Accidents happen.

One of the virtues of blogging is I have a record of thoughts.  I can point to my hand wringing at the President at the time he announced off-shore drilling, and some griping at the political reporting habits of the Atlantic’s Mr. Ambinder.
The drawback is that I intend on placing up a post as response to this or that piece of writing, and find myself beat to the punch and in the shadows by somebody who is actually read by people.  So Jonathan Bernstein in place of Ezra Klein responds to the National Review’s Yuval Levin on — oh, round about Bush and Katrina and Obama and the Gulf.

Reading Levin, and the biggest thing I can give him is that we jump out of the usual twistings of immediacy, you are not making points off of Obama per se as we are making points off of policies.
But in consideration of the responsibilities of FEMA, what I will suggest is that it was a government agency that was not properly tuned during the George Herbert Walker Bush Administration.  Indeed, this is the reason that Bill Clinton won the state of Florida in 1992.  One upside of the Bill Clinton Administration is that he pulled FEMA into good shape — a corallary response was an up-surge in conspiracy mongering that FEMA is building up internment camps and Janet Reno is coming to round you up, but we can ignore the mutterings from out of the “Patriot” Movement.

There is this broad stroke of animosity against Obama’s response.  A lot of it is more than understandable, but some of it I don’t quite understand.  James Carville has lead one particular charge, which leads to a statement along the lines of “Clinton would be down in the water with a wet suit!”  Sometimes I have to wonder why people are so into a sort of Theater Review.  Is this what America demands?
I guess the rejoinder is that the one power the president has is the Bully Pulpit — and in such a role he (sooner or later, she) can Lay down the Guideposts of what is happening. 

But with glaring exceptions, I haven’t much truck with the post-disaster response.  We’ve had a surreal situation with those Chemical Dispersants — banned in Great Britain and the lowest level of allowables in the USA — which throw into question the power of the US Government against the Corporate state.  Other than that, BP has followed a path in a crisis they did not prepare for, a debacle of hubris.  The Crime comes before the debacle — the severe and never-ending pressure points to relax standards of regulation.  (See, for instance, the elite opinion influenced as suggested by my occasional series of “New RepublicversusNational Review“.)

It’s Massey Energy litigating as a policy to evade the problems of their pile up of safety violations.  And with BP, it is this:
The BP wellhead had been fitted with a blowout preventer (BOP), but it was not fitted with remote-control or acoustically-activated triggers for use in case of an emergency requiring a platform to be evacuated. It did have a dead man’s switch designed to automatically cut the pipe and seal the well if communication from the platform is lost, but it was unknown whether the switch activated.[59] Regulators in both Norway and Brazil generally require acoustically-activated triggers on all offshore platforms, but when the Minerals Management Service considered requiring the remote device, a report commissioned by the agency as well as drilling companies questioned its cost and effectiveness.[59] In 2003, the agency determined that the device would not be required because drilling rigs had other back-up systems to cut off a well.

Assuming that the writer for the National Review is a big proponent of Off-shore Drilling, the deal here is you have to keep a tight regulation in place.  The problem comes the bottom line posits such things as nuisances, and so they are trimmed and trimmed — Big money weakens the Regulatory state year after year, and we go back to the question we heard in 2000 about Dick Cheney of “What’s this fuss about two Oil Men in office?”

To rejoind the Republican Senate candidate in Kentucky, Canada had a PSA campaign.

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