We need to give Obama a chance with the oil spill. He's doing the best he can they say.
Really? You mean to tell me that this wouldn't be a past issue already, if anyone other than Obama was in the office? That Obama is pursuing the spill with all the tenacity that he gave to his pet project of healthcare reform?
As though Ronald Reagan wouldn't have been done with this after 58 days already?
Heck, take either of the Bush presidents or even Clinton. Any president that's demonstrated a modicum of competency would have long rallied a response that included declaring a state of emergency, the dispersion of troops, and the granting of federal permits to those states in the way of being most affected, into establishing sea bars. The damage wouldn't be over, but Americans would surely have confidence that the situation is contained. The only president I can think of who'd have been this incompetent would've been Carter. We're talking Carter levels incompetency here.
So why the slow deal? My theory on this is simple. Obama, reeling from the political fallout of a health care debate that he didn't "win" so much as "cheat the scorecard," rolled a political gamble and loss. A crisis is a terrible thing to waste afterall. In the same vein that FDR permitted Pearl Harbor to be unnecessarily tragic in order to morally justify a call to war, by permitting this catastrophe to happen as badly as its happened, Americans would rally behind a new environmentalist wave to cap and slash oil drilling.
Hence the calm, cold demeanor towards the crisis. Ever the demagogue, he expected us to look at the damage "evil enterprise" has done, and upon a knee-jerk emotional driven response, jump on a bandwagon of "never forget, never again" for domestic oil drilling, resulting in a new era of windmills! His miscalculation comes from two things:
1. The damage from the oil well was not immediate, leaving plenty of time to take preventive measures to minimize the damage. Preventative measures that local officials such as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was denied of.
2. This is not the 1930s, and we certainly are not all socialist now. Part of FDR's success was in his monopolistic control of the media. With an populous that is better educated in general thanks to having far more media outlets, Americans today are significantly less sheep-like than their 1930s counterparts. Translating to less patience with demagoguery. This is one of his central miscalculations in attempting to emulate FDR: That his audience is too ignorant to see through his attempts at camouflaging his ulterior motives.
The American Spirit is still center right (as has been ever since Carter/Nixon/Johnson created the backlash for big government that people like RR and Gingrich was able to climb upon). With the toxic mood generated by the accumulation of a "spendulus" bill, multiple near-miss terrorist attacks, apologetic foreign policy, delays and compromise over Afghanistan, no jobs, mounting debt, and generally no light at the end of the tunnel for a suffering economy, the ideology of the nation is only being pushed further to the right.
In an environment whereas such an ideology is given prominence, allowing an oil spill to happen will not spark a socialist rally for more private sector punishment as he had hoped. Obama was likely hoping that that this would be his "Jungle*" rather than his Katrina. The big government catalyst effect of a propaganda victory this is not.
Cap this off with a health care bill that passes by a mere 7 votes out of a total of 431 representatives, whereas the only bi-partisanship is in opposition to the bill, and you do not have a formula for people viewing you as the hero squaring off against the demon of "private enterprise." President Clinton to his credit, would've known that this is a situation where you show some competency to reassert yourself as capable of the "3 am" call, any scorn generated by other issues be darned. Rather than take the street cred now, Obama gambled on having a wave of public outrage to ride on later. Problem is, he never expected it directed at him.
*The 1906 propaganda novel by Upton Sinclair which "aimed for the heart and hit in the stomach," nonetheless paving the way for big government expansion over food and drug processing.