Competence: White House in ‘panic’ over their poor response to oil leak 


The ferocious oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is threatening President Barack Obama’s reputation for competence, just as surely as it endangers the Gulf ecosystem.

So White House aides are escalating their efforts to reassure Congress and the public in the face of a slow-motion catastrophe, even though it’s not clear they can bring it under control anytime soon.

“There is no good answer to this,” one senior administration official said. “There is no readily apparent solution besides one that could take three months. … If it doesn’t show the impotence of the government, it shows the limits of the government.”

Pray tell, what special reputation for competence does the President have that I’m unaware of? Is it golfing during major terror attacks? Is it his knack for appointing competent and ethically unblemished personnel to serve in his administration? His impeccable foreign policy instincts?

To borrow a phrase from Glenn Reynolds, they told me if I voted for John McCain we’d have a President incapable of properly responding to disasters. And they were right!

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Mark Hemingway

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