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Obama and the Great British Petroleum Scandal

Damn Harry Truman! Harry was President when I was born. And here I am a mere 5’8” in height. Truman could have done something, maybe sent in the government to insist the hospital staff do something to accelerate bone growth. My basketball career was done before it ever got started thanks to Harry T. What is government for if not to help citizens like me? Hey, Harry – I thought you said the buck stops with you.

By the mid-fifties, I was playing hockey on the frozen ponds of Michigan. Hockey sticks weren’t cheap and I ended up breaking my share. Where the hell was Ike when this was going on? Those diabolical Canadians were obviously selling cheap “Northland” hockey sticks to the kids in the U.S. to keep them from becoming a hockey power. The proof can be seen in the results of the recent Winter Olympics where Canada beat the Americans by a goal. The whole time this was going on Ike was visibly absent. He could have stepped in, but he didn’t. And there you have it – we lost the gold.

In the sixties, I was at the lake when a freak storm blew over a tree which knocked over a power pole which sent a big electric transformer crashing through the roof of our neighbor’s house. There was only one way off the island with its five houses and the fire that burned in one of them blocked access to the bridge. We were trapped. No one came to the rescue for over three hours. Where was Lyndon Johnson as this was going on? Why didn’t he have an emergency backup plan ready to go? Wasn’t his job to anticipate such problems and deal with them when and if necessary? He fell down on the job. That’s probably why he didn’t run for another term. The incompetent bastard!

By the time the seventies rolled around, industrial disasters were pretty routine. Refinery fires, explosions and chemical leaks occurred one after the other. They generally weren’t too serious because they almost always took place in industrial areas where only poor people lived. And who gives a damn about poor people. If we did, we would have been busy blaming Nixon, Ford and Carter for the problems.

In the eighties, I was present when a paper mill caught fire. I personally manned a fire hose and fought the fire for 36 sleepless hours while I froze on the backside and toasted on the front. I have no recollection of seeing Ronald Regan in the fire line. I saw none of his staff on the scene, but I’m sure it was his fault.

Such things happened again and again throughout the nineties and on into the new millennium. The Bush boys caused their share and Clinton undoubtedly was responsible for his list of disasters (although most agree he was more of a “hands-on” type of President).

Now President Obama has been identified as being personally responsible for British Petroleum’s monumental screw-up in the Gulf of Mexico. Not since the great Canadian hockey stick conspiracy has an American President been so derelict in his duty to fix the ills of private industry. Someone get a rope.

If you listen to the mob, the BP spill could be Obama’s Katrina. But when I listen a little closer, I find out that the government has been deeply involved in the handling the crisis right from the start. I’m not sure what more Obama could be doing. Are people expecting him to grab a shovel and go scoop oil off the beaches? I don’t think even the dumbest of the dumb believe that would be appropriate.

One commentator said Obama’s too calm. He’s supposed to be jumping up and down throwing a little hissy-fit of some kind, something along the lines of Chicken Little’s famed performance. With all due respect, I personally want a leader that remains calm in crisis, thinks things through and acts decisively. If we wanted someone leading us that jumps up and down shouting irrational nonsense, we should have voted for Sarah “Drill Baby, Drill” Palin before she cracked and fell off the deep end.

So here I am trying to understand the mob’s mentality as its members run through the streets with torches ablaze, oil stained white sheets covering the heads and bodies and looking for the black dude they didn’t want in the White House. They’re screaming he should have done more. Like what? Specifically, what more should the government do?

Are people saying the government should have invested billions of dollars in the technology the oil industry normally develops and uses? That seems a little odd to hear people who are normally bitching about the government having too much of a hand in private industry now crying about how we should have dramatically increased government spending to put it in a position superior in resources and technology over the oil industry just in case we might ever need to use it. I’m not sure how the word “crazy” is defined, but I suspect we’re getting close to it here.

Maybe the mob is upset the Obama administration has permitted offshore drilling in the first place. After all, opponents said it was risky. Obama just recently reached out to Republicans in an attempt to bring the country together and authorized some offshore drilling. But if the mob is unhappy about this, maybe someone can explain to me how it is they’re in the same group that screamed “Drill here – drill now” and “Drill baby, drill!” I hope this doesn’t sound like an “I told you so,” but the current disaster would not have happened if BP hadn’t been given permission to drill there in the first place. I should probably also point out that Obama wasn’t around when that permission was granted.

So for all the sheep penned up in FOX News’ corral let me enlighten you. You are being suckered. The Republicans know that you don’t think real deeply in these matters and they know they can sucker you into believing the President is somehow at fault for the current debacle. This is insane. Are you saying you want the government to increase spending dramatically? Are you saying you want substantially more government interference in the business of private industry? Are you saying government can do BP’s job better than BP, but it can’t do health care? Are you saying Obama should jump up and down yelling, “The sky is falling” rather than react calmly in a crisis? If so, you’re starting to sound a lot like one of those damned liberal Democrats. The next thing you know, you’ll be pushing socialism and communism.

Obama and the government are doing as well as we can expect in the current situation. Admittedly, we have a crisis of such monumental proportions as to dwarf all previous environmental disasters. You may want to rethink your position on offshore drilling. There are serious questions on both sides of that issue.

In the meantime, this is not Obama’s Katrina. The government is involved, heavily involved in the situation. Stop being suckered by the Republicans. The next thing you know, you’ll be claiming this rivals the great Canadian hockey stick scandal. Nothing could be that big.


One Response

  1. Great piece Allen.


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