05/27/2010 02:31 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Obama's Katrina

Thinking before doing is one of Barack Obama's strengths, but not in this oil crisis. The President's famously deliberative style has not served him well.

When an uncontrollable gusher of this magnitude threatens the economy and ecosystem of an entire region, it's not enough for Obama to essentially adopt a wait-and-see stance in letting the oil industry tinker and experiment in vain.

Obama is an odd mixture of an activist, yet slow to act, president. Even in his signature achievement so far -- overhauling health care -- he let Congress dither for nearly a year until finally making clear exactly what he wanted.

The President's pattern is to swoop in at the last minute and close the deal. He's good at it.

But sometimes presidents cannot wait to see what everyone else thinks and does before acting. When it comes to the Gulf region in environmental chaos, we needed a starter, not a closer.

Also on Craig's blog: Obama faces a meltdown akin to the unraveling of his predecessor.