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Tilting at Windmills

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May 2, 2010

'WILL IT BE ENOUGH?'.... The Washington Post's Michael Shear considers the politics of the BP Oil Spill disaster, and the suddenly-ubiquitous media efforts to compare the Obama administration's response to the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.

Unlike Katrina, there have been no obvious failures of government, no images to compare to the Superdome or the flooded streets of St. Bernard Parish. And unlike Katrina, there is an easy target for blame in the current oil spill: the oil giant BP, which by law is the "responsible party" and must pay for all of the costs of the cleanup.

It is also the case that the oil rigs in the gulf today were not approved by Obama's administration, and are the result of regulations and oversight that long predated Obama's arrival at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. [...]

Officials point out that Coast Guard and Navy vessels were on the scene of the explosion almost immediately. By the time the scope of the possible devastation was clear, they say, more than 16 agencies were involved in helping the company and state officials try and plug the leak and confront the environmental damage.

Obama sent several Cabinet members and other top officials to the Gulf to coordinate the effort. His EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were supposed to attend Saturday's White House Correspondent's Association dinner but will stay in the gulf instead to attend to the incident.

Will it be enough?

Enough to prevent the oil spill from reaching the Gulf Coast? No. The Obama administration has some talented, competent folks, but they're not superheroes.

Enough to respond to the bizarre political coverage of this disaster? It seems to me the first four paragraphs here answer the question in the fifth.

Steve Benen 12:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (54)

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Given the disaster, perhaps this would have been a good time to skip the collective Beltway circle jerk known as the White House Correspondence Dinner. I don't know how yukking it up in black tie and tails while Louisiana shrimpers and oystermen go under plays out there.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on May 2, 2010 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Let's stop calling this a "spill," okay? A spill is like knocking over a glass, or punching a hole in the side of an oil tanker. The results may be bad, but they're finite and measurable.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster isn't a "spill." It's a runaway gusher, spewing 5,000 to 26,000 barrels a day, unchecked, into the Gulf of Mexico from the ocean floor, a mile below the surface.

Posted by: Glenn Beck's Chalkboard on May 2, 2010 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Remember were talking about people who believe President Obam:

1. pals around with terrorist.
2. was born in Kenya.
3. is a socialist (like there something wrong with that).
4. is a muslim (see socialist).
5. is a racist and hates white people (never mind he's half white).
6. wants to take their guns.
7. wants to brainwash their children.
8. wants to put "real Americans" in re-education camps.
9. needs a teleprompter to face the American people.

They'll believe whatever Fucksnooze, Limbaugh, Beck, and Palin tell them.

Therefore, BP's massive, irresposonible, greed inspired, and negligent poisoning of the Gulf of Mexico is "Obama's Katrina."

Posted by: Winkandanod on May 2, 2010 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

If there is one thing that can be reliably expected, it is that the media will always use the lazy analogy, however inaccurate.

Posted by: AlisonS on May 2, 2010 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Strangely, what I feel has made Obama an open target on this is that he has no one protecting his Left flank. Had this been merely a Swiftboating, there would be some liberal infrastructure in place to respond and gufaw. Obama's push to open up off-shore drilling and claim the middle left him open to criticism - from the Left, who are in a position to say, "I told you so."

The infrastructure in place to criticize is conservative, so he's getting attacked as allowing a Katrina on his watch, but it's because the Left was disenchanted with this decision from the beginning and feels, rightly or wrongly, he is reaping what he sows.

And I say this as someone who believes with the proper regs in place, drilling is a pinprick compared to, say, strip-mining coal. But it, nonetheless, demonstrates the incompetent tendency to reach for a middle, thereby deflating his base and leaving no one willing to jump to his defense (except this blog), and the Right using the opening to say he's just as bad as Bush.

