by Burt Prelutsky | Los Angeles

The worst thing about the oil leak, assuming you don’t live and work in the Gulf, was having to keep viewing the same stuff on TV day in and day out for months on end.  It got so bad, I began seeing the undersea footage, the oily pelican and Thad Allen, in my dreams.

Speaking of Mr. Allen, if he’s retired from the Coast Guard, why does he get to wear his uniform on camera?  I always thought veterans only got to take their uniforms out of mothballs for parades.  Apparently, Mr. Allen wears his to the supermarket.

With the 24/7 media attention that’s been devoted to the ecological disaster, it is easy to regard the leak as the worst thing that’s ever happened to the environment.  But even now it only ranks as about the 35th worst oil spill in the past hundred years.  Something else that we should not lose sight of is that the Gulf is a magnet for hurricanes, just as California is one for earthquakes and New York City is one for Islamic terrorists.  That means that bad stuff is always going to be happening and if people are going to live in such places, they have to accept the risks.  British Petroleum will not always be around to pay for the cleanup.

The leak has led to Obama’s declaring a 6-month moratorium on deep sea drilling, which should pretty much finish off the Gulf’s economy for the foreseeable future, unless Judge Feldman’s ruling stands.  On the other hand, our president did send $2 billion to Brazil to help finance deep-sea oil exploration by Petrobar, a company in which George Soros had recently invested.  And, yes, Brazil is the very same country that recently joined with Turkey in proclaiming its alignment with Iran’s Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

A lot has been said and written about Obama’s handling of the crisis.  None of it has been good.  Even some of his erstwhile acolytes have taken him to task.  I can understand their disillusionment.  The man did announce, after all, that with his election, the earth would be healed and the oceans would recede, and nary a word about oil pollution.  The magnitude of the leak has certainly confirmed that BP knew what it was doing when it sank a well there.  Unfortunately, the leak also emphasizes how stubborn and short-sighted Congress has been in its refusal to drill in Alaska or anywhere else that is currently inhabited by caribou, jackrabbits, elk, snakes or snails.

The fact is, Obama has brought it all on himself.  When he was courting us, he spoke of transparency and of uniting the right and the left; he rhapsodized about a post-racial America and an America that would be respected around the world.  Well, I guess we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves if we bought the lies.  Even someone as bright and successful as Sandra Bullock fell for Jesse James’ line of bull hockey.

I almost feel sorry for the president.  I mean, it must seem as if God, Himself, is pulling the rug out from under him.  After all, it was only five years ago that all the left-wing creeps, including Obama, were mugging George Bush over his handling of a natural disaster and, suddenly, we have Obama tripping over his own feet in the same general area.

Understand, I don’t blame him for ignoring the disaster in the early days.  After all, the media had given him a pass for ignoring the recent flooding of Nashville.  They had ignored it, too.  But once the oil leak became bigger news than North Korea’s sinking of a South Korean ship, bigger news than the unholy Muslim flotilla and even bigger news than the arrest of Joran van der Sloot, I would have assumed that Obama would have done all in his power to give the illusion of competence and concern.  Instead, he golfed and partied while Governor Jindal’s request for material and equipment were ignored.  We had the Coast Guard ordering skimmer ships shut down because they didn’t have a prescribed number of life jackets on board.  We had offers of assistance from Norway, Holland and 11 other nations, being refused because of something called the Jones Act, for no other reason than that Obama didn’t want to upset the maritime unions and their insistence that only ships flying the U.S. flag — and employing U.S. union crews! — be allowed to function in U.S. waters.

The way I see it, British Petroleum was the perfect boogeyman for liberals.  After all, their executives owned yachts and either spoke with snooty English accents or referred to “small people.”  Red meat, indeed, for congressional committees chaired by the self-righteous likes of Henry (“I voted to continue funding ACORN because they do a lot of good work”) Waxman.

The bonus is that BP has very deep pockets, so that Obama can grandstand and demand that the company pay everyone on the Gulf more money than they would have ever made renting motel rooms and fishing.

After insisting that there will be a six-month moratorium on off-shore drilling, which would do far more long term damage than the oil leak, Obama then tried to turn the screws on BP, by insisting they pay all of the laid-off oil crews, not just those working for British Petroleum, for income he, himself, was causing them to lose.  Even BP finally had enough, and said they would pay their own workers, but not Exxon’s or Shell’s.

If Obama had gotten away with it, I’m sure he planned to solve America’s unemployment ills by forcing BP to put the other 20 million out-of-work Americans on the company payroll.

I submit that there is one consolation for Barack Obama.  If much more crud is released into the Gulf of Mexico, this two-bit messiah might actually be able to walk on  water.


copyright 2010 Burt Prelutsky

Television scriptwriter, former humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine.

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