Jake Tapper seems to have found an angle to tease out of the Deepwater Horizon response – one offical with the Department of the Interior was on a trip in the Grand Canyon where in addition to rafting he was also discussing wildlife management, river flows, beach erosion, humpback chub, tamarisk control, overflights, safety. Exactly the kind of things we pay him to do. While Oil Slick Spread, Interior Department Chief of Staff Rafted with Wife on “Work-Focused” Trip in Grand Canyon
Other leaders of the Interior Department were focused on the Gulf, joined by other agencies and literally thousands of other employees. But Strickland’s participation in a trip that administration officials insisted was “work-focused” raised eyebrows among other Obama administration officials and even within even his own department, sources told ABC News.
So there is some murky implied guilt on the Interior Department Chief of Staff even though Tapper does acknowledge that thousands of other employees were part of and were working on the Horizon spill,
Barkoff said that Secretary Salazar deputized Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes “to be the point person on this issue and from the morning after the explosion from the time he got to New Orleans he has been working on this non-stop with the help of other people in the Interior Department as well as other agencies involved.”
As would suspect the Republican bloggers response – a gathering of dunces – wants to spin this as a Nero fiddled while Rome burned story. Which would work if it thousands of Interior employees, plus the Coast Guard and BP clean-up crews were short one clean-up guy. Jake Tapper did not stop and think. That might have stopped him from running a story that reads more like something spun by WorldNut Daily.
The other angle is this makes the Gulf spill Obama’s Katrina. If the wind blows, if the sun shines, if some crony corporate stooge doesn’t get his million dollar bonus its Obama’s Katrina. If the Katrina analogy were a carpet the rabid Right has worn it threadbare. The response to Katrina was the responsibility of FEMA and the state’s that were impacted. Who has primary responsibility for being first responder to oil spills – the company that caused the spill – in this case BP and it’s contractors TransOcean and Hailliburton. Who is next in line? The U.S. Coast Guard who was on site immediately on notification there had been an explosion, upon which they started the rescue and search part of the response,
April 20 (10 p.m.): Oil rig explosion. An April 21 ABCNews.com article reported, “An overnight explosion in the Gulf of Mexico rocked the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the Louisiana coast, sending spectacular bursts of flame into the sky. The fires were still raging today.” The U.S. Coast Guard’s National Oil and Hazardous Substances Response System assigns primary responsibility for cleaning up oil spills to the spiller as the responsible party.
April 21: Deputy Secretary of Interior, Coast Guard dispatched to region. An April 22 White House statement noted that following a briefing with President Obama, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, “Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes was dispatched to the region yesterday to assist with coordination and response.” The Coast Guard announced that four units were responding to the fire, with additional units en route.
Once Governor Blanco asked the federal government to declare a state of emergency on August 27, 2005 and Bush declared the storm an emergency it became FEMA’s emergency. On August 28 Bush was warned by the Hurricane Center the levees would be topped – a notice that repeated previous unheeded warnings. On the 29th – two days after the state of emergency heck-of-a- job FEMA director Brown asks that 1,000 DHS employees be dispatched to the region. A lack of good judgment and tragic logistical error, since at that point it would take two days for those employees to arrive.
Moreover, FEMA’s former Director, Michael Brown, lacked the leadership skills that were needed. Before landfall, Brown did not direct the adequate pre-positioning of critical personnel and equipment, and willfully failed to communicate with DHS Secretary, Michael Chertoff , to whom he was supposed to report. Earlier in the hurricane season, FEMA had pre-positioned an unprecedented amount of relief supplies in the region. But the supplies were not enough. Similarly, while both FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made eff orts to activate the federal emergency health capabilities of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) and the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS), only a limited number of federal medical teams were actually in position prior to landfall to deploy into the aff ected area. Only one such team was in a position to provide immediate medical care in the aft ermath of the storm.
More broadly, DHS – as the Department charged with preparing for and responding to domestic incidents, whether terrorist attacks or natural disasters – failed to eff ectively lead the federal response to Hurricane Katrina. DHS leadership failed to bring a sense of urgency to the federal government’s preparation for Hurricane Katrina, and Secretary Chertoff himself should have been more engaged in preparations over the weekend before landfall.
Secretary Chertoff made only top-level inquiries into the state of preparations, and accepted
uncritically the reassurances he received. He did not appear to reach out to the other Cabinet secretaries to make sure that they were readying their departments to provide whatever assistance DHS – and the people of the Gulf Coast – might need.
[ ]…In addition, the White House shares responsibility for the inadequate pre-landfall preparations. To be sure, President Bush, at the request of Brown, did take the initiative to personally call Governor Blanco to urge a mandatory evacuation. As noted earlier, he also took the unusual step of declaring an emergency in the Gulf Coast States prior to Katrina’s landfall. On the other hand, the President did not leave his Texas ranch to return to Washington until two days after landfall, and only then convened his Cabinet, as well as a White House task force, to oversee federal response efforts.
from Hurricane Katrina: A Nation Still Unprepared, Special Report of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs United States Senate Together with Additional Views. Susan M. Collins (R) Maine, Chairman
Then Governor Blanco(D) and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin were not exactly hailed as heroes in the Senate report. Two small urban myths still permeate the Right-wing retelling of the Gulf coast and Hurricane Katrina. One is that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour was some kind of superhero that managed the state’s Katrina response with a latex costume and one hand tied behind his back. That was hardly the case. He also asked for Mississippi to receive assistance from FEMA, billions in federal aid post Katrina and was far from the wunderkind of post storm reconstruction( Mississippi received less damage from the storm but received more federal aid than Louisiana via his Republican connections.) Ray Nagin was a registered Republican who contributed to Bush’s 2000 presidential race before he ran as a Democrat for mayor of New Orleans. While he gave to the Obama campaign he has also contributed to Rep. Wilbert Tauzin II(R) campaign and endorsed the insipid Bobby Jindal (R) for governor. Any spin that casts Nagan as a liberal and thus naturally screwed up in his Katrina response is over simplified at best.
The Times Square bomber – despite what serial liars such as Rush Limbaugh and Gateway Pundits claim – was not a registered Democrat.
Obama’s Election Inspires Blacks to Run for Office…As Republicans – which is you know, possible because of civil rights legislation created by liberals and disdained by conservatives to this day. That’s OK, don’t say thanks. Wait for the irony……. GOP Candidate Runs Pro-Racial Profiling Ad: ‘Let’s Face It’ — The ‘Good-Looking Rich Guy’ Isn’t A Terrorist. In ConservoWorld the good guys always wear very pale skin.