Posted by: Memekiller on May 2, 2010 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently in addition to BP, which actually operated the rig, Halliburton was also involved in setting up the safety system, and they cut a few corners because they didn't want to cut down on their profit margin to prevent something they would rather not think about. You remember Halliburton, which was connected to a Cheney who I won't name. President Obama will be in Louisiana today, and he has done more than Bush would have done in such a situation. Obama attended the Correspondents' dinner and there was someone nearby who was keeping in touch with everything that was going on and who would have told him anything he had to know, and he could have called or gone as needed. If he had stayed at the White House the situation would have been exactly the same. I suppose he could have gone to Louisiana last night instead of today, but probably then people would have written something about the President's panicked response to his own Katrina. Remember in Katrina what was wrong was the total lack of preparation, the "Heck of a job Brownie" statements, and the total lack of sympathy for poor non-white people. I think Obama can live with these sorts of charges.

Posted by: Christopher Hobe Morrison on May 2, 2010 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, the Progressive Left Flank should NAIL Obama on this one....what a great time to bring him down. THEN we'll get that perfect carbon legislation, and then, after we get the right-wingers back in charge for 5 or 10 years, the true progressive era will begin. Because the public will learn, we'll educate them. Strategy!

It will work this way, I promise.

Posted by: Heart Dreamer of Unicorns on May 2, 2010 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that Obama is pushing GOP policy in terms of offshore drilling, of course, does not mean that the Right will not use the opening created by the failure of that right wing policy to tout as a symbol of liberalism. And liberals will not defend a conservative policy of offshore drilling, and let him get attacked (for his liberal failure).

The Left won't defend a Bush-like policy of offshore drilling just because Obama pushed for it, and they don't have the infrastruture to craft the post-analysis as the GOP does, and so the post-game is all cast as failure of the Left.

Posted by: Memekiller on May 2, 2010 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

The bad news is that no matter how bad the damage this will be gone from the media in a couple of weeks, except on the gulf coast.

The good news is that 'Obama's Katrina' will be forgotten just as fast. Lack of merit won't kill it, but lack of interest will.

Posted by: al-Fubar on May 2, 2010 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Heart Dreamer,
I'm not advocating nailing Obama, necessarily - are you suggesting having the Left defend off-shore drilling?

I merely state a fact: embracing the center does not enamor you with everyone, and hasn't for over a decade. It leaves you alone, with no defenders and attacked from all sides.

Did embracing the middle give Obama the support of the people who support off-shore drilling? No, it's being used to cast as a "Katrina" so they can get their guy in to make it even worse. All it did was lose the Left.

Posted by: Memekiller on May 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

horribly, since all the media cares about is the narrative, the question is not really "is it enough to keep the oil from the gulf coast." the question is actually, "is it enough for this event to be successfully navigated without being equated with katrina?" is it enough to keep the republican narrative going.
the very posing of the question is its answer - it can never be enough.

Posted by: invisible_hand on May 2, 2010 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to me the first four paragraphs here answer the question in the fifth.

spoken as a true blind obama booster. The reality is, no amount of competent response would have ever been enough for the 'lets make obama fail' crowd and their servants: US corporate media. Disaster response equivalence between the bush admin malfeasance over Katrina and the obama admin response to 'Deep Horizon destroys the Gulf' WILL be the outcome.

Posted by: pleuge on May 2, 2010 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Obama will be attacked for failures real and imagined. That hasn't changed. What has changed is the lack of enthusiasm for defending him on this issue. You'd have some pushback if they were trying to attack HCR.

Posted by: Memekiller on May 2, 2010 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

What has changed is most realize how stupid this tack is. When everything is reduced to a political question then real issues have no traction. Our news media needs to grow up or think before they write or run in front of a camera.
Sadly, the number of outlets makes that impossible.

