Obama Versus the Oil Spill: More Questions Than Answers

Could Obama lose in 2012 simply because of the BP oil spill?

At first glance, it does not seem possible.  But the more I’ve been thinking about it, the more it seems to only be getting worse for Obama.  Barring a miracle solution that can be credited to the administration, EPA, MMS or some other government entity, it is not likely to get better.  Whether or not its actual Obama’s responsibility is irrelevant.  The American people have always married emotional and political responsibility, for better or worse.

If American disgust continues and the appearance of helplessness persists for a year or more, could it affect Obama’s overall perception? Is it already?

Granted, when the NY Daily News writes an editorial questioning Obama’s leadership it is probably not that bothersome to the White House.  But isn’t that where it starts?  Right-wing columnists and editorials have always been against this president but when the American people are looking for a place to put their frustration, we don’t do too much research.  We blame our leaders.

On the other hand, some less serious publications like Gawker.com, don’t seem too bothered by Obama’s leadership and refer to the above concerns as faux outrage.  But what they did do, was write about Tony Hayward of BP and Barack Obama in the same article.  The more these two appear together on TV, in articles and online, the more the American people will begin to think of them as teammates.  I’m not sure Obama did a good enough distancing his administration from BP’s lackluster clean-up efforts.  Even the New Yorker isn’t sure what’s going on.

So much is being written about this mess right now that it almost doesn’t seem right to only be highlighting the politics.  Unfortunately, the politics will be what determines how Americans remember this disaster.   That is another reason that I merely wanted to throw out these hypothetical questions rather than trying to explain what Obama could or should do amidst this terrible, unforeseen crisis.

I’ll end with one last thought.

If Americans truly are outraged and looking for someone to blame, could this spark a movement? Can a well-timed environmentalist/libertarian harness the momentum of the anti-Washington Tea Party with a message of environmental protection for the future?  Seem unlikely bedfellows, to be sure.   But I don’t think that the anti-government, personal liberty types are necessarily all that pro-business, the way many Republicans are (cough, Joe Barton).   In fact, many are sportsman, farmers, and organic gardeners from rural areas in the South, Middle West and West.   I don’t expect some strange, fortuitous marriage of the Greens and Tea Partiers at least not anytime soon. At least not until the American people get really mad.


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