan, Jindal this week ordered the National Guard to circumvent the Beltway foot-dragging and start building the walls immediately.

Executive leadership doesn’t need to be outsourced when the executive in office knows how to lead. While Obama squawks, Jindal acts. While Washington appoints more gasbags, the National Guard is dropping sandbags.

The president’s czar fetish is his crisis crutch — a desperate public-relations habit that he can’t break. What 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue needs is a visit from retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, the Hurricane Katrina military relief coordinator who offered timeless and timely advice for the disaster-stricken: Don’t get stuck on stupid.