A new ABC poll has rated the government response to the oil spill worse than the response to Katrina:
A month and a half after the spill began, 69 percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll rate the federal response negatively. That compares with a 62 negative rating for the response to Katrina two weeks after the August 2005 hurricane.
That’s really not a shock given the media’s attempt to paint the spill as “Obama’s Katrina”. But unlike Katrina, there have been other roadblocks in the way of the response that the media hardly mentions.
The first of these roadblocks is a provision in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 that essentially ties the hands of th government when it comes to the response. Instead the oil company is responsible for the response. Here is how Thad Allen described the law to Mike Wallace:
ALLEN: Well, this started out as a search and rescue case. We had the explosion. We had the extraordinary tragic loss of 11 lives. And for 48 hours we were involved in search and rescue when the drill sunk. We mobilized every asset as if it were a catastrophic response.
After the Exxon Valdez, Congress passed legislation called the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, and the way we respond by designating B.P. as a responsible party and having them have contractors available to do the response is the structure that was mandated by Congress after the Exxon Valdez.
We are changing that as necessary to meet this very anomalous event we’re dealing with now, but the notion that B.P. is the responsible party and hires contractors is the structure that was created by Congress in 1990.
So there are limits to what the government can do, and those limits are law.
Then there’s just the facts of the spill. We are dealing with something occurring a mile below the ocean, which is an unprecedented event. We shouldn’t be in this situation because the risks of drilling so deep outweigh the benefits, but we are there none the less.
But let’s compare the spill to Katrina for a minute. Katrina was a horrible natural disaster, but wasn’t unprecedented. This country has a history of some bad natural disasters, including floods. The government response to Katrina ignored years of planning by FEMA and was a direct result of the cronyism that plagued the Bush administration. The oil spill? Like I said, we have never had to deal with anything like this, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that we didn’t have better planning put in place.
And finally, I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the elephant in the room called “government spending”. I can’t help but laugh every time Bobby Jindhal is on the TV talking about the government “not doing their jobs”. This is the same Bobby Jindhal that showed outrage over the government monitoring volcanoes so that we could maybe give people a better warning of a pending eruption.
So this poll is actually good news for the left. When ever some tea bagger or Rand Paul is on the airwaves yelling about how we need to stop government spending, ask them how much they think this spill is costing the government. If we had a tea bagger based government, there would be no response at all. BP would be left to do everything and their choices would be the final word. We wouldn’t have the Obama administration trying to skirt a hand-tying 1990 law that hinders the governments response. Instead we would have an administration embracing that law, and possibly trying to expand it.
This poll proves that a pro-active government is much better than a reactive or barely existant one that so many on the right champion. The only problem is that no one in the media seems to remind people of that.