Right before our eyes, Barack Obama appears to be morphing into his fellow Harvard alum, George W. Bush. The dramatic oil spill that is threatening to destroy the Gulf of Mexico has surely become Obama’s Katrina. There’s still time for the president to handle his Katrina better than Bush handled his own, but this disaster could be a more devastating and complex challenge.
Now that Obama is stuck with this mess and trying to find his way out of it, perhaps some simple advice might help him navigate a disaster of unprecedented magnitude. The goal of the Obama administration should not be to emerge from this situation looking good, that’s simply not possible. It’s really a matter of minimizing the massive political damage that the administration is going to endure. Without pride or prejudice, I’ll lay out four ways that President Obama can handle this crisis. I must forewarn you – Some of these solutions are tacky and controversial, but necessary:
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1) Find a fall guy (as many as possible): Right now, the American people have two organizations they can choose to blame for this crisis – BP or the Obama administration. Obama must weed out the bad apples to give the perception of a competent administration going forward. Obama made the right decision to fire the head of the Minerals Management Service, but that’s not going to be enough. He also needs to fire someone else and make systemic changes to the entire Department of the Interior. Ken Salazar anyone?
2) Become a certified tree-hugger: Obama needs to show those on his left that he is truly committed to protecting the environment. By tap dancing with those who are determined to destroy our shores, Obama is disappointing the people who got him into office. A recent USA Today/Gallup poll showed that 55 percent of Americans favor protecting the environment, even if it means that we have less access to energy. A sickly, oil-soaked pelican on Anderson Cooper 360 doesn’t look good to anyone, no matter how much they love going to the gas station. Obama would do well to heed the results of this poll.