The BP Gulf of Mexico oil leak disaster has not only caused untold economic and environmental devastation to the Gulf Coast, damaged further the political reputation of President Obama, and likely destroyed BP as a company, but has also caused bizarre behavior in the media.
The fact that media illuminatos like Chris Matthews, who used to get a tingle up his leg at the very thought of Barack Obama, have turned on the President is not unusual. Expectations were set so high among the political and journalistic class for Obama that he was bound to disappoint just because he was not, rumor to the contrary, God.
No, there has been some bizarre reactions from both the mainstream media and some of the “new media” about the oil leak and President Obama’s conspicuous lack of ability to do anything about it but express frustration from his vacation home in Chicago.
First, we have Frank Rich, one of the uber left columnists for the New York Times, who seemed to be less worried about the horrors the oil leak has inflicted upon the Gulf Coast than about what it has done to the reputation of the powers of big government to fix everything.
“We expect him to deliver on this core conviction. But the impact on “the people” of his signature governmental project so far, health care reform, remains provisional and abstract. Like it or not, a pipe gushing poison into an ocean is a visceral crisis demanding visible, immediate action.
“Obama’s news conference on Thursday – explaining in detail the government’s response, its mistakes and its precise relationship to BP – was at least three weeks overdue. It was also his first full news conference in 10 months. Obama’s recurrent tardiness in defining exactly what he wants done on a given issue – a lapse also evident in the protracted rollout of the White House’s specific health care priorities – remains baffling, as does his recent avoidance of news conferences. Such diffidence does not convey a J.F.K.-redux in charge of a neo-New Frontier activist government. “
Rich goes on to attack Rand Paul, Newt Gingrich, the Tea Party protesters, George W. Bush and the GOP and the Right in general. Frank Rich’s main fear is not that it will take years for the ill effects to be cleansed from the Gulf Coast, but that President Obama’s dithering will buttress the theme that big government is incapable of handling situations like the Gulf oil leak. Rich’s attack on Bush is particularly bizarre; Bush has been out of office for sixteen months and, whatever one thinks of Katrina, the government under Bush’s reaction to it was of Swiss watch efficiency compared to Obama’s reaction to the Gulf oil leak.
But Frank Rich is the soul of calm and propriety compared to Bill Maher, a “comedian” who has a show on HBO on which he “comments” on issues of the day. Last Friday, Bill Maher bemoaned that President Obama was not acting like a black President should.
How should a black President react to the Gulf oil leak crisis? Bill Maher said, “I thought when we elected a black president, we were going to get a black president. You know, this [BP oil spill] is where I want a real black president. I want him in a meeting with the BP CEOs, you know, where he lifts up his shirt where you can see the gun in his pants. That’s — (in black man voice) ‘we’ve got a motherf—ing problem here?’ Shoot somebody in the foot.”
One is at a loss to conclude which is more offensive, the fascination with violence as a tool of political discourse that always seems to simmer just below the surface of the left wing mien or the utter racist stereotype that one cannot be authentically black if one does not act like a gangsta rapper. Richard Pryor in his prime might have been able to pull it off with the understanding that he was being satirical. But a lilly white guy like Bill Maher just sounds like he is late for the Klan barbeque.
Sources:Obama’s Katrina? Maybe Worse, Frank Rich, New York Times, May 28th, 2010
Maher: Obama Not Acting Like A “Real Black” President, Real Clear Politics, May 29th, 2010