The Campaign Spot

Enjoy, America: Slow Response to the Spill, Fast Response to Joe Barton

In today’s Morning Jolt:

What, Is Obama Saving Up the Really Good Gulf Cleanup Plans for His Second Term?

This headline, 68 days after the spill began, is pretty appalling: No skimmers in sight as oil floods into Mississippi waters.  The Biloxi Sun Herald shares the bad news:  “A morning flight over the Mississippi Sound showed long, wide ribbons of orange-colored oil for as far as the eye could see and acres of both heavy and light sheen moving into the Sound between the barrier islands. What was missing was any sign of skimming operations from Horn Island to Pass Christian. U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor got off the flight angry. ‘It’s criminal what’s going on out there,’ Taylor said minutes later. ‘This doesn’t have to happen.’ A scientist on board, Mike Carron with the Northern Gulf Institute, said with this scenario, there will be oil on the beaches of the mainland. ‘There’s oil in the Sound and there was no skimming,’ Carron said. ‘No coordinated effort.’”

Bruce McQuain, writing at QandO: “He’s right — it doesn’t have to happen. We’ve been told ad nauseum that the federal government has the containment situation in hand having been on the job since ‘day one.’ Obviously that’s fiction. After a couple of trips to shore up his image, President Obama is back to the routine of golf vs. crisis management.”

The blog, So It Goes in Shreveport offers this depressing bit: “Admiral Allen was asked about the lack of skimmers by Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald.  His response? ‘The discussions we are having with the Navy and other folks right now is the availability of skimmers that are on standby because they might be needed for a spill someplace else and how we might go about assessing the availability of those resources. So I would separate out the resources that the Navy had that they’ve already given to us and the discussions we’re having across the entire country where we have equipment that’s out there as a requirement—legal requirement to cover spill response of those areas and how we might free those up, and that’s a work in progress inside the administration right now.’ Got that?  We’ve got skimmers on standby but can’t use them because they might be needed somewhere else.”

So . . . where are these other places that need the skimmers so badly that they can’t be deployed to the worst environmental disaster in American history?

The Politico reveals that the White House may not know what to do with the oil spouting out of the well head, but they know how what to do when a Republican spouts off an ill-considered apology to BP:

“The White House had sprung into action within minutes of Barton’s saying to oil company CEOs at a hearing, ‘I apologize.’  . . . ‘We went crazy. It was a huge moment,’ an Obama official said. The president’s aides switched into campaign mode, their favorite posture, lifting West Wing spirits dampened by weeks of body blows and sinking polls. Assistant press secretary Ben LaBolt, a specialist in defensive public relations, and who has been working on the Gulf spill response, blasted around a link to a video of Barton, with the subject line: ‘Barton Apologizes to BP for WH Shakedown.’”

Well, good to know they can spring into action within minutes on something. Great job, guys! You may not be able to get flippin’-flappin’ oil skimmers where they need to go, but you really can win a news cycle by calling attention to a remark from a GOP congressman that most Americans have never heard of! Give the taxpayers a moment or two to grasp just how well-spent their tax dollars are on your salaries!

You think Obama’s snapping at people at the breakfast table yet?

“Did they plug the leak yet, Daddy?”

“Eat your breakfast.”


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