Lost Art

Seen any state of the art leadership kicking around the Gulf Coast?

The "political stupidity is unbelievable," Democratic strategist James Carville said on "Good Morning America" today. "The president doesn't get down here in the middle of this. ... I have no idea of why they didn't seize this thing. I have no idea of why their attitude was so hands off here." On Thursday, Obama will announce new measures the federal government will take to try to prevent any future BP oil spills, administration officials said. And on Friday, the president will visit the Gulf coast, his second trip to the region since the environmental disaster happened last month.
It seems to me that Obama made the calculation that the potential damage of showing leadership on a crisis that could keep pumping itself into the news for months was too hot to handle, and that he'd rather demonize oil companies and the Bush administration.
"It just looks like he's not involved in this," an angry Carville said on "GMA." "Man, you got to get down here and take control of this, put somebody in charge of this thing and get this moving. We're about to die down here."
The arms length strategy is clearly backfiring, and now the administration will be forced to play catch-up, even as he suffers scheduling embarrassments. Yesterday, he was in San Francisco.
Obama spoke to a VIP reception of about 200 people and later to a sold-out crowd of about 800 at a reception at the Fairmont Hotel, two of his three appearances Tuesday to bulk up the campaign coffers of Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who will face strong Republican competition this fall in her bid for a fourth term.
After making his second visit to the Gulf on Friday, the president goes back to Chicago for vacation over the Memorial Day weekend.
On Monday, Obama will make remarks at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, south of Chicago - missing the usual tradition of presidents speaking at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day.
Tone deaf, yes. State of the art political craft, no.