Is the BP oil spill "Obama's Katrina"? Yes, say conservative pundits such as Rush Limbaugh, who's slammed what he considers the administration's sluggish reaction to the environmental disaster — echoing criticisms levelled at President Bush after Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana in 2005. Though The New York Times is also reporting that the Obama administration missed early chances to tackle the disaster, are Katrina parallels justified? (Watch a CNN report about the "Obama's Katrina" debate)
Obama was as unprepared as Bush was: Every flack in the White House was "deployed to squelch comparisons" to Katrina, says John Fund in The Wall Street Journal, but where was the actual oil-fighting technology? Despite the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, reportedly "the federal government didn't have a single fire boom on hand in the Gulf to enable a controlled burn of the oil slick...."
"Another fine mess"
The comparisons are just political attacks: "Unlike Katrina," says Colby Hall at Mediaite, "the scale of this was not immediately knowable." Initial reports suggested the "leak was relatively small," and the administration ramped up its efforts as the oil spill grew. Comparing this to Katrina "reveals more of a political agenda than a fair or astute analysis."
"The Gulf oil spill isn't Obama's Katrina. It's the media's"
It's no Katrina, but Obama reacted poorly: We can't call this "Katrina: the sequel" just yet, says David Frum at Frum Forum. "But it's fair to start asking questions." The administration played down the seriousness of the leak, and claimed prematurely that it was under control. If authorities are "desperate to avoid the incompetence rap," this lack of straightforwardness isn't helping.
Actually, it's Obama's Three Mile Island: The Katrina "meme" is idiotic, says Elrod at The Moderate Voice. A more apt comparison may be with Three Mile Island, the nuclear disaster that similarly involved "controversial modes of domestic energy production" and ended with "enormous policy consequences." Offshore drilling may go the way of nuclear power, putting us "back to square one" on energy policy.
"Obama's Three Mile Island... not Katrina"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Don't argue about politics this Thanksgiving. Just don't.
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- Ferguson riots were terrible — but this racist reaction was worse
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How to survive a spaceship disaster
Subscribe to the Week