TIM WILDMON: Maybe Obama will learn some humility from oil spill crisis

“President Obama will keep the broken promises made by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. He and Vice President Biden will take steps to ensure that the federal government will never again allow such catastrophic failures in emergency planning and response to occur.”
The above quote – one of prideful boasting – appeared on the White House website the day President Barack Obama was sworn into office. He just had to kick Bush in the teeth one more time after moving into the White House. Ironic, to say the least, that the American public now views Obama’s handling of the BP oil spill crisis even worse than they did President George W. Bush’s handling of the Hurricane Katrina crisis. His denouncing of Bush has now come back to bite him in the rear end.
A month and a half after the spill began, 69 percent of Americans surveyed in a new ABC/ Washington Post poll rated the federal government’s (Obama) response negatively. That compares with a 62 percent negative rating for the federal government (Bush) two weeks after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August of 2005.
Not so easy, this president thing.
President Obama judged President Bush harshly and now he is being judged by that same standard. What the man needs is a little class and some humility.
Dereliction of duty
As unbelievable as it sounds, we are nearly two months into the worst ecological disaster in the history of our country and, at the time of this writing, Obama has not had one, not the first conversation, with BP CEO Tony Heyward. That is a dereliction of duty. So you have time to be serenaded by Paul McCartney at a private White House concert – but you don’t have time to pick up the phone and talk to the CEO of BP? This is inexcusable.
In June 2008, when it was becoming clear that then candidate Obama would stun the world and win the Democratic Party’s nomination over Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama said the following in a speech:
“I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
Wow! Now I have heard politicians blow their own horns many times, but never have I heard a man speak in such messianic terms about himself. Oceans receding upon the news of Obama’s election? The sick being cared for, for the first time in American history, I guess? And the planet beginning to heal with the Obama presidency? And all this was to happen even before he beat John McCain. Amazing! (The job thing, well, he will get back to us later on that one.)
Talk about a man setting himself up for a fall.
Nanny-state liberalism
Let me digress to the quote slamming President Bush about “broken promises” to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast post Katrina. I personally don’t remember Bush making those kinds of promises, but if he did that was plain foolishness. It isn’t a president’s job to “rebuild” New Orleans or the Gulf Coast. The whole premise of the criticism against Bush by Obama on this one is ridiculous. This is the kind of thinking you get from big government liberalism: The nanny-state idea that Washington, D.C., is responsible for taking care of everybody’s problems. While the federal government can offer some assistance, the job of rebuilding New Orleans is for the people of New Orleans. There is an ever present risk you run when you build a city under sea level.
The people of New Orleans knew for 40 years that if a major hurricane hit their city, the levees could break and they would be under water. Then when it actually happens, it’s all of a sudden George Bush’s job to save everybody and solve every problem associated with the largest natural disaster in American history? Give me a break.
In all fairness, much of what has happened with this massive gulf oil spill is out of the control of the president, just as what happened with Hurricane Katrina was out of the control of President Bush. But Obama and the liberals gave no quarter and had no sympathy for Bush’s situation there. They just piled on unfairly and unmercifully for political points. But maybe Barack Obama can learn a lesson about humility through this national nightmare. I hope we see some evidence of that soon. Confidence, assurance and a positive attitude are good characteristics. We need that in a president. But arrogance, cockiness and pride are destructive to anyone or any cause.

Tim Wildmon, a Baldwyn resident, writes as a community columnist. He is president of the American Family Association, but his opinions do not necessarily represent the views of AFA, unless noted. Contact him at twildmon@afa.net.

Tim Wildmon