President Obama delivered remarks in Venice, LA today after touring the Gulf Coast area and getting a look at the BP Oil Spill. While the right wing media has been portraying this event as Obama’s Katrina, the president showed the type of leadership that was missing from the GOP after Hurricane Katrina, “Your government will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to stop this crisis.” Obama sure isn’t W.
Here is the video of Obama’s remarks via The Washington Post:
Obama said, “So I want to emphasize, from day one we have prepared and planned for the worst, even as we hoped for the best. And while we have prepared and reacted aggressively, I’m not going to rest — and none of the gentlemen and women who are here are going to rest — or be satisfied until the leak is stopped at the source, the oil on the Gulf is contained and cleaned up, and the people of this region are able to go back to their lives and their livelihoods.”
The President also stressed an air of cooperation that was missing during the bungling of the response to Katrina, “I also want to stress that we are working closely with the Gulf states and local communities to help every American affected by this crisis. Let me be clear: BP is responsible for this leak; BP will be paying the bill. But as President of the United States, I’m going to spare no effort to respond to this crisis for as long as it continues. And we will spare no resource to clean up whatever damage is caused. And while there will be time to fully investigate what happened on that rig and hold responsible parties accountable, our focus now is on a fully coordinated, relentless response effort to stop the leak and prevent more damage to the Gulf.”
He committed himself and the federal government to the region, “But every American affected by this spill should know this: Your government will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to stop this crisis. This is one of the richest and most beautiful ecosystems on the planet, and for centuries its residents have enjoyed and made a living off the fish that swim in these waters and the wildlife that inhabit these shores. This is also the heartbeat of the region’s economic life. And we’re going to do everything in our power to protect our natural resources, compensate those who have been harmed, rebuild what has been damaged, and help this region persevere like it has done so many times before. That’s a commitment I’m making as President of the United States, and I know that everybody who works for the federal government feels the exact same way.”
Compare Obama’s response to the fact that George W. Bush did not even break off his vacation and return to Washington until almost two days after Katrina struck. Bush was on vacation for almost two days while his own people were suffering and dying. The Bush administration’s response, much like Nagin and Blanco’s was to claim that they didn’t know that the levees would overflow, but video surfaced of Bush being warned that the levees would overflow, but yet he did nothing. The point is not to solely blame George W. Bush for Katrina. Nagin and Blanco also bear responsibility, but if the discussion is about leadership, Obama blows the GOP away.
On his trip to the Gulf, Obama demonstrated true presidential leadership that goes against the right wing characterization of him as a weak leader. The BP oil spill is not Obama’s Katrina, because his administration had already responded better to the crisis, that the Republicans ever could. America had eight years, and countless examples of what passes for Republican leadership. It is a comforting thought to know that federal government is back in competent hands.