Kim Strassel make a good argument in the Wall Street Journal today that, in attacking Obama for his handling of the oil leak, the GOP had better watch it. Insist that the federal government ought to be big and powerful enough to plug leaks a mile under water at a moment’s notice? Argue that offshore oil exploration is so risky that the Obama administration should never have approved it? Those lines of attack could very easily twist around to bite the GOP itself.
On the other hand, it’s entirely legitmate, I can’t help supposing, to hold the Obama administraton responsible for enforcing the federal laws and regulations that govern offshore exploration and drilling. Unlike the Katrina disaster, in which primary legal responsibility for managing the emergency lay with the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana—both utterly dysfunctional, as we quickly learned, but still—the oil rig that blew up in the Gulf was drilling in federal waters.
Do we have any experts in the Ricochet audience? Because all this leads, I think, to two questions:
Was the Obama administration right to permit BP to begin operating the doomed rig in the first place?
And if the Obama administration had proven both prudent and competent in administering the various federal agencies into whose jurisdication the vast oil spill has now washed up, what would the administration have so far done differently?