Maybe we should just call it “Katrina-slick-gate”

April 30, 2010


Is “Katrina” the “gate” of the 2000s?

The 1972 Watergate break-in spawned an army of “gates,” as the expression “whatever-gate” became shorthand for any political scandal. The subsequent decades saw “Travelgate,”  “Irangate,” “Nannygate, “Whitewatergate” and a host of other major and minor political improprieties.

Almost 40 years later, “Katrina” has become popular political shorthand representing the slow response to a disaster, a nod toward the aftermath of  the devastating 2005 hurricane in New Orleans by then-President George W. Bush. The perception that the Republican president cared too little about the people of New Orleans to respond quickly to a hurricane that killed some 1,800 Americans was devastating to his public image, and hurt his party in the 2008 election that brought Democratic President Barack Obama to power.

Pundits have been waiting for “Obama’s Katrina” almost since he took office in 2009.

This week, the White House is facing critics who say that a massive BP Plc oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico deserves the title. The White House dismissed the thought, and denied it was slow to respond to the spill, which took place after an explosion on a drilling platform that left 11 workers missing and presumed dead.

Earlier this year, there was speculation that Haiti’s devastating earthquake — which killed up to 300,000 people and destroyed much of the infrastructure in the hemisphere’s poorest country — would be his Katrina. In fact, Obama was praised for his quick and significant response.

Last year, there was speculation that the H1N1 swine flu outbreak would be Obama’s Katrina, as medical experts warned that the disease could become a pandemic that could claim millions of lives. In the end, the outbreak was not as severe as feared.

Other potential candidates for the Katrina mantle have been the botched “underwear bomber” attack on a Detroit-bound jetliner at Christmas; the killings of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, in November; persistently high U.S. joblessness — still hovering just below 10 percent — and more generally, the overall U.S. economy.

So far, none of the so-called Obama “Katrina moments” have stuck.

Will this one?

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Photo credit: An oil slick is pictured off the Louisiana coast, in this Terra satellite image taken on April 29, 2010 and obtained April 30. The huge spreading oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico washed up to coastal Louisiana wildlife and seafood areas on Friday and the U.S. government and military struggled to avert what could become one of the nation’s worst ecological disasters. The Venice, Louisiana peninsula is visible at left. REUTERS/NASA/Handout


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The above-cited examples don’t involve much potential culpability on the O-Man’s part, but the fact remains that the first black President cannot, must not, will not be allowed to be seen as anything less than a success. Racial progress demands it.

If brother Nagin’s feebleminded ineptitude during Katrina could be ignored, not simply by the MSM, but by the citizens of NOLA who actually returned said clown to office, then I’m afraid anything is possible.

Posted by Mega | Report as abusive

Amazing that some fools actually try to blame the State and City for failures during Katrina when Bush was and still is to blame, because he spent several years crippling the FEDERAL Government’s ability to respond forcefully and quickly to major disasters like Katrina but cutting budgets and eliminating FEMA’s independence and merging it with Homeland Security.

The Federal Govt. is responsible for response and recovery involving major disasters like Katrina, NOT local or state neither of which have the resources to handle such things.

Yet the right wing lie and hate machine keeps pumping out the same old garbage hoping that if they say it enough times people will forget the truth and that is their anti-government ideology is to blame for crippling government and making it unable to do its job well.

Posted by jonathanseer | Report as abusive

Reuters check this out.
I heard from someone that has good fiends at the top of British Petroleum, the plan to drill a parallel oil well cannot be done with the existing ships that are available. They are in fact too small. The ship that was drilling the well and sank was the Titanic of off shore drill ships. Please take the ball and run with it, Reuters!

Posted by Bellingham | Report as abusive

It is the largest deepwater semi that Transocean owns, and the only one that could work at that depth. They do have ships that can work that deep, but I don’t know if they are stable enough to do the job. I believe that there are larger rigs out there now, but they would have to rent them.
My question is, why do they have to drill 10,000ft underground to plug the well? Wouldn’t intersecting the well just under the seafloor do the job?

Posted by Potatoe1 | Report as abusive

Correction, they have many that can work in water that deep and drill to that depth. It was the onhly one they had that could work in 10,000ft of water, but this is only 5000Ft.

Posted by Potatoe1 | Report as abusive

How many opportunities were lost to make the spill far less severe while BP was figuring out how to salvage their investment?

Posted by JaylikeBird | Report as abusive