Home National Politics Required Reading: “The Spill, The Scandal and the President”

Required Reading: “The Spill, The Scandal and the President”


(So true. – promoted by lowkell)

Today’s required reading is Tim Dickinson’s “The Spill, The Scandal and the President” in RollingStone magazine.  Dickinson takes the Obama administration to task for its failures in connection with the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico at some length and in great detail.  What is more important is that Dickinson gets it right.

Right wing pundits have been looking for ways to use this story to damage Obama politically, calling it “Obama’s Katrina.”  There is a lot to criticize about Obama’s role in the BP disaster, but almost nothing for Republicans to exploit.  You see, the thing that Obama did wrong, the moment where he made his greatest mistake, was when he failed to go after Republican-era policies that set the stage for this disaster.  Republicans can’t really go after Obama on this issue, because if they do it only exposes how corrupt and irresponsible Republicans were in the Bush-Cheney years.

Barack Obama’s great, fatal mistake was that he didn’t move fast enough or do nearly enough to reverse the corruption and incompetence of the Bush regime.  Republicans are going to have a hard time exploiting that.  After all, what are they supposed to say?  Are they supposed to criticize Obama for not prosecuting enough Republicans?

That’s not to say that Obama shouldn’t be criticized: he should, but from the Left.  Not only has Barack Obama not done enough to undo the corruption at MMS, he hasn’t done enough to address corruption left over from the Bush administration throughout the federal government.  Far too many Bush appointtees were left in place by the incoming Obama administration.  

There are going to be other disasters in the Obama administration, perhaps some as large as the BP oil spill, because Barack Obama has not done enough to deliver the reform he promised.  This doesn’t mean that we let the country go back to the Republican Party.  The Republican Party and its Culture of Corruption is the basis for most of what is wrong in our country today.  What this means is that we have to lean on the Obama administration to deliver real reform and weed out the Bush administration’s holdovers before they cause more disasters.

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    You are absolutely correct in the assessment that the “Republican Party and the Culture of Corruption” is the basis for much of what is wrong today. If voters simply “throw the bums out” in November, they will return control to a party that has been captured by even more reactionary forces than before.

    The left needs to find its narrative and learn how to apply the sort of pressure that the far right is so adept in. This year’s primary season saw that beginning to happen.

    The terrible difficulty today – to me at least – is the almost impossibility of getting the progressive message out through the corporate news media, that and the fact that the average American is clueless about the political process.

  • KathyinBlacksburg

    article makes the crucial point: Terrible GOP stewardship has caused most of the problems we are facing. They have had control most of the past sixty years, and the story is always the same: tax cut and spend; deregulation; foxes guarding the henhouse; privatize US infrastructure; exploit human beings; and (since 1980) put Ronald Reagan’s name on everything.

    What the Gulf shows is that Cheney-ism not only doesn’t work, but is devastating. If only Liz, the daughter, would stifle herself. Thankfully, the father has slinked off into the shadows (at least for now).

  • Teddy Goodson

    is not just that Republican Culture of Corruption created nearly every mess and disaster of today, true as that may be.

    It has to include a positive, more advanced economic-political philosophy to replace the failed free market philosophy which has had its grip on both political parties for three generations. THAT is the change I was looking for from Obama, and that is what has been missing from the get-go of his administration. If any ass has to be kicked it has to be his, because he failed to follow through on his rhetoric.

    Until the Democrats find the guts to attack and dismantle the secular religion of free market capitalism, absolutely no real reform will take place, capitalism unreformed will continue its sickening decay into corporate feudalism, and the Democrats will be punished at the ballot box by a feckless, uneducated, querolous gang of voters.  

  • TomPaine

    that incoming Republican Administrations (Nixon and Reagan), unlike the Democrats, always could count on a Republican burrowed into a high level career civil service position and a Republican political hatchet-man assigned (at least in the three social service agencies in which I served) to identify Democratic or liberal leaning career persons and find ways to eliminate or relocate them from positions of authority via reorganizations, reductions-in-force or undesireable geographical or functional area reassignments. This was particularly true for high level career employees under the Senior Executive Service provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1977. In two different agencies where I was Director of Human Resources, the same Republican hatchet-man showed up in both 1969 and 1981.  

  • Shenandoah Democrat

    take the time to check out how MMS needs to change-


  • walkabout

    and say that Obama has and uses the bully pulpit very well.  I don’t understand why he hasn’t used it more effectively around cleaning up the staffing messes that were left in-house by the Bush Administration.  If he can speak about other messes, why not this one?  Further, when he selected Salazar I doubted that the Interior Department was going to get cleaned up.  After all the reports that came out about the time Bush left office that he had loaded EPA and Interior  with his kind and that MMS was loaded with unethical types, where were Salazar and Obama?  Now we know even more about West Virginia mines, gas lines and oil wells that haven’t been adequately regulated and monitored.  How many more people have to die and wildlife and natural areas destroyed to get the bully pulpit fired up and ready to go?