Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Obama Again Fiddles in California as Gulf Coast Burns over Inaction on Oil Spill


It seems to be a habit with the Obama administration. Just when he is getting pressure from the left and right wing media to do something about a grave crisis he jumps his jet for California and holds million dollar fund raisers. While Obama fiddles Rome burns and millions of more special interest dollars are poured into Democrat campaigns.

Today Obama again flies over a disaster area on his way to the golden state of California where he can mine gold for campaigns. It is his third cross country flight to shake the big bucks out of California and a pattern seems to be developing. It seems every time the Gulf coast or America needs an explanation from the president on what he is doing to help us, the president is not available.

Today it is the BP oil spill in the Gulf which happened over one month ago. The only people who failed to act more than BP to avoid this environmental tragedy was the Obama Interior department, Homeland Security and White House. Obama, as president, not BP, was responsible for approving permits, approving the installation of the deepwater rig, making sure contingency plans were in place and monitoring every step of the drilling process.

Try as they may to place the total blame on BP it was the federal regulatory and safety role, or lack of one, that enabled this to happen. BP should have been prepared for a disaster, but the federal government was responsible to make sure the plan existed. Both failed. In fact 34 days later the Obama people are still bumbling around trying to figure out what to do. This week they say they are relying on BP expertise after raking BP over the coals the last week.

So rather than go to the disaster area and take charge, Obama is flying over the disaster on the way to multi-million dollar campaign fundraisers in California. Instead of walking the beaches and encouraging workers, many of them volunteers, who are cleaning up the oil he is charging $2,000 a person to join him for cocktails or $35,200 to join him for dinner in San Francisco.

Does this sound vaguely familiar? It should.

Just a few months earlier, in October Obama made his first visit to New Orleans. During the campaign and after taking office as president Obama’s steady criticism of how former President George W. Bush’s administration ignored the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina was a shrewd political move that helped propel him into the White House. Unfortunately, the people of New Orleans only got a photo op and more words, not action, as he quickly hopped the jet for the west coast.

Once safely in lala land with Nancy Pelosi citizens could see the president and actually spend time with him, if they paid $34,000 per couple for dinner with Obama or $1,000 for a concert ticket with him. As he was behind closed doors in San Francisco hobnobbing with contributors the BBC on the other side of the world was announcing that Obama was going to send 45,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Obama did not confirm the exact number of troops until December 2.

Just last month Obama was back in California raising $3 more millions on April 19, just a day before the BP oil rig explosion on April 20. This trip fell between Obama's toothless Nuclear Summit April 12-13 and his speech to Wall Street on April 22.

When things get tough the president heads out for California fundraisers where the millions he rakes in for the political fat cats seems a lot more important than what is happening in the Gulf, or Afghanistan, or the economy.

Had we been paying attention we would know the White House was great at making the president disappear when the heat is on. Back on February 17, 2009, just a couple of weeks after becoming president, Obama signed the controversial economic stimulus bill at a cost of $787 billion. The same day he also announced the $245 billion housing and mortgage bailout which has largely failed.

Quietly the same day the Pentagon, not president, announced a 17,000 troop increase in Afghanistan while Bill Clinton was saying he was not responsible for the economic crisis even though he apologized for allowing his staff to change federal regulations that allowed the economic crisis to happen.

Perhaps our national priorities have suffered from lack of presidential attention and focus but at least the political campaigns are getting all the money they need from Obama. The people of America, it seems, are still waiting to get the president's attention.


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