Thursday, June 24, 2010

'God help us all'

Before hurricane season is over, chances are some part of the oil-fouled Gulf coastline is going to get whacked.

And when it does, a whole heapin' helpin' of toxic slop is going to go far inland.

I COULDN'T tell you how far inland in places like this -- northwest Florida. But I can tell you the oil could get way far "inland" in Louisiana.

AND IF -- when -- it does, we have no idea of the hell that's going to be unleashed in every possible way all hell can break loose.

President Obama must be clueless. A sane man, in possession of a clue, wouldn't be handling this mess as Obama has thus far.

He wouldn't be this lackadaisical on skimming the glop on the open water, as opposed to letting it get into marshes and estuaries.

AND HIS administration wouldn't be throwing roadblock after roadblock in front of local officials trying to do something to block the oil, even if it's of questionable value.

Certainly, a sane chief executive wouldn't be shutting down what's left of the economy of a battered state with a draconian deepwater-drilling "moratorium" that a scientific panel never recommended. No one -- aside from, perhaps, certain libertarian nutwagons -- is advocating anything less than strict federal oversight of ongoing and future drilling, something the Obama Administration was less than rigorous about before . . .
well . . . you know.

But this moratorium? Further crippling an already crippled economy?
In the middle of the Great Recession?

How does one go from almost Bushian levels of regulatory indifference to an outright ban so quickly, with so little regard for the economic and human toll?

THEN AGAIN, if people can get used to oily beaches enough that they let their kids play in the "tar balls" -- get used enough that they just pack Goo Gone in their beach bag, just like tanning lotion and Off -- maybe all the president's men figure folks along the Gulf coast will adjust to abject poverty amid a toxic "new normal" and won't make much trouble for Obama.

Or maybe the very legitimacy of the U.S. government -- one in the process of being exposed as both feckless
and uncaring -- will be challenged in ways we haven't allowed ourselves to imagine since 1865.

As the guy on Pensacola Beach said yesterday, "God help us all."

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