05/24/2010 10:22 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Democrats Are Supposed to Know How to Use Government in a Crisis


There is simply no excuse after 30 days for the Obama administration to show such incompetence in managing the Gulf Oil catastrophe. President Obama seems aloof, uninvolved, with the White House more upset about reporters asking tough questions than anything else. That the Administration is still going full speed ahead on oil drilling even with evidence that oil companies aren't prepared for the exploring they're doing is irresponsible. From the New York Times:

In the days since President Obama announced a moratorium on permits for drilling new offshore oil wells and a halt to a controversial type of environmental waiver that was given to the Deepwater Horizon rig, at least seven new permits for various types of drilling and five environmental waivers have been granted, according to records.

The records also indicate that since the April 20 explosion on the rig, federal regulators have granted at least 19 environmental waivers for gulf drilling projects and at least 17 drilling permits, most of which were for types of work like that on the Deepwater Horizon shortly before it exploded, pouring a ceaseless current of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

At least the White House is moving from whining to the press about pesky questions to having Thad Allen in the briefing today with Robert Gibbs.

The real issue is that this isn't what we expect from Democrats.

Obama ran for president and he's the manager in chief of the Gulf Oil catastrophe whether he likes it or not. He needs to start acting like he's in charge and illustrate that Democrats actually know what government's purpose is.

We expect Republicans to be incompetent when in charge, because they don't like government, want to starve it out of existence, and don't respect its purpose. So when they attempt to lead they stumble over themselves and end up making matters worse.

Democrats are supposed to know government's role, respect the force of what it can do and launch it into action using all means necessary when a national security crisis meets an environmental and economic one. President Obama has not shown that he knows what he's doing, which is a depressing a sight to witness. It's a Democrat revealing incompetence I've come to expect of Republicans.

It's true Barack Obama received significant campaign funds from BP. His decision to allow BP to control their volcanic spill at the beginning was correct. It passed that point two weeks ago.

The politics of this are the least of it, so hearing the princess of "drill, baby, drill," Sarah Palin talk about Obama's "connection with the contributions" with big oil like Republicans and Palin herself aren't the political poster children of big oil strains credulity.

Palin's comments would be hilarious if this whole situation hadn't long ago passed the political stage into wondering what we're paying taxes for if the federal government, especially under the auspices of a Democratic majority, can't get its act together to save one of our most valuable assets, the Gulf Coast.

Democrats are supposed to know how to use government power in a crisis to help the people. It's depressing to watch them flounder like inept Republicans.

Perhaps if I put it in military terms people would get it. This is a national security issue. The economics and environmental costs will be calamitous for one of our most precious regions, already suffering, further straining our economy. We are at war against the evil oil volcano that BP has imploded off our shores. We're at DefCon 1, people. All hands on deck.

Taylor Marsh is a political analyst out of Washington, D.C.