The BP Oil Spill Is Not Obama's Katrina

Again and again we've heard President Obama's detractors (including me) saying the BP oil spill is Obama's Katrina.

We're wrong. It's worse than that.

While President Bush was limited in what he could do by law since the state and local governments were ultimately responsible for their actions prior to and after Katrina, Obama's response to the oil spill in the Gulf has been dismal considering the federal government had sole jurisdiction since the accident took place in federal waters. To equate the two is dishonest.

I remember when then Louisiana Governor Blanco complained at one point that the federal government had done little to help during and after Hurricane Katrina. Apparently she wasn't aware the feds could do nothing until she asked for assistance. Until then the federal government could do nothing as they had no jurisdiction. The same was true of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, condemning the federal response prior to and after Katrina struck when ultimately it was his responsibility to see to the safety of his constituents. It was his failure to use the resources he had on hand that caused a lot of the misery and deaths that followed in Katrina's wake.

It must be remembered that the two incidents are also dissimilar since Katrina was a natural disaster and the BP oil spill was man-made. But still these two incidents show the differences in approach between Obama and Bush, with Obama being too laissez faire about something well within his area of responsibility and Bush being restrained by law from helping at the state and local level until there was little the government could do except help pick up the pieces.