The White House And The Oil Spill

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on May 25, 2010

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The longer the oil spill cleanup disaster goes on, the more difficult it is to find patience and forbearance in Louisiana’s state government; either for BP, or for the federal government:

As thick oil flows into the sensitive marshes of the Louisiana coast, Gov. Bobby Jindal called on the White House and BP today to either stop the oil spill or get out of his way.

Jindal is still waiting for the federal government to provide millions of feet in boom and to approve an emergency permit for a state plan to dredge and build new barrier islands to keep the oil from reaching the marshes and wetlands.

Jindal is so desperate for the islands, he’s said he’ll build them even if it sends him to jail.

“We’ve been frustrated with the disjointed effort to date that has too often meant too little, too late for the oil hitting our coast,” Jindal said.

I was led to believe that a powerful and active federal government would be good for society at large, but unfortunately the federal government’s ability to be powerful and active is not as pronounced as its ability to be large and meddlesome when its help is not wanted, and slothful when its help is actually needed.

Note that Democrats are also making comments criticizing the White House’s handling of the oil spill:

In recent days, even some of President Obama’s strongest supporters have expressed concern about whether he has shown a lack of leadership in plugging the leaking hole.

On ABC’s “This Week” Sunday, Democratic operative Donna Brazile said, “One of the problems I have with the administration is that they’re not tough enough.”

Democratic consultant James Carville echoed that sentiment, saying on CNN, “They’re risking everything by this ‘Go along with BP’s strategy’ they have that seems, like, lackadaisical on this.”

More on this them here, here, and here. BP hasn’t exactly covered itself with glory either, but again, we were all led to believe that a federal government headed by someone like President Obama would respond to disasters better than would a federal government headed by someone like President George W. Bush–who would be lambasted across the media spectrum if he were in charge right now. Recall that in the aftermath of Katrina, we were told that if only we had an Administration that liked government–instead of a center-right one that thought government had to be small, and therefore presumably hated government–we would get a more competent government in response. This point was recently made by Paul Krugman, who said that bureaucrats and regulation would work well if only we were nice to the bureaucracy.

Anyone still believe that?

UPDATE: Even Ed Schultz has turned against the Administration over the oil spill.

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