'LACKADAISICAL AND NAIVE'
The headlines today from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ convey a message that I am hearing from friends and colleagues in the Gulf area.
Unless President Obama takes a more active and aggressive role in the Gulf oil spill, I believe this will in fact be his Katrina. Worse still, it may be even more cataclysmic than Katrina. No one knows the extent of this oil spill, when the spill may be stopped or how much oil is out there. Its effects may be felt along thousands and thousands of miles of our coast.
James Carville Takes On Obama On Oil Spill: He's 'Risking Everything' With 'Go Along With BP Strategy'
Democratic strategist James Carville and MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews, two reliable supporters of President Barack Obama, have issued withering critiques of the administration's handling of the Gulf oil spill.
Carville, the famously outspoken Louisianian who was a chief political aide to Bill and Hillary Clinton, told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday that the administration's response to the spill has been "lackadaisical" and that Obama was "naive" to trust BP to manage the massive clean-up effort.
"I think they actually believe that BP has some kind of a good motivation here," he said. "They're naive! BP is trying to save money, save everything they can... They won't tell us anything, and oddly enough, the government seems to be going along with it! Somebody has got to, like shake them and say, 'These people don't wish you well! They're going to take you down!'"
Carville also accused the White House of going along with what he called the "let BP handle it" strategy.
Likewise, Chris Matthews argued during a "Tonight Show" appearance that the President was to "acting a little like a Vatican Observer."
"The President scares me," he said. "When is he actually going to do something? And I worry; I know he doesn't want to take ownership of it. I know politics. He said the minute he says, 'I'm in charge,' he takes the blame, but somebody has to. It's in our interest."
Until now, the vast bulk of clean-up responsibilities have been left to BP, which isn't much closer to capping the oil leak now than it was weeks ago. The oil has already affected nearly 50 miles of sensitive marshlands on the Louisiana coastline, according to estimates by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and federal authorities have increased the no-fishing zone to 45,728 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico.
BP has consistently downplayed the severity of the spill despite growing evidence that suggests otherwise, and their strategy to clean up the spill has involved the use of a toxic chemical dispersant that EPA officials warn may cause lasting damage to coastal ecosystems.
The EPA has now given BP 24 hours to begin using a less toxic dispersant, but Carville says the government's primary failure was trusting BP to handle the clean-up in the first place.
"Right now I wouldn't trust BP to do anything," he said. "And nobody does."