WASHINGTON -- President Obama is facing a crisis of confidence in the way he is handling (or not handling) the Gulf oil disaster, record deficits and debt, and growing turmoil and doubt in the U.S. economy.
As the president approaches a game-changing midterm election when his congressional majority is expected to be cut down to size, his policies and leadership are being questioned on several fronts -- including a long-compliant national news media that has bent over backward to avoid blaming him for anything.
After five long weeks of indecision about what to do in the BP oil debacle that threatens Gulf coast economies, the national news finally began taking the administration to task for its failure to take command of a disaster that many now say is Obama's "Hurricane Katrina."
The major news media's do-not-blame-the-administration rule was broken in the Washington Post's lead, front-page story Tuesday that finally acknowledged that the White House "faced growing questions about whether it should be taking more control of the situation, rather than ceding so much of the decision-making about stopping the oil spill to the company that created it."
If anyone was under the delusion the president is in command of this catastrophe, the Post laid that to rest under a headline aimed at Obama's indecision: "Administration torn on getting tough with BP."
The White House doesn't have a clue about what they can do to help combat the millions of gallons of oil poisoning the Gulf waters and coastline, according to Louisiana's Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, who unleashed a torrent of complaints Monday.
The Obama administration, a frustrated and angry Jindal said, "has been too slow in helping them hold back the oil," the Post reported. It has failed to provide the equipment the state desperately needed to combat the disaster, "including booms, skimmers, vacuums and barges" and has "stood in the way" of his plan to dredge and build artificial barrier islands to prevent the oil from reaching the coast.
What could the administration have done before the broken wellhead poured millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf? Named a high-level strike force of government and oil-drilling disaster experts, and other global oil company technicians who have dealt with similar spills, to work with BP to plug the well -- instead of relying on Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, neither of whom has ever dealt with such problems before and were in over their heads from the beginning.
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