Thursday, May 27, 2010
Obama Failing Disaster Relief Test
By Jon E. Easter
You know what? The President of the United States has a tough job. I realize that.
President Barack Obama has had it tougher than many of his predecessors. Besides the fact that he prevailed in a divisive climate in Washington, he inherited a messy economy, two wars, a fractured nation, and a myriad of scandals. Slowly but surely, Obama has begun to tick off the campaign promise list. The progress has been more quick lately.
In the past couple of months the economy has begun to turn around, but things are still uncertain in the world. Problems in Europe have effected the stock market, and there is still uncertainty. Consumer confidence is up though. People are starting to get back to work.
The problem is that things keep popping up. These are the things a President hopes he (or eventually she) never has to deal with. Sure you have the scary prospect of the people that want to do us harm across the world by inciting terror. There are many. You also have the biggest terrorist: The Natural or Man-Made Disaster. On this front, I'm sorry to say, President Obama is more like President George W. Bush than President Clinton.
Nashville is still waiting for President Obama to tour its flooding damage that devastated that community. Now, the perception is that Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is going rogue because he can't get what he needs from President Obama. The truth really is that Jindal is part of the problem. Rather than act as a watchdog for his state, he praised President Bush for lifting the offshore drilling ban in 2008.
But, perception is too often reality in politics. The perception is that President Obama has been more hands off than hands on. That perception needs to change. The reality needs to change. He needs to do it now, and he needs to do it himself.
President Obama needs to use a full court press and name someone...anyone...to lead a blue ribbon, all star panel to find a solution and have a plan. I would suggest someone like General Wesley Clark. Someone that has the experience of deploying resources and military units in the field. Obama needs to get himself to Nashville. He needs to shake the hands and hug the victims.
After all, President Obama is not only the Commander-in-Chief, but he is the Comforter-in-Chief. While it's important to be in control of the situation in Washington, it's important to respond to the people in Tennessee and Louisiana.
If people are going to call these disasters Obama's Katrina, it's time for him to own this mess and realize that if you want something done, you have to do it yourself.