Posted by: hornblower on May 2, 2010 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Matthew Dowd was on "This Week..." today, and seemed to be arguing that regulations are bad because this happened ??? From someone in the Bush's Whitehouse, one that undermined regulators, that has left us not only with a failed economy but also minefield of real and potential disasters, any such argument is surreal. Righting the ship of state, and it really needed and still needs a lot of work, is hard to do. That such a response to this disaster was possible is a credit to how far Obama's administration has improved things--and he still does not have all is people in place because of Republican obstructionism. Fixing the failed regulatory apparatus will take years and certainly a change in culture, and even more years before those changes will start to show benefits. Obama's defensive of gov't as you reported on earlier ("more please")is needed to help us get to that point where we have a functional and competent government.

Posted by: golack on May 2, 2010 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone remember that until the platform sank this was a rescue and firefighting effort?

Posted by: tomj on May 2, 2010 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Hey! Obama only quickly sent the Coast Guard, Several top officials and 16 agencies to help with the oil spill. Bush actually put Karl Rove in charge of the Katrina thing (after several weeks.)

Clearly Bush did more for Katrina than Obama has done for the Gulf Coast. Right? Just ask the MSM and especially the Associated Press.

Posted by: Rick B on May 2, 2010 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

memekiller, I think you have it right.

Obama was catering to the radical right by opening up drilling off the coast even though it is dangerous and holds little promise of doing anything effective about energy costs. By catering to the right, he was abandoning the left and showing his clear disinterest in the needs of the left wing of his own party.

So when his excursion to towards the right wing blows up in his face, who is going to protect his back? Why should the progressives support a shitty program demanded by the right-wing when it goes south? They weren't getting anything for it but disdain out of the White House.

If Obama wants political support, he needs to work for it. And no matter what he gives the right wing, he'll get nothing good back from them. They are already throwing any right-winger who even knows how to spell centerism overboard.

Posted by: Rick B on May 2, 2010 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Did embracing the middle give Obama the support of the people who support off-shore drilling? No

Actually, yes, yes it did. Because it was how we got Lindsay Graham and conservative Democrats in the Senate to support the climate bill.

Did it win support from diehard Limbaugh listeners? Of course not. But those people don't have votes in the Senate and Lindsay Graham does. And of course, there aren't a lot of progressive votes in the Senate either.

This was about getting a bill passed, not about winning a political debate in the media or "embracing the middle". Current events have shown this compromise to be a bad idea, but at the time, the benefits of getting the bill passed outweighed the costs of the compromise. But of course, compromise itself is a dirty word to progressives and Tea Partiers, so perhaps this explanation doesn't help.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on May 2, 2010 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

If Obama wants political support, he needs to work for it. And no matter what he gives the right wing, he'll get nothing good back from them.

Except for the climate bill, of course, which is what he was getting from them.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on May 2, 2010 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Mostly it just goes to show that if you're proud to be a woe-is-me "progressive" and dead-set on building up to some orgasmic level of disappointment over _something_, you'll find it somewhere. Look at me! I'm disillusioned! Mom! Mom! You're not looking! Mom! I'm disillusioned! Look!

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on May 2, 2010 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Rick B on May 2, 2010 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Rick B. got it exactly right - obama has done nothing to curry progressive support and a WHOLE lot to curry disdain.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on May 2, 2010 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

OTOH, this is pure BS. obama has been a corportist 100%. If you knew anything other than blind obama boosterism you'd know that. Off-shore oil drilling is not another obama sop to the right, its obama looking after his corporate sugardaddies, which is what he does 100% of the time.

Posted by: gak on May 2, 2010 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, we read that Mike Shear type of article but few ditteaheads do. Faux noise depends on their rabble not really "getting around" or thinking, but just cheering like dolts in bleachers.

Posted by: neil b on May 2, 2010 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Let's not forget that BP downplayed the extent of the disaster as well. For days it claimed the blowout was 'only' spewing 40k gallons, and that the situation was under control.

Posted by: jwk on May 2, 2010 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Did we get a climate bill? Last I heard Graham played Lucy with the football again, which means we gave them offshore drilling so Graham could screw us.

