Oily Obama: Lousy Response to BP Oil Invasion

Thirty days into the BP oil spill one mile down into the Gulf of Mexico it should be clear to every objective person that President Obama has failed miserably.  This oil spill is more than a disaster or crisis; it is a catastrophe of unprecedented proportions.  This environmental catastrophe will quickly morph into a national economic catastrophe as economic doomsday facing the fishing and tourism industries generates countless negative economic ripples throughout the US economy.  Unemployment and economic growth will suffer.

President Obama has shown no effective leadership or any proportional response to this multi-catastrophe.  All those who rightfully criticized President George W. Bush for his mishandling of the Katrina nightmare should wake up and see that Obama is failing to use every ounce of federal resources to compensate for the total failure of BP to stop the oil hemorrhaging from the floor of the Gulf.  The BP failure to stop the gushing oil spill is sadly consistent with its failure to prevent the firestorm on the oil rig to begin with.

Where is the national outrage?  Where are the loud calls from everyone and the media demanding a stronger a federal response?  Where is Obama’s clear anger and appropriate firing of many federal officials, starting with the Interior Secretary?   Where is the Justice Department doing its job of quickly starting criminal prosecutions of BP and its two major contractors?

All Americans, regardless of their partisan positions, should be hollering incessantly for Obama to wake up and take this catastrophe a lot more seriously.

We should be sending a clear message that this BP oil spill catastrophe will justify preventing Obama from getting a second term.  Maybe that would work to get this smarmy politician to do what is right and necessary for millions of Americans that will suffer a long time because of this corporate failure.

Obama should have seen this BP oil spill as an environmental invasion just as serious as a traditional invasion by an armed force or some awful terrorist attack.  He should have mobilized the enormous federal resources in countless areas to not only deal with the oil invasion and contamination of countless natural resources but, even more critically, to stop the damn gushing of oil at the sea bottom.

It is only a matter of time until the horrendous quantities of oil wrap around Florida and then up the East coast.  Maybe then more Americans will get as excited and alarmed as those poor people along the Gulf directly in the path of the oil invasion.

Maybe then President Obama will finally and belatedly show some presidential leadership.  Maybe not.

Joel S. Hirschhorn was a full professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a senior official at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association; he has authored five nonfiction books, including Delusional Democracy: Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. Read other articles by Joel.

16 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. Max Shields said on May 23rd, 2010 at 9:24am #

    How ironic that with US CIA help, British Petroleum over threw the democratically elected popular progressive Iranian Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadegh in 1953.

    The insatiable desire for endless growth IS the problem, Joel. The oil gushing out is like a fat man eating his way to oblivion.

  2. mnbob said on May 23rd, 2010 at 10:55am #

    You’ve got to be kidding! I’m not a fan of the President but to blame him for an accident response is quite a stretch. He’s not an engineer( not smart enough, getting a law degree is a lot easier than any engineering degree), he’s not an expert in deep water oil exploration. Never worked in any industry, doesn’t know the resources necessary to handle a project such as this, or the logistics and danger involved. As far a the federal government goes, the Coast Guard job is to respond to emergency situations, they are not experts in oil fields either. I am unfamiliar with any branch of the government whose responsibility it is to formulate a response to an accident of this magnitude. We don’t have any new “Red Adairs’ ” working for the feds. So I’m sure he is doing all he can with the resources he has available, which unfortunately is very limited.

  3. Don Hawkins said on May 23rd, 2010 at 11:05am #

    Within the ancient Hopi Indian Prophecy is told the history of the Red and White Brothers, sons of the Earth Mother and the Great Spirit who gave them different missions. The Red Brother was to stay at home and keep the land in sacred trust while the White Brother went abroad to record things and make inventions. One day the White Brother was to return and share his inventions in a spirit of respect for the wisdom his Red Brother had gained. It was told that his inventions would include cobwebs through which people could speak to each other from house to house across mountains, even with all doors and windows closed; there would be carriages crossing the sky on invisible roads, and eventually a gourd of ashes that when dropped would scorch the earth and even the fishes in the sea. If the White Brother’s ego grew so large in making these inventions that he would not listen to the wisdom of the Red Brother, he would bring this world to an end in the Great Purification of nature. Only a few would survive to bring forth the next world in which there would again be abundance and harmony.

