NY Times Names BP Oil Spill Obama’s 9/11

No. Seriously. Thomas Friedman actually goes there: Obama And The Oil Spill

President Obama’s handling of the gulf oil spill has been disappointing.

I say that not because I endorse the dishonest conservative critique that the gulf oil spill is somehow Obama’s Katrina and that he is displaying the same kind of incompetence that George W. Bush did after that hurricane. To the contrary, Obama’s team has done a good job coordinating the cleanup so far. The president has been on top of it from the start.

If the start is well over a week later before it was even addressed in the Real World, as opposed to the talk point of “day one” supported in ObamaLand. Here we go:

No, the gulf oil spill is not Obama’s Katrina. It’s his 9/11 – and it is disappointing to see him making the same mistake George W. Bush made with his 9/11. Sept. 11, 2001, was one of those rare seismic events that create the possibility to energize the country to do something really important and lasting that is too hard to do in normal times.

He did. He energized us to band together in those tough times. He said “no more, we are going after the terrorists, wherever they are.” Unfortunately, you libs waited two weeks before deciding you would become unhinged…..oh, you were talking about something else, Tom?

President Bush’s greatest failure was not Iraq, Afghanistan or Katrina. It was his failure of imagination after 9/11 to mobilize the country to get behind a really big initiative for nation-building in America. I suggested a $1-a-gallon “Patriot Tax” on gasoline that could have simultaneously reduced our deficit, funded basic science research, diminished our dependence on oil imported from the very countries whose citizens carried out 9/11, strengthened the dollar, stimulated energy efficiency and renewable power and slowed climate change. It was the Texas oilman’s Nixon-to-China moment – and Bush blew it.

You have to love it: America was hit with a massive terrorist attack, 2,996 of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones died, and a liberal immediately thinks to……raise taxes! And, of course, no mention of drilling for oil on our own lands.

So, what should Obama do with “his 9/11” (it disgusts me to even contemplate putting it Friedman’s way)

Sadly, President Obama seems intent on squandering his environmental 9/11 with a Bush-level failure of imagination. So far, the Obama policy is: “Think small and carry a big stick.” He is rightly hammering the oil company executives. But he is offering no big strategy to end our oil addiction. Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman have unveiled their new energy bill, which the president has endorsed but only in a very tepid way. Why tepid? Because Kerry-Lieberman embraces vitally important fees on carbon emissions that the White House is afraid will be exploited by Republicans in the midterm elections. The G.O.P., they fear, will scream carbon “tax” at every Democrat who would support this bill, and Obama, having already asked Democrats to make a hard vote on health care, feels he can’t ask them for another.

Guffaw! The answer to “his environmental 9/11” (I feel dirty) is not “get the oil spill stopped and cleaned up” but “pass the climate change bill.” You know, the one that will increase the cost of everything, both directly and indirectly. I love how they call it an energy bill, when the majority of the bullet points in the deck are about a carbon tax.

I don’t buy it. In the wake of this historic oil spill, the right policy – a bill to help end our addiction to oil – is also the right politics. The people are ahead of their politicians. So is the U.S. military. There are many conservatives who would embrace a carbon tax or gasoline tax if it was offset by a cut in payroll taxes or corporate taxes, so we could foster new jobs and clean air at the same time. If Republicans label Democrats “gas taxers” then Democrats should label them “Conservatives for OPEC” or “Friends of BP.” Shill, baby, shill.

I notice you failed to mention that Obama was the single biggest recipient of money from BP, Tom. Why is that? Anyhow, if you raise a tax on one thing, but lower it elsewhere, doesn’t that mean a net of $0? Only in Liberal World does it mean an increase in money.

Please don’t tell us that our role is just to hate BP or shop in Mississippi or wait for a commission to investigate. We know the problem, and Americans are ready to be enlisted for a solution. Of course we can’t eliminate oil exploration or dependence overnight, but can we finally start? Mr. President, your advisers are wrong: Americans are craving your leadership on this issue. Are you going to channel their good will into something that strengthens our country – “The Obama End to Oil Addiction Act” – or are you going squander your 9/11, too?

It is not his 9/11. While, sadly, 11 people died, and certainly much wildlife will die, along with polluted shorelines, this isn’t even in the same league. More like high school baseball versus the MLB.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach

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