Posted by: Mememkiller on May 2, 2010 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, the price of getting people like Graham to support the climate bill is to water it down so badly as to make it useless. And since the bill takes the power to regulate greenhouse gases away from the EPA and limits the powers of states like California to do something about it, it would be better for the environment to let the bill fail, unless it can be made much stronger than it currently is.

So I'm not impressed with arguments that allowing more oil drilling gained votes for the climate bill, because it's a bad bill.

Splitting the difference doesn't always work. If one side wants to jump across a six-foot chasm and the other side wants to stay safely on this side of it, some centrists will advocate jumping three feet, and falling into the chasm. That's what you get if you add weak anti-carbon measures to the gutting of regulatory authority: you make the situation worse, and South Florida and Louisiana wind up underwater.

The climate doesn't care about your "pragmatism", and it isn't "pragmatic" to fail to respond to a crisis.

Posted by: Joe Buck on May 2, 2010 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

I could be persuaded oil drilling was a good call if we get a climate bill. What I see right now is Graham playing Snowe, and am assuming this will go like HCR and everything else, and although we'll have a lot of Republicans flirting with voting just so they can water down a bill they will eventually fillibuster, the only way it's going to pass is when we recognize they have no intention of climbing on board.

If and when a Republican actually VOTES for non-Republican legislation, and comes through on their part of the deal without fillibustering, I think we can all assume it's all a ruse.

Posted by: Memekiller on May 2, 2010 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Meme - Offshore drilling is IN the climate bill. So no, we haven't gotten the climate bill, but we haven't given them offshore drilling yet either. Benen covered this in the previous post, noting that if we use this disaster to kill offshore drilling, we might also kill the climate bill.

BTW, that's also why I think they "Lucy-Football" analogy is once again a poor one, because they won't have gained anything unless we pass the bill.

And of course, the main reason the Lucy-Football thing is dumb is because we don't really lose anything. If they string us along and we end up getting nothing, then that's exactly what we'd have gotten if we tried to go without them: Nothing. For as much as "bi-partisan" sucks, there is no other option.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on May 2, 2010 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

This isn't going to be popular, but all of us in the US who drive a large car, have more than two kids, buy food that's flown or trucked in from far away, live in a nice suburb a long way from work, or hasn't pushed as much as possible for a carbon tax or other taxes to promote conservation and to fund research into alternative fuels are partly to blame for this, because we collectively create a huge and insatiable thirst for energy that can only be slaked by drilling offshore (our shores or other people's, it doesn't much matter). We've been doing a lot of offshore drilling for decades (mostly with remarkably little damage, even including this mess), and we will undoubtedly be doing more until we run out of oil, because there really aren't any good alternatives to petroleum so far. Anyone who voted for people who favor easing up on regulations will perhaps be able to shoulder a little more of the blame, although as yet it's unclear whether the engineering, the geology, sloppy or cheap practices, or what is to blame.

This could easily hurt Obama a lot. Assuming that it's going to be bad and it's going to keep getting worse for a long time yet (because there aren't any quick fixes), it's going to stay on the news. Republicans are going to have no problem blaming this on Obama (they've been practicing cognitive dissonance for three decades, so why should this faze them?), and this will likely dispirit many in the Democratic base, making it even more likely that Republicans will win large in November, leading to even more drilling and less regulation.

Posted by: N.Wells on May 2, 2010 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

I don't miss many of Benen's posts, but I seemed to have missed that one. That is, indeed, a smarter play then we've usually gotten.

I still maintain that we need to basically plan to go it alone if and until we actually get a Republican on board voting for, and not fillibustering, something. I see signs of change, but have for years, and GOP obstinance never ceases to amaze me. At some point, GOP obstinance has to be tallied into the strategy rather than taking us by surprise. This suggests, maybe, they have.

If this plays as it has for the past few decades, we'll get a lot of press on Graham as the new, mavericky, McCain until he fillibusters his own bill and Obama gets blamed for being too extremist and beholden to the Left to compromise.

