The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Plug the Hole Before You Plug Your Old Agenda Items


I think Obama may have made a serious miscalculation by attempting to change the subject from “How are we doing on plugging the darn hole?” to “When are we going to pass cap and trade?” Any Republican in the country can issue a statement like Florida’s Marco Rubio did last night, making the supremely appealing point of first things first:

Earlier today, I was pleased that President Obama finally made it down to Florida to see firsthand the Gulf Oil Spill’s impact on our economy and environment. For 57 days, Gulf states have been reeling from the impact of this spill, and it’s important to send the message that Florida remains open for business. 

Nonetheless, there is a justified sense of frustration among all Floridians regarding the government’s delayed response, especially in terms of overseeing the boom, mobilizing skimmers from around the world, utilizing tourism promotion money and promptly processing economic claims. Local governments still feel there is too much bureaucracy in the response coordination, too little communication, and that’s why they are pushing back. Ultimately, there is a lack of leadership, while mistrust is the prevailing sentiment.

For example, I’ve spoken to fishermen in Destin and across the Panhandle who were hurting even before the spill because of government regulations. Their challenges have since been exacerbated. Floridians and our fellow Gulf states don’t need any more sound bites or dithering. We deserve deliberate action to cut through the red tape that is holding back disaster mitigation efforts. We need action.

Floridians and our Gulf neighbors have been through a lot of hardships in recent years, but we’ve survived. We’ve gotten through hurricanes in the past, and we’ll get through this oil spill. But to do so, I urge the President to act swiftly and focus his attention on making sure that every possible measure is taken to equip our first responders with the tools they need to do their jobs, encourage willing volunteers who want to help us in our time of need, and reemphasize that Florida is open for business. Finally, it is also my hope that the President will not take his focus off the Gulf Oil Spill to push a cap-and-trade national energy tax.

These guys are so busy making sure they never waste a crisis that they never seem to get around to fixing the crisis.

Tags: Barack Obama , Marco Rubio


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