Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Wish Karl Rove Would Just Go Away

Did anyone happen to read Karl Rove's latest op-ed carried in today's Wall Street Journal?

I swear to God... with "friends" like Rove... those reformist individuals hoping to defeat the Democrats in November don't need any enemies....


Allow me to point to Rove's own words in order to illustrate the following:

Karl Rove Is An Idiot...!

Here... decide for yourselves... read Rove's op-ed with my commentary interspaced in italic...

As President Obama prepares to return to the Gulf Coast Friday, he is receiving increasing criticism for his handling of the oil spill. For good reason: Since the Deepwater Horizon rig blew up on April 20, a lethargic Team Obama has delayed or blown off key decisions requested by state and local governments and left British Petroleum in charge of developing a plan to cap the massive leak.

Rove is of course correct in slamming Obama for delaying key decisions requested by state and local governments, but the fact is that when it comes to which bureaucracy I'd rather trust in dealing with this disaster... the answer is clearly BP's and the private sector's.

For Christ's sake, how many times have the closest people the feds have to true experts - the Coast Guard - directly told us that the federal government doesn't have the expertise to deal with this disaster?!

Has Rove not been listening...?!?!

Now the slow-moving oil spill threatens Mr. Obama's reputation, along with 40% of America's sensitive wetlands.

So since obviously 100% safety - "no accidents ever, no way, no how" - can never be guaranteed... what's Rove calling for - an end to deep water drilling...???

Is is just me or do you too see how the environmentalist wackos (the ideological "humans are bad for the planet") could take Rove's comments and turn them on "our side?"

Critics include some of his most ardent cheerleaders, who understand that 38 days without an administration solution is unacceptable.

Obama officials have it backwards: They talk tough about BP's responsibilities but do not meet their own responsibilities under federal law. They should not have let more than a month go by without telling BP what to do.

Listen... intelligent people rightly slam Obama for not ensuring the federal government had the wherewithal to deal with the rig explosion; but at the same time - understanding that reality is what reality is - only a fool would infer that Obama should have charged ahead "giving orders" when neither he nor anyone in government has the technical expertise to know which specific actions to order...!!!

Look... I would have slammed Obama (I've been slamming Obama all along!) for presiding over a federal government that had ignored its own legal mandate to have booms stockpiled for immediate deployment. That's the legitimate initial criticism. It's an effective criticism (which is why you haven't seen it made in the MSM past the first few days of the crisis). But what Rove is doing is bypassing the legitimate and effective criticism of Obama and in its place throw out critiques that the Left can turn around on us! (Imagine this headline: "Rove Calls For Primary Federal Role in Energy Production: Government Knows Best")

And they should avoid recriminations against their partner in solving the problem until after the leak is sealed.

BP is still running tests to see if the "top kill" procedure will be effective while the U.S. government is turning the pressure on high.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar sounds whiny when he rails against BP. It didn't build confidence when his opening statement to a congressional hearing Wednesday focused on future safety and inspections requirements, and not on what the administration will do now to end the leak.

Initially, Team Obama wanted to keep this problem away from the president (a natural instinct for any White House). It took Mr. Obama 12 days to show up in the region. Democrats criticized President George W. Bush for waiting four days after Katrina to go to New Orleans.

Now the administration is intent on making it appear he has engaged all along. But this stance is undermined by lack of action. Where has its plan been? And why has the White House been so slow with decisions?

Take the containment strategy of barrier berms. These temporary sand islands block the flow of oil into fragile wetlands and marshes. Berm construction requires approval from the Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Louisiana officials asked permission on May 11. They have yet to hear back. The feds are conducting a review as oil washes ashore.

Now THIS is an effective charge... but THIS charge should be the lead - not the charge that Obama should have "taken over" from BP even though BP and the private sector are the experts - the hope - regarding stopping the leak. Rove seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth. Republicans CAN'T be seen as hypocritical on this issue! In my view Rove comes off as more a partisan hack than someone whose main focus is on dealing with the spill.

The federal government was even slower on the question of dispersants, chemicals used to break up the oil and hasten its evaporation from the surface of the water. On May 8, Louisiana sent a letter to BP and the EPA begging BP not to use dispersants below the surface of the water. Subsurface use of dispersants keeps oil slicks from forming. But when it doesn't come to the surface to evaporate, the oil lingers below, gets into underwater currents, and puts at risk fisheries that supply a third of America's seafood.

Jeezus... again... can't Rove see how an environmental wacko would be clapping his hands together in glee reading this...?!?! (If one were to follow Rove's critiques to their logical conclusion one would have to say... "Stop Drilling!")

Whose side is Rove on...?!?!?!

On May 13, EPA overruled the state and permitted BP to use dispersants 4,000 feet below the surface. Then, a week after BP released 55,000 gallons of dispersants below the surface, EPA did an about-face, ordering BP to stop using the dispersant and to "find a less-toxic" one. Louisiana officials found out about this imprecise guidance in the Washington Post. BP refused, EPA backed off, and Louisiana's concerns about their marine fisheries remain.