The Lucy analogy holds until the football stays in place long enough to actually kick the thing. Obama's greatest victory so far has been HCR, which was passed without a single Republican, I believe.

Posted by: Memekiller on May 2, 2010 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

N.Wells - I fit most of the categories you listed (excepting the long commute part), yet I don't feel like I'm to blame at all. And that's because I'm sure this was an avoidable disaster that was created from sheer greed. I'm paying more than enough to these jerks to run a proper oil rig. Similarly, an improperly built windmill could fall on top of a busload of children, and it's not the fault of the people who use windpower.

And if you could explain why Obama would get the blame for this, I'd be amazed. Yes, Republicans will attempt to pin this on Obama, and as usual, the vast majority of people will ignore them.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on May 2, 2010 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Meme - Perhaps you could explain this "go it alone" strategy. I like the sound of it, but can't imagine how we'd do it. If anything, our options would be a strong bill that gets filibustered or a bipartisan bill that gets filibustered. I fail to see how the first is better than the second. And I prefer the third: a bipartisan bill that gets passed. I think progressives prefer the first option because they like the symbolism of screwing Republicans, and don't care if it achieves nothing.

As for the offshore drilling being part of the bill, yeah, that was news to me too. I didn't learn about it until yesterday, when I saw a news story on it. I think it's because of the way Obama pitched it: As if it was his own idea, rather than part of a compromise.

I should add that I THINK he was already planning to do part of this as a presidential thing, but a bigger part was in the climate bill, because Congress had to pass it. And a lot of that came from progressives who wanted to see this as the big Obama sell-out they've been looking for, and failed to notice that it required Congress. But in any case, nothing's come of it. We've given them nothing.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on May 2, 2010 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Biobrain, the demand creates incentives to cut corners and expand the range of operations, hence Wells' point. Yes, almost all of share in the blame (many forget that blame is not a 0-sum game) but it's likely true that BP deserves the major blame. We're not even sure of that, since some weird thing may have happened and not just the nearly inevitable wages of negligence to save a buck. (Remember the Pinto fiasco?) Still, you are indeed paying them more than enough to properly run the rigs - and they're pocketing the difference because people like the Bushies and too many Democrats won't keep watch.

Why would Obama get the blame? Evil and corrupt corporate media + stupid and easily manipulated ditteaheads. (Eh, you can see I'm trying to get this term in service - Google says I'd be first.)

Posted by: Neil B. on May 2, 2010 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

(but it's not as cool as posts being #1 or nearly, in Google search for "quantum measurement paradox.")

Posted by: Neil B on May 2, 2010 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see how we get the bill if we go it alone. I just don't see option three, a bipartisan bill that passes, as a possibility. The sun may not rise tomorrow, but lets not kid ourselves into thinking this doesn't contradict decades of experience.

We know the sun has risen every morning, so all I'm suggesting is our strategy ought to be based on the fact that the sun will rise tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.

By all means, if it benefits Obama, he ought to make motions to bipartisanship, but usually such efforts are only used to cast him as partisan and extremist. If thats the role the MSM will have him play, all I'm saying is we might as well get something for it. If you're going to get accused of cheating, you'd like to have gotten some nookie out of the deal.

Seeing as I'm assuming the GOP wants no bill to pass with a Democratic President and Congress, then we ought to make them fillibuster really popular stuff the people want, and let them see, every day, what kind of cookies they'd be getting without the GOP there to stymie things - and now that we don't have 60, we can dispense with the fantasy that it's a result of Dems not keeping their own troops in line.

The problem is, every compromise Obama puts a bill up people don't want, and they're kind of glad it's getting stymied. And he's getting the blame for the compromises he made to get them on board - and they're the ones using their policies failures as an opening to attack.