    The Colombian Kogi, descendants of the ancient Tairona, have a similar historical scenario in their creation story. Aluna, the Great Mother, the primeval waters, is the source of all creation. Even before creating worlds, she lived through all possibilities for all worlds and all times through great mental anguish. For this she is known as Memory and Possibility. The eight worlds previous to this one were not peopled, but in this ninth world she put humans, including Elder and Younger Brothers. From the beginning, Younger Brother caused so much trouble that eventually he was given knowledge of technology and sent far, far away across the waters. Five hundred years ago, the Kogi say, he found his way back across the waters and he has been causing trouble ever since. If he does not listen to the Kogi, to Elder Brother, who is telling him to stop destroying the Mother, to stop digging out her heart in his mining and cutting up her liver in his deforestation, he will bring this world to an end. Elisabet Sahtouris

    sent far, far away across the waters. Of course there is more than one Younger Brother.

  4. Don Hawkins said on May 23rd, 2010 at 3:35pm #

    Only a few would survive to bring forth the next world in which there would again be abundance and harmony.

    Oh yes the smart money on Wall Street and the people in control of that money the so called leaders maybe even a few stars that’s us only the few. Oh so the rest of us the little people I guess we don’t have a say in this it’s just better that way. I think the word abundance is what will get the so called elites attention. Anyway go to the Gulf swim go fishing the oil is still 50 miles off shore or go to the Arctic Greenland is a good spot in say September take the tour and see harmony at work.

  5. Don Hawkins said on May 24th, 2010 at 4:20am #


    Interesting report any thought’s and later this morning the ice report from the scientists in Colorado this one I want to see. Then is it Tuesday or Wednesday heavy mud and cement from BP called top kill who thinks these names up. The ship on the surface is named discovery enterprise and another rig called Atlantis that from what I understand is missing a few part’s. Yes a few seem to be missing something called a mind.

    Five hundred years ago, the Kogi say, he found his way back across the waters and he has been causing trouble ever since. If he does not listen to the Kogi, to Elder Brother, who is telling him to stop destroying the Mother, to stop digging out her heart in his mining and cutting up her liver in his deforestation, he will bring this world to an end.

    Now that’s what I call thinking outside the box.

  6. stevieb said on May 24th, 2010 at 9:36am #

    Dawn Hawkins: That’s the stupidest comment I’ve read in a very long time.

    I try not to do the ad hom thing – but in this case I’m willing to make an exception. Moron!

  7. stevieb said on May 24th, 2010 at 9:37am #

    Just read the commenting etiquette. My apologies..

  8. xalien said on May 24th, 2010 at 9:47am #

    BP signs a contract that includes to collect 12500 barrels for day in case of spill.

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain said on May 24th, 2010 at 10:57am #

    Obummer’s impotence is due, I’d say, to the Shadow President, Emanuel, not having discerned any advantage to Israel in acting one way or the other.Moreover BP shares probably reside disproportionately, as does the wealth of the world, in certain hands. These hands have guided Obummer’s career, as the greatest confidence-trickster in recent US history, financed him, provided valuable contacts and favourable media coverage. Obummer knows that he must never act against those rich parasites who control the world and whose insatiable greed is rapidly destroying the life-support systems that ensure human survival. If he was to forget where real power lies and whose interests he must serve above all else, he would get the Dallas treatment, and that happy thought is sufficient to concentrate any mind.

  10. Hue Longer said on May 24th, 2010 at 1:47pm #

    hey stevieb,

    I WISH ad hom was not allowed on DV but unfortunately too many don’t recognize it. Calling someone a moron is not ad hom–it’s just not very nice

    I just may bore the editors here and take Dead Beet up on writing a paper concerning ad hom, but I can’t think of an angle that would get it published.

  11. Don Hawkins said on May 24th, 2010 at 2:10pm #


    A person of mild mental retardation having a mental age of from 7 to 12 years and generally having communication and social skills enabling some degree of academic or vocational education.

    That’s me alright if I had just listened to the adult’s when I was younger maybe my life would be different. One thing for sure none of the adult’s in my childhood would ever write what I do on DV more on the lines of USA USA go team go and very sure drill baby drill and look how well it’s all worked out. The fool on the hill a moron and thinking outside the box is for morons only I guess but I don’t know what else to do as most of what I see I don’t understand I know it must mean something and very important but I just don’t get it in a time of grand universal deceit. Along long time ago in a land far far away………………………….

  12. Deadbeat said on May 24th, 2010 at 2:45pm #

    Hue Longer writes …

    I just may bore the editors here and take Dead Beet up on writing a paper concerning ad hom, but I can’t think of an angle that would get it published.

    Let me set the record straight. The argument above by Hue is a FALLACIOUS innuendo suggesting that my arguments on DV especially regarding Chomskyism are ad hominems.

