It is Day 60 of the BP oil crisis and President Obama still stands accused of maintaining levels of vexation insufficient to cap the well. Early efforts undertaken with a frowny face and lips pressed tightly together did not appear to stem the flow. Nearly everyone is certain that it will require nothing less than a serious fit of pique to get a handle on this problem, and many complain that Obama is falling short.
As is often the case, the American people have shown themselves ahead of their leaders in demanding action, as evidenced by the speed with which they clicked on the Facebook button "I bet we can find 1,000,000 people who think BP should just quit dicking around and plug the hole." Emotion is running high.
In recognition, Mr. Obama recently made a trip to the State of Dudgeon, on whose shores he was photographed kicking at snark balls, but it is clear that more pissiness is called for. With that in mind, Mr. Obama fired the head of the Minerals Management Service for gross negligence and corruption that began in the previous administration and may have continued into his own while he was busy frowning at the economy and the health care industry. Stated the National Republican Senatorial Committee: "This finger-pointing follows a deliberate pattern by the White House to deny responsibility for anything that takes place on President Obama's watch."
The White House responded with a statement of regret for the recent elevated sunspot activity. Obama himself declared "in case you were wondering who's responsible, I take responsibility. The buck stops with me," provoking Sarah Palin, checking in from Planet Huh, to retort that "the fundamental problem at the core of this crisis is a lack of responsibility. There's a culture of buck-passing at the heart of this administration."
As the oil continues to gush, many call for increased umbrage and question the efficacy of simple exasperation. Speaking to this issue, an interviewer asked Obama whether this wasn't a time to "kick some butt" rather than be calm and collected, a deportment that has so far failed to end the crisis. In response, Mr. Obama said: "I'm going to push back hard on this. Because I think that this is just an idea that got in folks' heads and the media's run with it...A month ago, I was meeting with fishermen down there...and I don't sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially had the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick. Right? So, you know, this is not theater."
Headlines caught the gist ("OBAMA SAYS ASS") and pundits
immediately accused him of theatrics, suggesting his temperament was unsuitable for the job. Republicans pounded him for failing to step up as a leader. Mr. Obama side-stepped this controversy, prompting complaints about his aloofness, and extended a moratorium on new drilling for six months, which Republicans immediately condemned as being an egregious act of taking charge. Obama responded by calling for renewed efforts to plan for the post-oil age, infuriating Republican counterparts. "We are doing more than anyone to get to the post-oil age," a spokesman said, "by running through all the oil as fast as we possibly can."
Across the pond, Britons have faulted the President for failure to maintain a more diplomatic level of detachment. A Conservative peer, Lord Tebbit, called the American response "a crude, bigoted, xenophobic display of partisan, political, presidential petulance." Meanwhile, the crisis of appropriate comportment has also snared the CEO of BP, who had been roundly castigated for his demeanor after saying: "I'm sorry...there's no one who wants this over more than I do. I'd like my life back." Puzzled by the uproar, he amended his statement to: "This is great. I'm having the time of my life," which also fell short of public expectations, and he remains hunched in his closet, confused.
Mr. Obama took his case for cooperation in a proposed energy bill to Republicans in a closed-door luncheon. He was met by solid opposition on all points, including choice of appetizer, and afterwards, Republican Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas was quoted as saying "he needs to take a Valium before he comes in and talks to Republicans. He's pretty thin-skinned."
Geologists studying the issue have not been able to agree on the size of the President's reservoir of wrath, noting that despite eruptions of temper and efforts to measure the flow of snits, much of it remains below the surface. Republicans warn that they may need to provoke additional releases of rage before they will be able to slam the cap on him completely.