By now, we should all know how the GOP operates. For once, why don't we use that to our advantage and have them jump through the hoops. They will block everything, so make it hurt. Make them choose again and again between playing to the Limbaugh crowd and the sentient, and have them choose Limbaugh every time.

Posted by: Memekiller on May 2, 2010 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Biobrain, the demand creates incentives to cut corners and expand the range of operations, hence Wells' point.

That's not in accordance with any known economic theory. High demand with low supply means they get to charge whatever they want, and I'm stuck paying it. And that means they can more than afford to not cut corners. And if the required regulations really ate into their profits, they could charge more and I'd STILL pay it. If demand was low, on the other hand, your theory would make sense.

And if it was so easy to manipulate people, then why is Obama still the most popular politician in the country? If they were out to get him, they'd have gotten him by now.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on May 2, 2010 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Meme - The reason I think this is likely to pass is because Graham REALLY wants that offshore drilling. We need to stop treating Republicans like a monolithic group and try to peel off a few votes. That's all we need. After all, Graham isn't leading a GOP push on this. He's going it alone. That's why he's adament that offshore drilling be in it, as that's all he's really after.

And no, I don't see how letting them filibuster will work on this one, because it's not a hugely popular bill. The reason the Wall Street reform worked is because Tea Partiers weren't willing to defend Wall Street on that one. There was no real pushback against it.

But that was a fluke and we're not seeing that again. With almost everything else, Republicans will be more than happy to be the "heroes" who defend America's freedom against Big Bad Obama. Remember, Republicans don't need a majority of America to support them. They just need the "Real" Americans to support them. They can ignore any bill that doesn't get over 60% support.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on May 2, 2010 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Biobrain - it's not simple economics, but "political economy" in the most literal sense. Companies will get away with what they can, but you're right that it isn't really demand per se - it's poor oversight. They can make plenty of money with good workmanship, and even more without - that is the philosophy of most of them.

Obama - he's still rather popular (most - ? you sure?), but the digging has cut into him more than "rationally" deserved. Also remember intensity of the opponents, not just threshold poll numbers.

BTW, don't you wish we could put name links here, like to your blog? WTF, WaMo?

Posted by: neil b on May 2, 2010 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

Neil B - No, I'm not actually sure that Obama is the most popular. But who else polls at 50% nationwide? Palin can't touch that number, and I daresay she's one of the most popular Republicans.

At best, I'd guess maybe Bill Clinton might be more popular, but he's not a politician anymore. And speaking of which, Clinton was so hated that they demanded he be impeached over a BJ, even though he was extremely popular at the time. The hatred of Clinton was far more intense than his support, but his support was far more broad and he only suffered from one bad election. BTW, he also didn't support a progressive agenda, yet that didn't seem to hurt him any.

And YES, I would LOVE if my name linked to my blog. I used to get a lot of traffic from Carpetbagger, until he moved here. But if anyone's interested, I'm still here.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on May 2, 2010 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

The reason I think this is likely to pass is because Graham REALLY wants that offshore drilling. We need to stop treating Republicans like a monolithic group and try to peel off a few votes. That's all we need.

We need to stop acting like it's possible to peel off a few votes, and start thinking of the GOP as a monolithic group with extreme party discipline. No matter how much the "mavericks" talk compromise, when vote time comes, they vote the party line, be it McCain or Snowe or Graham. Nothing will pass from now until the midterms, unless the GOP acts differently than they have for over a decade. The fact that a member of the GOP really, really wants something hasn't kept them from fillibustering their own bills in the past. They want offshore drilling, but they want it with a GOP President and Congress.

All I'm asking is that you recognize that what you are holding out for - a Republican crossing the aisle - is unprecedented, and has been the pony Dems have been holding out for since 1993.

Posted by: Memekiller on May 2, 2010 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Doctor Biobrain,

Obama wasn't going to get the climate bill, either. That was a few Repubs playing Lucy "I'll hold the football for you to kick - this time - I really, really promise." It was a game Graham and others played to get more time from the Democrats in which absolutely nothing big happened in congress, and it was going to end (Tah Dah!) with absolutely nothing happening. Probably they'd have pulled out in the late summer.

