Been there, done that.
It looks like the White House feels it’s covered its ass enough on the BP mess.
Last week and the one before, in response to an outcry that he’s been AWOL on the mess in the Gulf, Obama was all oil spill, all the time, and seemed to be taking command of the situation in a way most presidential. He even fooled me. But it looks like that was all for show.
Now that people’s brains are mostly off the oil spill, our leader’s is too. No trips scheduled this week to the Gulf. No statements, no meetings, no ass kickings.
The White House even had added a daily briefing on the matter to his schedule to go with his regular economic and intel meetings. Not this week.
What had appeared to be real presidential involvement in a tragedy is beginning to look like mainly a communications strategy.
It’s a president’s job to lead on the issue, to keep the country and his administration focused on it so the pressure is raised to come up with solutions and clean up the mess in an efficient and aggressive way. Obama seems to be reacting to public opinion instead of leading it.
It makes good sense as a political matter. Don’t talk about the oil spill, get it out of people’s sights and therefore out of their minds, and the criticism that is sinking his popularity will subside.
But it makes a bad oil spill strategy.