NYT editorial: Obama should have acted sooner on the oil spill

First Bill Maher wonders aloud why The One isn’t getting more crap about the spill, and now this. Why must these darned wingnuts forever find fault with our president?

Seriously, though, Bush would have been torn to shreds for reacting the same way and everyone, from the Times on down, knows it. (Maher, to his credit, explicitly acknowledged it.) I guess even lefty partisans can’t stomach a double standard that egregious. Grit those teeth, Times editor!

The company, BP, seems to have been slow to ask for help, and, on Friday, both federal and state officials accused it of not moving aggressively or swiftly enough. Yet the administration should not have waited, and should have intervened much more quickly on its own initiative…

Now we have another disaster in more or less the same neck of the woods [as Katrina], and it takes the administration more than a week to really get moving.

The timetable is damning. The blowout occurred on April 20. In short order, fire broke out on the rig, taking 11 lives, the rig collapsed and oil began leaking at a rate of 40,000 gallons a day. BP tried but failed to plug the well. Even so, BP appears to have remained confident that it could handle the situation with private resources (as did the administration) until Wednesday night, when, at a hastily called news conference, the Coast Guard quintupled its estimate of the leak to 5,000 barrels, or more than 200,000 gallons a day.

Only then did the administration move into high gear.

Doug Ross has an illustrated chronology of what The One did with his time over the past 10 days while up from the Gulf came a bubblin’ crude. In fact, so flat-footed was the White House caught by this disaster that today’s weekly YouTube message is devoted entirely to … campaign finance reform. Not a single word about the spill. Which means either they’re taping these things waaay earlier than they should be or they’re even more tone-deaf than we thought. But then, these are the people who spent eight months on health care in the middle of a national unemployment crisis.

Obama’s heading to the gulf (finally) tomorrow morning; let’s hope he’s not too tired after tonight’s Enchantment Under the Sea dance with the Washington glitterati. Meanwhile, since the Times and Maher were fair-minded enough to knock him for dragging his feet, let me repay the kindness by debunking a few rumors alleging left-wing foul play in the oil spill. First, per Tom Maguire, the “SWAT teams” being sent to the Gulf aren’t police; “SWAT team” is apparently a term of art used to describe mineral inspectors who are checking blow-out preventers on rigs across the region. And second, no, the explosion on the rig wasn’t caused by some sort of eco-terrorism. Listen to this interview by Mark Levin of an eyewitness who was on the platform when the thing ignited. The guy called in for the express purpose of putting the rumors of a bomb to rest.

I’ll leave you with a clip of Krauthammer from last night’s “Special Report” echoing the point I made yesterday. The worse this thing gets, the more fatal it is to “drill, baby, drill.” Politics is politics. Click the image to watch.

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