Then they'd run Republicans in the fall against the do-nothing Democrats.

What happened is that Graham et al decided the could get more publicity bang for their buck by pulling out in late April instead. The PR opportunity presented itself and they grabbed onto it. Same result as they had planned, just less time and effort pretending to let Charlie Brown think he was going to kick the football.

Did you notice that when Charles Schultz died, Charlie Brown never had been able to kick the football?

Posted by: Rick B on May 2, 2010 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

Rick B - If we don't get our climate bill, then Republicans don't get their offshore oil. So it looks like they just pulled their own football at the same time.

Beyond that, Republicans CAN'T run against Dems as a "Do-Nothing Congress," because they've been complaining about all the radical things we've been doing. I mean, there's nothing scary about a Do-Nothing Congress, so how exactly is that supposed to work? They're going to fear-monger, just as they've been doing since before the election.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on May 2, 2010 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

All I'm asking is that you recognize that what you are holding out for - a Republican crossing the aisle - is unprecedented, and has been the pony Dems have been holding out for since 1993.

Meme - You really sure do seem intent on killing your own name. Because you're still repeating the same meme all the progressives say, yet it's entirely untrue.

Scott Brown, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe helped break a filibuster on the unemployment bill this month. And Brown helped break a filibuster on the jobs bill in February. And you're honestly telling me that we've NEVER gotten a Republican to break ranks in seventeen years? Come on, be serious.

And look, you're not proposing a realistic strategy. You're banking everything on a roll of the dice that might blow up in our faces. And I suspect that part of the problem is that you haven't internalized that we don't have the 60-vote majority any more. That didn't work out so well for us last year, and it's even worse now. We can't do this without Republicans, and even YOUR strategy depends upon them caving to our demands.

Look, both your strategy and Obama's strategy depend upon Republicans bowing to us and giving us what we want. The only difference is that Obama's strategy has a realistic chance of working, and yours doesn't. But they both involve us getting Republicans to break ranks.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on May 2, 2010 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Concerning the BP/Halliburton oil blow-out in the Gulf, the closer equivalence is to the Massey mining disaster...and both were caused by lax regulatory oversight of energy producers...and we know which party (the Republicans!!!) are ALWAYS for lax regulatory oversight of energy producers, or lax regulatory oversight of Wall Street TBTF firms, or lax regulatory oversight of mortgage lenders and derivatives traders, or lax regulatory oversight of pharmaceutical and health industry companies, or lax regulatory oversight of anything involving Big Business, which of course is because Republicans (and a few Blue Dog Democrats) depend on Big Business to be their biggest campaign contributors.

The response to this "current" man-made disaster versus the Bush response (or lack thereof) to the Katrina disaster is another matter entirely.

The Obama administration is trying to do everything possible to clean-up this blindingly-greedy corporate-caused disaster, or at least mitigate it. On the other hand, the Bush administration following Katrina's landfall actually, deliberately withheld federal emergency disaster assistance from storm-ravaged New Orleans and Louisiana. DOD chief Donald Rumsfeld, in fact, ordered the standing down of search-and-rescue military helicopters in Florida, while two pilots on a resupply mission to Louisiana who dared to rescue people in New Orleans from rooftops were severely reprimanded when they got back to their Pensacola Florida base. U.S. citizens died because of what BushCo did, or needlessly suffered in New Orleans because BushCo politicized the federal Katrina response, purposefully diverting federal disaster resources away from Louisiana (with its Democratic Party governor) and toward the two neighboring Katrina-hit states with Republican governors.

Thus, trying to link what Obama is dealing with regarding this underwater Gulf oil gusher to what BushCo deliberately did during Katrina is a false comparison, but culture of corruption Republicans will try anything to dis Democrats to see if it will stick. The Republican Party is a perpetual war machine, and to hell with the facts.