    The issue is not my arguments but Hue’s lack of counter-arguments supporting his own position on the matter. My position by which I support with EVIDENCE a critique of Chomsky’s arguments as well as the ideology that he REPRESENTS has RETARDED the Left.

    This isn’t the first time that I have offered Hue links to the definition of Ad Hominem. This time I’ll post the entire definition along with a link

    Ad Hominem (Argument To The Man):

    attacking the person instead of attacking his argument. For example, “Von Daniken’s books about ancient astronauts are worthless because he is a convicted forger and embezzler.” (Which is true, but that’s not why they’re worthless.)

    Another example is this syllogism, which alludes to Alan Turing’s homosexuality:

    Turing thinks machines think.
    Turing lies with men.
    Therefore, machines don’t think.

    (Note the equivocation in the use of the word “lies”.)

    A common form is an attack on sincerity. For example, “How can you argue for vegetarianism when you wear leather shoes ?” The two wrongs make a right fallacy is related.

    A variation (related to Argument By Generalization) is to attack a whole class of people. For example, “Evolutionary biology is a sinister tool of the materialistic, atheistic religion of Secular Humanism.” Similarly, one notorious net.kook waved away a whole category of evidence by announcing “All the scientists were drunk.”

    Another variation is attack by innuendo: “Why don’t scientists tell us what they really know; are they afraid of public panic ?”

    There may be a pretense that the attack isn’t happening: “In order to maintain a civil debate, I will not mention my opponent’s drinking problem.” Or “I don’t care if other people say you’re [opinionated/boring/overbearing].”

    Attacks don’t have to be strong or direct. You can merely show disrespect, or cut down his stature by saying that he seems to be sweating a lot, or that he has forgotten what he said last week. Some examples: “I used to think that way when I was your age.” “You’re new here, aren’t you ?” “You weren’t breast fed as a child, were you ?” “What drives you to make such a statement ?” “If you’d just listen..” “You seem very emotional.” (This last works well if you have been hogging the microphone, so that they have had to yell to be heard.)

    Sometimes the attack is on the other person’s intelligence. For example, “If you weren’t so stupid you would have no problem seeing my point of view.” Or, “Even you should understand my next point.”

    Oddly, the stupidity attack is sometimes reversed. For example, dismissing a comment with “Well, you’re just smarter than the rest of us.” (In Britain, that might be put as “too clever by half”.) This is Dismissal By Differentness. It is related to Not Invented Here and Changing The Subject.

    Ad Hominem is not fallacious if the attack goes to the credibility of the argument. For instance, the argument may depend on its presenter’s claim that he’s an expert. (That is, the Ad Hominem is undermining an Argument From Authority.) Trial judges allow this category of attacks.

  13. Don Hawkins said on May 24th, 2010 at 3:15pm #

    Appealing to personal considerations rather than to logic or reason: Debaters should avoid ad hominem arguments that question their opponents’ motives.

    Wow like if we were in a debate with Dick Cheney never question his motives or today when Senator Judd Gregg said this oil spill drilling off shore look’s to be a problem but we have shale and tar sand’s. Now say we were in a debate with Gregg could we say oh Judd are you up to your eye ball’s in special interest. Does the money you get from special interest ever cloud your judgement. Ok Senator how about this what if I was to say “People of Earth we are in deep do do”. You find that funny and did you just call me a moron I’ll bet you were thinking it. Hell let me say it again people of Earth we are all in deep do do. Climate change is a hoax ok let’s take an ice cube and a hair dryer I just happen to have one now watch this. Ad hominem oh yes never do that.

  14. Hue Longer said on May 24th, 2010 at 3:17pm #

    I wasn’t trying any such thing, DB

    But now that we’re here, posting links doesn’t mean anything and funny that so many people do that then later go into incorrectly citing it over and over again (and failing to see their own abuse of it)…It’s why I don’t think the paper would help you, DB.

    (and yes, you are often guilty of ad hominem when attacking any info Chomsky may proffer as well as using the man’s name when attacking the words of those who may not see him as the bogey man you do)


  15. Don Hawkins said on May 24th, 2010 at 3:28pm #

    The pressure a mile down in the ocean is about one ton per square inch. Human’s can’t go that deep and the machines we have or BP has at the present time are going to play hell in trying to stop that leak. Does the military have a secret machine that could do the job well no. Drones don’t work real well at a mile under the ocean.

  16. Mulga Mumblebrain said on May 25th, 2010 at 12:42am #

    Don, getting the US military to do the job is pointless. After all their only expertise is in killing, and there’s no-one to kill here. Unless you’re talking of Obummer and the BP ecoterrorists and parasites…..