Online, few liberals listening to Carville’s Obama attacks 

Democratic campaign strategist and liberal pundit James Carville has become a bit of a favorite person on the right for his repeated criticisms of the Obama administration’s handling of the BP oil spill. Online, not too many of his ideological fellows seem to have joined the "ragin' Cajun" in criticizing the president, however.

There are those that sympathize with Carville, particularly in light of his ties to the Gulf Coast area.  “He is freaking out seeing what is happening to his home. I cut him a break. I think I’d feel the same way if I was on the front lines of this,” said commenter “eilen” at democraticunderground.com. On the same site user “TeaBagsAreForCups” supported the criticism being made by Carville, saying, “This is a one term Presidency if they fail to listen to their friends, like Carville.”

Some even agree with the opinions expressed by Carville. ”This catastrophe has become ‘Obama’s Katrina’ because of his initial industry-friendly but unwise policy decision to back expanded offshore drilling,” asserted user “Bragi” in a democraticunderground.com forum. ”Given BP’s feeble credibility, the Obama administration does not need to keep trusting BP’s management to handle the crisis,” argued the authors of a thinkprogress.org article.

While a few are willing to defend Carville and his opinions, it seems as though more are eager to chastise him for his criticism. Much of the denouncement of Carville is arguably related to his ties to the Republican party and the oil industry through his wife, political consultant Mary Matalin. “Carville protects ONLY what he and his wife have built – a media-driven charade designed to dupe the gullible of both parties. THAT is what pays their mortgages and lines their bank accounts. Of COURSE he attacked Obama….you think he’d dare tell the truth about the REAL CULPRITS in government who deserve the lion’s share of the blame?” said user “blm” at democraticunderground.com.

In the face of people like Carville looking to criticize Obama, many are willing to defend him on the internet. Some do this by returning the blame to Republicans. An argument frequently made is one that asserts that the oil spill was only allowed to happen because Obama compromised with those who pushed for unsafe, irresponsible underwater drilling.
“The reason that there is deepwater drilling in the first place is that Democrats (like President Obama) have compromised with Republicans. Outside of Mary Landrieu (and perhaps Mark Begich), there are virtually no Democrats who are enthusiastic about deepwater drilling,” asserted Jed Lewison in an article on dailykos.com. User “Blue Owl” asked on a democratic undergroud forum, “What is the true cost of deregulation, privatization, and corporate oil barons such as the Bu$h/Cheney gang who have sold our government out to these companies?”

A similar argument paints Obama as an innocent bystander who can do nothing as capitalistic ideals and free markets inevitably come crashing down around him:
“I think its clear this was orchestrated by BP, not Obama,” said user “Lerkfish” on a democraticunderground.com forum. ”I am not sure it is reasonable to expect the government to have the tools or the technology to stop this leak, given that they are not in the business of drilling for oil…to expect them to have the capability over and above the oil companies seems to be wishful thinking.” commented user “revo-lou” on politico.com.

Where many see sludge and tar balls, some see solutions and silver linings, arguing that it will be how Obama moves forward, not his initial reaction that will ultimately matter most. ”The pundits tell us that the test of Obama’s presidency is whether or not he can stop BP’s leak, but that’s the argument of fools: the real test of this crisis is whether President Obama is able to lead this nation to a clean energy future,” said Jed Lewison in a dailykos.com article.

These sentiments contradict the information gathered in a Gallup poll conducted to determine public attitudes toward Obama and his reaction to the oil spill.  During the period of June 4-6, 75 percent of Democrats polled approved of the job Obama was doing as president. However, during the period of June 5-6, only 62 percent of Democrats polled approved of the way Obama was handling the oil spill.

If the situation continues without significant advances, it seems likely that the number of Obama’s supporters, even those found online, will continue to diminish.

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Kate Tummarello

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