Originally in American Thinker, May 29, 2010.
In 2006, my wife and I traveled to New Orleans and visited the site of an unassuming two-story house on Navarre Avenue. A gaping top-to-bottom crack stared at me from one wall. A horizontal water line on the bricks four feet above my head marked a chapter of New Orleans history written in 2005 by a stormy lady named Katrina, with coauthors named government corruption and incompetence. I stroked the rough old bricks, surveyed the overgrown yard, and said goodbye.
My childhood home is gone now. Today, with oil soaking the lakes, bayous, and marshes of my old stomping grounds, childhood memories have returned. “Sportsman’s Paradise,” one of Louisiana’s nicknames, describes a big part of how I feel about the place. Red fish, speckled trout, croaker, red snapper, pompano, and flounder filled ice chests on the trips that I shared with my father and brother into the marshes or to the offshore oil rigs.
One rig at which we didn’t fish was British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon. The structure didn’t even exist on a drafting table in the 1960s and 1970s. Anyway, the location once occupied by DH lies so far offshore that the Gulf of Mexico there is a mile deep. Only residents of the funny farm north of Lake Pontchartrain would have been, uh, courageous enough to fish in such a spot.
Nowadays, there’s another reason not to go to Deepwater Horizon. The oil platform exploded, killed eleven men, and began spewing enough oil to create what may grow into America’s worst environmental disaster. Childhood memories may be the only pristine record I’ll ever have of my sportsman’s paradise.
Louisianians will never know for sure, but the paradise may have been defensible had people who wanted to act swiftly been allowed to act swiftly. Unfortunately, government corruption and incompetence run far deeper today than in the Katrina days, when “public servants” brushed aside needed flood prevention improvements in New Orleans and then failed to act responsibly to help the city recover from the deluge.
Irresponsibility on steroids permeates the Obama administration. I’ve seen Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal express frustration “with the disjointed effort to date that has too often meant too little, too late” to prevent Deepwater Horizon oil from coming ashore. I am witnessing President Obama treat my home state far more shoddily than President Bush treated Louisiana after Katrina. The dishonest, leftist ideologue, AWOL media looked the other way as Obama administration officials blocked state authorities’ efforts to stop the approaching crude. Now oil slathers Louisiana’s coastal wetlands. The best that I’ve seen Obama muster for the people of the Sportsman’s Paradise is an edict to “plug the damn hole” and the appointment of a commission to study the disaster. And now Obama has suspended activity on thirty-three exploratory Gulf of Mexico drill sites and canceled or suspended leases and drilling off the Virginia coast and in the Arctic. Thousands of soon-to-be idle oil industry people will await more study.
Study and study — an established pattern. I see Obamacrats study how to extend America’s lucky streak in escaping all but one of the Islamic terror attacks on America under the studious Obama. I see massive debt made more lethal almost weekly by concoctions disgorged from the studious minds of studious Democrats who promise to keep studying methods of debt reduction. As oil chokes Louisiana’s marshes, I see our president tilt chin on high, smile the academic smile, and beckon more study.
I see Louisiana falling down again after so admirably rising from Katrina.
The fish, shrimp, crabs, oysters — and the Louisianians who earn livings from harvesting nature’s bounty — must face the reality that Barack Obama embraces the progressive creed: “Study, study, study. Execute? Unthinkable, for study time would be reduced.”
As oil spewed and studying proceeded, my fellow native Louisianians and I witnessed in horror the news that regulations were waived to allow British Petroleum to operate Deepwater Horizon. Mr. Obama’s reaction? The president insults my intelligence and the intelligence of Louisianians and all Americans by pushing more regulation.
Regulation was increased under George W. Bush, and yet Deepwater Horizon exploded. But reality drifts unimpeded through the craniums of big-government advocates, who believe that if regulators shake fingers sufficiently hard at oil people, then the evil ones will cower under fear of — well, of something, and begin behaving as wagging fingers demand. The tactic ignores human corruptibility. While DH was ticking down to disaster, federal Minerals Management Service employees involved in oil industry regulation were partying on the industry’s tab. Companies like British Petroleum were playing footloose.
With the backdrop of reality, the progressive Mr. Obama’s “more regulation” approach constitutes an arrogant exercise in cognitive dissonance.
Progressive Theorem: When faced with a problem, study.
The Obama Corollary: When causes are discovered, ignore.
As ideologues are accustomed to doing, President Obama deals with reality by studying, discovering, ignoring, and then acting in a predetermined manner that no amount of study or discovery could have influenced in the first place.
Despite British Petroleum’s “Top Kill” operation failing to plug the Deepwater Horizon oil leak, because Obama has handcuffed oil exploration, gushing media puppets may still portray the President as cerebral, deliberate, and “thoughtful” for having done nothing to help Louisiana. Obama may yet be praised as enlightened for acting wisely in the end by slamming the oil industry and playing basketball and golf while sea life — and the livelihoods of people who harvest sea life — died.
The people of Louisiana are disgusted.