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Jindal proactive approach adds to his political capital

While fate intertwined the fortunes of former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and former Pres. George W. Bush to the downside attendant to Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath in 2005, in 2010 Gov. Bobby Jindal may find an inverse relationship with Pres. Barack Obama relative to their handling of the burgeoning oil spill disaster offshore the state, to Jindal’s benefit.

Both Bush and Blanco, often from the opposite sides of the political spectrum, were pilloried by public opinion for their handlings of the disaster, eroding Bush’s political capital and becoming perhaps the main factor in making Blanco unelectable for another term. This latest Louisiana-based crisis began almost two weeks ago when a blowout from failed equipment collapsed a platform oil rig that has send thousands of barrels a day into the Gulf. It now has begun to lap into the coastline, with Louisiana the most affected.

While federal law puts the cleanup responsibility in the hands of the operator, BP, Obama seemed little interested in addressing the matter for more than a week as BP struggled unsuccessfully to bring matters under control. Rather than offer federal help immediately and bill BP later, Obama for days, in his actions and words, seemed more interested in scoring partisan political points on unrelated matters.

Naturally, a sympathetic media in combination with the pass they are willing to give Obama because they see him as an environmentalist even as his inaction does not mitigate the ecological threat about to manifest means little that identifies Obama’s lack of reaction as a major culpable element has been disseminated by the media. This especially is derelict because Obama campaigned on making government work better, yet on a number of unanticipated problems his response shows a high degree of detrimental delay.

While this brought speculation about whether Obama’s handling of the situation would impair him politically, Jindal appears ready to put another notch in his decisive leadership belt. Hailed for his proactive approach to mitigating the impact of Hurricane Gustav his first year in office, Jindal a week ago began to insert himself and his administration into the crisis, joined by various parish leaders. With the oil still on the loose, Jindal has escalated efforts and become increasingly (if delicately) critical of both BP and Obama.

Of course, this is just doing his job but, in contrast to Obama and others, he comes off well and appears to be building a reputation as somebody who deals with immediately and (hopefully this time also) effectively crises. This is entirely consistent with his emphasis on making government work better and more efficiently. When Obama visits the area this afternoon, perhaps he can take some lessons from Jindal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jeff Sadow you are professionally dishonest. Lets start with the biggest lie of the article: the crisis "began almost two weeks ago". Only a deeply delusional neocon such as yourself could block reality to believe that. This disaster was YEARS in the making. Read it and weep: "As the Wall Street Journal (hardly a liberal rag) reports, after a spill in 2000, the [fed Minerals Management Service] issued a safety notice saying that such a back-up device is 'an essential component of a deepwater drilling system.' The industry pushed back in 2001, citing alleged doubts about the capacity of this type of system to provide a reliable emergency backup. By 2003, government regulators decided that the matter needed more study after commissioning a report that offered another, more honest reason: 'acoustic systems are not recommended because they tend to be very costly.' I guess that depends on what they're compared to. The system costs about $500,000 per rig." That is, under Clinton the feds were maneuvering to ensure that all rigs has acoustic shut-off switches of the sort that could save your state, but when the anti-regulation, free-market militants such as yourself got into power under Bush, then even the smallest of inconveniences was reason to remove critical safeguards.

To be more clear, what happened during those years when we switched from infrequent, reasonable and prudent regulation to a pro-corruption, anti-regulation Bush administration? (from Wash Monthly: "What happened in those three years? Well, for one thing, the MMS in the Bush/Cheney era became one of the most corrupt government agencies in American history. The Minerals Management Service proudly embraced an anything-goes atmosphere that led to literally Caligula-like corruption and debauchery -- federal officials traded cocaine and sex for lucrative oil contracts, for example. For another, Dick Cheney's secretive energy task force concluded that $500,000 for remote shutoff was simply too great a burden, and the former V.P. and his team didn't want to force BP and other oil companies to spend the money."

Tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorists such as yourself will simply argue against all logic that BP's negligence is somehow Obama's deliberate indifference. News Flash, Jeff: Obama was not operating that oil rig, it was BP (Duh!). Your suggestion that it is somehow the conservatives (not liberals) who are prudent with the environment makes for rich humor. Most normal people would be ashamed if they shrieked "drill baby drill" just before a major drilling disaster like this. But shameless charlatans such as your self bleat it proudly from rooftops like it's the gospel.