Again... the what logically follows from Rove's scattershot "damn the friendly fire casualties" approach is a stronger "anti-drilling" argument.

Last weekend, as winds and currents drove oil towards particularly sensitive wetlands, the state asked Washington to mobilize all available boats to deploy booms and containment devices. Federal officials didn't act. Local officials were forced to commandeer the boats. Even then some equipment went unused.

YES! THAT'S the proper line of attack...!!!

State officials believe their federal counterparts don't have a handle on the resources being deployed and are constantly overestimating the amount of booms, containment equipment, and boats being used.


Could this be Mr. Obama's Katrina?

Sounds defensive. Rather than weaken Obama, such naked partisan attacks backfire by reminding voters of Bush's perceived incompetence.

It could be even worse. The federal response to Katrina was governed by the 1988 Stafford Act, which says that in natural disasters on-shore states are in charge, not Washington. The federal obligation is to "support . . . State and local assistance efforts" by providing whatever resources a governor requests and then writing big checks for the cleanup. Mr. Bush had to deal with a Louisiana governor and a New Orleans mayor who were, by federal law, in charge.

But BP's well was drilled in federal waters. Washington, not Louisiana, is in charge. This is Mr. Obama's responsibility. He says his administration has been prepared for the worst from the start. Mr. Obama's failure to lead in cleaning up the spill could lead voters to echo his complaint in Katrina's aftermath: "I wish that the federal government had been up to the task."

Again... THIS is the CORRECT line of attack. The rest is simply counterproductive.


William R. Barker said...

* TWO-PARTER... (Part 1 of 2)

File Under: "Great Minds Think Alike"

QUOTING KIM STRASSEL of the WSJ as published in today's WSJ --

With oil now lapping the Louisiana shore, a political oil panic is beginning to wash over the GOP. Somewhere, Rahm Emanuel is wondering if the Gulf spill is another crisis he won't have to let go to waste.

Start with Sarah Palin, who spent most of 2008 rapping Democrats for not being more supportive of domestic energy production, only to turn around and suggest President Obama was in bed with Big Oil. The argument seems to be that anyone who accepts oil contributions must be in favor of oil spills.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski rushed to back Interior Secretary's Ken Salazar's comment about putting his "boot on the neck" of BP, lecturing anyone not "angry" about the accident as lacking in "emotion." Louisiana Sen. David Vitter jumped into a debate over the liability cap. Democrats proposed an arbitrary $10 billion; Mr. Vitter countered with an arbitrary four quarters of company profit. This allowed Democrats to accuse the GOP of flacking for Big Oil.


Yes, the politics of this are tricky for the GOP. ... Yet grandstanding is rarely smart politics.

Republicans have invested too many years supporting responsible energy development to now sound believable bashing the industry. And as the Vitter episode shows, there is little gained in engaging Democrats in legislative one-upmanship. In a competition over who is more irrationally "tough" on Big Oil, Republicans will not win.

As for conservatives who think there is black gold in politicizing this (Mrs. Palin), think again.


* To be continued...

William R. Barker said...

* CONTINUING... (Part 2 of 2)

Right now the story line is President Obama versus the Oil Spill, and that hurts him. Those hurling accusations threaten to turn it into President Obama versus the GOP, a fight the White House would prefer. Beltway politicking during a crisis just annoys the public.


What some Republicans are really risking is future energy development, and their role managing it. Oil slick or no, our energy needs remain the same. Americans get that, which is why even amid 24/7 slick coverage a CNN poll found a majority still supports offshore drilling. That number will rise with gas prices.


The Left is already using this to impose the restrictions it has long desired. President Obama yesterday said he'd continue a deep water moratorium and announced a suspension in new Arctic drilling. That's surely just a start. And Republicans currently saying the industry doesn't know its business will be hard pressed to complain.


The real worry is that Republicans are making themselves vulnerable to Mr. Obama's last big agenda item: cap and tax. The president has never made secret his desire to replace cheap and sure fossil fuels with expensive and unreliable energy sources. Up to now the GOP has offered good opposition.

Yet not wanting any crisis to go to waste, Mr. Obama has been out beating the industry and arguing the spill backs his call for climate legislation. This is a repeat of financial regulation, an attempt to force Republicans to either go along or get slammed for siding with Wall Street (in this case Big Oil). The more Republicans join the drill bash, the more opportunity Mr. Obama has to peel off votes.

If the GOP is looking for a political role model, they might try Sen. Mary Landrieu. The Louisiana Democrat has been a beacon of calm and sense. She's stayed focused on the immediate, avoided early accusations, and tried to keep the accident in perspective. At a recent Senate Environment hearing she summed it up neatly.

"I know that this committee has its eyes on the environment. We in Louisiana . . . not only have our eyes on it, we have our heart invested in it and we are making a living on that delta. But we need the oil that comes from offshore to keep this economy moving. We must examine what went wrong, weigh the risk and rewards, fix what is broken and move on . . . If we could do without this oil, we would. But we simply cannot—not today, not in the near future."

How principled. How refreshing.

* AMEN...