Maybe it's because he failed to act to clean house in the agencies that should have prevented this disaster, particularly MMS. And the fact that he didn't even know whether the head of the failed agency resigned or was fired-- well, I'm guessing someone who should have told him will no longer have a job with home soon enough. Certainly, Ken Salazar, who is way too friendly with big oil, should be fired.
The problem is, this is the worst manmade ecological catastrophe the US has ever faced and Obama has failed to show we the people that he gets that. His words didn't come close to doing that. His actions, well, they are like his personality-- steady, even-- when we need dramatic, big and strong.
Strong!. Maybe that's it. Obama has always come across as steady, with incredible equanimity. That character strength played well in the election and surely helped him defeat emotional pipsqueaks McCain and Palin. But now Obama comes up short. He is not looking strong when the EPA backs down from its order to BP to stop using a toxic dispersant. He does not look strong when he fails to tap the strengths and resources of our military. He does not look strong when he is not aware of what key government agency heads are doing or when they are leaving.
This is not all his fault. While Obama's image in the Louisiana has gone into meltdown mode, his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has been off the reservation, spending at least the past few days in Israel, where he's having his sons Bar Mitzvah and generating major anti-Obama press coverage.
A Bar Mitzvah is a traditional rite of passage from childhood to adulthood. It looks like the BP gulf leak may be Obama's rite of passage. Rites of passage are tests that must be passed. In aboriginal cultures young men going throught their rite of passage are sometimes sent off into the forest to survive on their own. It appears that Obama's advisors have done the same to the president.
Consider how his visit yesterday was apparently used by BP, where they threw a mass of clean-up workers at a stretch of beach that had not seen them before. Regardless of reality, this looks bad, looks like crude, naked PR manipulation. It does not look like a president in control-- not that PR should be first on Obama's mind in the face of a catastrophe, but considereing how bad he's doing in the PR realm, it is disconcerting to see such sloppy work by the people who should be maintaining a presidential image the nation can be confident. It's part of the work of the White House administration.
I want to see Obama succeed, as best is possible, considering his weak start, in facing the gulf oil crisis. He lost ground the past few days. There are so many things he could be doing and could have done. I wrote about them in my article, Dear President Obama: Steps You Must Take to Prevent BP Oil Disaster From Making You A One Term President
He did some of them in his first press conference in ten month, this past Thursday. But there is so much more he could be doing and declaring that he is doing.
President Obama is in trouble. He failed America these first 40 days since the Gulf Eco-Catastrophe began. Even if he had done everything right, which he has not, he failed to maintain the American people's faith in him as a leader. I'm not sure he can recover that faith, but it will take strong actions, including purging failed agency heads and staffers in both environmental protection agencies and within the White House administration. It's amazing that Democratic members of congress aren't in an uproar. His failures so far will hurt them in November. Then again, they can't even pass legislation eliminating limits on BPs and all other corporations' liabilities.