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Obama Plugs Well His Ass With Thumb

I admit I feel a little like a bystander at the site of a burning building. A building with really cool, big-ass flames pouring out the windows. Sparks cascading to the ground. A crash of some internal beam or section of floor, causing even more spark and flame to shoot out a window, or burst out a door. A massive and ferocious red, yellow, and orange towering demon looking down at me while I smile and silently root for the fire to kick the rest of the house’s ass. Not so much because I’m anti-house as that I’m pro-fire.

I might wonder, while watching in nervous excitement as the structure slowly crumbles: did someone leave an iron on? Has anyone, for Christ’s sake, started a petition against iron manufacturers? Have any of these clowns, maybe the guys in the yellow and black coats and hats, sued the landlord yet? And is it just me, or is that a set of oily pelican footprints leading out the back door?

The pelicans may have their revenge on us, and if they can figure out how, I say go for it. But at least the birds seem to be waiting until after the disaster to execute pay-back. (Granted, they’re currently covered in oil, and presumably bird revenge requires the use of both wings.) But let me clarify the above metaphor. What I’m enjoying watching at the moment is the burning building that is Barack Obama. I know the political repercussions of this accident will fuck this country for years to come, but if Obama can issue threats against BP even before the spill is cleaned up, then goddamn it, I can point at his ineffectual ass and laugh.

Ok, let’s be honest: I’m smirking, not laughing. It is a tragedy. It was a huge, sad accident that will have sad, even tragic, consequences for thousands of people. (Just one example.) And it clearly was a tragedy for the 11 workers who died and their families. But the unfortunate thing is that it’s a much worse tragedy because of the nature of the response by the Obama administration: juvenile, inept, and authoritarian, all rolled into one.

Juvenile, because Obama presents his pouting and crying over spilt oil as a productive act on par with that of a mechanical engineer. Inept, because even his pouting is ill-timed and, purely from a practical standpoint, can only serve to add unnecessary tension and delay solutions. Authoritarian, because (giving the man the benefit of the doubt that he does want the leak to be stopped) he actually seems honestly to think his administrations’ threats will cause a 5,000-foot deep hole to be miraculously plugged. Inept, because the guy stood around with his thumb up his ass, unsurprisingly ignorant of actual reality but somewhat surprisingly ignorant of the political reality of a delayed response.  Wait, did I say “inept” already? Somebody stop me before I go back to juvenile.

(Incidentally, you have to love James Carville’s use of the phrase “really good politics” in describing the potential for political opportunism during an environmental disaster.)

Let’s see if we can advance beyond the argument that “I saw a photo of a bird covered in oil, so therefore everything said and done at the expense of BP is true and good”. If you’re sensitive to this characterization of that deformity in your brain masquerading as an idea, then great. You should be sensitive about it. Because it’s fucking nuts. (If “deformity” sounds harsh, then think of it as a rainbow-colored unicorn.) Let’s harness the powers of human abstraction and break down the situation into its component parts:

  1. An accident happened
  2. Human beings need to find a solution to the accident
  3. Human beings with an expertise in “community organizing” are not the ones who are going to be finding the solution to the accident
  4. There’ll be time enough for countin’ [legal claims] when the dealin’ [fixing the oil leak]’s done

Now, you might say that my alluding to a Kenny Rogers song entitled “The Gambler” only serves to prove your point that ferociously not blaming someone and not threatening to kick someone’s ass will only risk to drag out this accident even longer. But to that I’d have to counter with:

Q: What do you call Dolly Party doing the backstroke?

A: Islands in the Stream.

I think that about settles it.

(Is it just me, or is the image of a Dolly Parton in her prime backstroking through a little Texas tea not the worst image you’ve ever had in your head?)

Here’s the difference between me and Obama. I never implied I could fix a deep-water oil leak. But I’m not standing around with my thumb up my ass pretending I can. I’m doing something about it. (The part about the thumb.)

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2 comments

1 jill { 06.16.10 at 1:50 am }

Had he done nothing, you would complain he isnt doing enough.

2 Jason Roth { 06.16.10 at 6:09 am }

But he has done nothing, and that’s the amusing part. And he’s done two completely different types of nothing. The fist type is just plain nothing. That’s the part where he made G.W. Bush look like Usain Bolt. The second part isn’t exactly nothing, because it’s worse than nothing, but it’s “nothing” in the sense of “nothing that will plug a hole”, “nothing that will let a company with men far smarter than him fix an engineering problem”, and “nothing that will help an economy”. (This is the juvenile, inept, and authoritarian thing I was talking about, in case you were just browsing.)

Obama said in his speech last night that the one answer (to the question of how we solve our “dependence on oil”) that he will not accept is: inaction. Somebody give that motherfucker a treadmill if he needs to do something. Let the rest of us live our lives.

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