My opinion is the “spill” could be a gift to bring down the Cheneys, oil companies, “drill baby drill”-
With a huge natural disaster there is political danger, but also political opportunity. For the people living on the Gulf, and the fish and wildlife, it is all downside. For the President there is a mighty political opportunity, but so far he has baubled the basketball while standing right next to the basket. He’d better recover and slam dunk it or the other team will soon have the ball. They are already calling it “Obama’s Katrina” now that it looks like the oil will gush until August, well into the hurricane season.
Let me explain.
In politics and government, there is what is actually happening, but for the average American who does not follow politics or current events much, it is what they think is happening.
What the public thinks is happening is the most important thing.
Most now understand the “oil spill” is a big disaster. They want it stopped and cleaned up, but they also want it explained. How could this happen after all the oil company ads saying how careful they are and all the political support for drilling. The average person wants reassurance, and when angry they want justice. For there to be justice, there needs to be blame placed. A convincing story (a “narrative”) explaining all these things is what the public craves. Obama needs one quickly, a narrative before an alternative one about his aloofness is put firmly in place. Maureen Dowd’s latest column in the NYT certainly understands this. “Once More, With Feeling.” NYT. May 29, 2010. The President has got to get angry and point the finger of blame. . . none of that “no drama, Obama.” He needs drama, and a good melodrama requires a hero going after the villains.
Obama and Salazar did little to actually change the Bush Administration oil leasing/regulation policies, but the public doesn’t know that. More than any other person, the one who set this all in motion was Dick Cheney, beginning with his secret meetings with the energy companies back in 2001. The unlikable Cheney, with his permanent sneer, the oil companies, and a handful of visible pro-oil company senators (e.g., Lisa Murkowski) would make ideal villains in a narrative that could change the course of politics. Others, such as Palin, drill-baby-drill folks, and newcomers like Rand Paul could also be swept aside.
For a long time we’ve thought of the Democrats as the Mommy party and Republicans as the Daddy party. Both perceptions help and hurt the two parties, but right now Obama needs to be a very angry daddy as well as a mommy helping Gulf residents with their skinned knees and upset stomachs.
He can’t stop the flow of oil, but he could be moping it up politically with the greedy oil companies, Dick Cheney, and unrepentant oil company politicians as the mops.
He is a very smart man. So was young President Bill Clinton. They both made a lot of early mistakes, but Clinton learned. This President seems slow yet right now he needs to go for the jugular before he is gutted himself.