Posted by: The Oracle on May 2, 2010 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

why has obama's response been so weak and ineffective????

he is a national disgrace.

Posted by: skeptic1 on May 2, 2010 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

why has obama's response been so weak and ineffective????

Indeed. We were promised that Obama was Superman. Yet Superman would have dove into the water and tied the gushing pipe into a knot, sealing it off. Then, he would have used his cold breath to freeze the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, then hoisted the iceberg into the air and delivery it safely to a nearby refinery, where it could be processed into wholesome petroleum products. Then, he would have flown to BP and Halliburton headquarters, removed the roof from the room where their top villains were located, then flown them all to a secure prison; where they'd start their long prison terms.

But that didn't happen at all. I feel so betrayed...

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on May 2, 2010 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

It really doesn't matter what President Obama does to help with BP's disaster. The majority of the media is owned or controlled by conservatives. They will keep looking to find a falure of the Obama administration so they can brand it Obama's Katrina. Once they have that then Bush and the conservative brand will be whitewashed because "Look the liberal guy failed in office." They can then tell themselves that the office of the President is too difficult so we can't blame Bush.

In the conservative world that is all they'll need. A "failure" by Obama absolves Bush.

They have no shame, they are Republicans

Posted by: madstork123 on May 2, 2010 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Quit talking politics and talk global catastrophe. May I suggest www.opednews.com.
This is much worse, potentially than anyone is saying. Worst case is not losing fishing in the Gulf or a few million dead fish. Read Rob Kall's article, then report back.

Posted by: st john on May 3, 2010 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

The Obama administration has some talented, competent folks, but they're not superheroes.

Too bad. It would be comforting if they were, so the GOP wouldn't have to be so afraid of all the Al Queda supervillains that Supermax prisons are unable to hold.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on May 3, 2010 at 4:08 AM | PERMALINK

Why is it that all the people who are against government intervention, at the moment we have a crisis are screaming for government intervention?
The time when the republicans were deregulating everything started all this, I cannot understand
how - when they self regulated all of the corporations they managed to grow the government at the same time.

Posted by: Joan on May 3, 2010 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

“Katrina” away. The RepoTaliban and their MSM talking heads are like the boy crying” wolf”. That bloody shirt is already losing its knee jerk response.

Mixing metaphors to the point of inanity.

Posted by: Marnie on May 3, 2010 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

I suggest that we sacrifice a huge nuclear submarine by positioning
it over the geyser and, using robots, cut a hole in the bottom and
attach oil pipe risers.

I can't think of a better use for these boats.

We could also sink a tanker, keep it pressurized, and try the same thing.

Building concrete boxes on shore is great, but what about immediately trying to use sunken ships/submarines?

If this disaster is unprecedented, then it's time for unprecedented measures.

What about lowering hardened missle silos? I bet we have some of those?

Just how big is this thing anyway?

It came from the deep..... the black ooze of death, unstoppable, unfathomable, unimaginable......

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on May 3, 2010 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

"8. wants to put "real Americans" in re-education camps."

Actually that is true. He, as the first none 100% Caucusian/European POTUS. So he is a walking talking living breathing teachable moment, every moment he is not an abject failure.

If Obama does not fail, and we need to help him not fail, he will have re-educated a lot of bigots and their children - whether they realize it or not.

Posted by: Marnie on May 3, 2010 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

While the wingnuts may scream for a week, this 'the spill is Obama's fault not BP's,' meme is so bizarre that even Fox news listeners will be dubious. They are gullible, not necessarilly morons. The fault lies in whichever administration either passed or watered down the DOI/DOT/Coast Guard regulations re: offshore pressure valves, cap systems, trigger systems and containment reguirements. This will come out within a few weeks. Already, one blogger has pointed out Cheney's task force as weakening the requirements.

Posted by: Wally on May 3, 2010 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK
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