This is not Obama’s Katrina. If anything, it’s Bush’s second Katrina. - Macleans.ca
 

This is not Obama’s Katrina. If anything, it’s Bush’s second Katrina.

What other ticking time bombs await?


 

WIN MCNAMEE/ ABACA USA / KEYSTONE

The only substance possibly more toxic than the thousands of barrels of oil that continue to gush daily into the Gulf of Mexico from BP’s broken Macondo well is the flood of commentary spewing from the mouths and pens of U.S. Republicans and their allies in the partisan press. The right-wing talking point of the moment is that this spill has turned into “Obama’s Katrina,” marking the moment when the President’s fundamental inadequacies as a leader are laid bare for all to see. But that’s only when they aren’t blaming “government” itself, or at least the quaintly misguided left-wing conceit that government can do anything usefully at all.

There’s been no small amount of revenge-seeking by Republicans who have always felt Bush was treated unfairly over Katrina. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Dubya’s long-serving hit man Karl Rove pointed out that while Bush had to work through and with local authorities in Louisiana, the Gulf is an area of undisputed federal authority. He took great pleasure in turning Obama’s own words against him, suggesting the President might rue his complaint about Bush’s response to Katrina: “I wish that the federal government had been up to the task.”

Except the real lesson from Katrina was never about the obligatory cosmetics of federal leadership and the need for the president to be seen to be Fully Engaged in Doing Something. What made Katrina such a perfect symbol of Bush’s legacy was not that he was slow off the mark in taking charge. Rather, it was his cheerful indulgence of cronyism and you’re-doing-a-heckuva-job incompetence, which revealed the entire ideological thrust of his administration, namely that the federal government could never serve as a positive force in American life.

That essential point was made last week by Fox News commentator and former Mike Huckabee adviser Jim Pinkerton, who wrote on his blog that Obama has “finally confronted the reality that the federal government doesn’t work very well. Uncle Sam doesn’t have core competencies, he has core incompetencies.” This is, of course, just the latest version of the long-standing Republican gambit of denouncing the inadequacy of the very government they’ve been in charge of for most of the past 40 years. The strategy is always the same: once in power, start stuffing the most important agencies with partisan hacks who are either complete boneheads or actively hostile to the institution they serve. This ensures either regulatory failure or regulatory capture, which is subsequently used as proof that government is useless.

This is pretty much what happened with the Minerals Management Service, the agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior responsible for regulation of offshore oil drilling. As is now well known, the agency became thoroughly corrupted during the Bush years, to the point where dozens of MMS staff were caught doing drugs and sleeping with their counterparts from the energy industry—and that’s when they weren’t accepting free gifts and holidays from the companies they were supposed to be overseeing. Meanwhile, MMS scientists who raised concerns over the safety and environmental impact of proposed drilling projects were repeatedly muzzled by their bosses, even as energy companies were routinely permitted to more or less write their own inspection reports.
Occasionally, the Republican inclination to tweak the nose of their most loathed institutions results in pure comedy, as when Bush sent John Bolton to Turtle Bay to piss on all the rugs at the United Nations. But more often the result is nothing short of tragic.

While it has largely fallen out of the public’s interest, the methane explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia that killed 29 is in many ways even more scandalous than what is happening in the Gulf. The company responsible, Massey, had been repeatedly cited over the past few years for methane-related safety violations. Yet even though it was widely known to be running multiple unsafe operations, had one of the worst safety records in the country, had paid over US$4 million in criminal and civil fines for safety violations after a fire at another mine that killed two people in 2006, and had millions more in outstanding unpaid citations, the company was allowed to keep operating, and keep killing its workers.

Like the BP spill, the mine explosion happened under what was nominally Obama’s watch. But in both cases, the disasters were the inevitable failures of a regulatory apparatus that had been deliberately and systematically sabotaged under Bush’s two terms. That is why the BP spill is not even close to being “Obama’s Katrina.” If anything, it is George W. Bush’s Second Katrina—or, if you count the mine explosion, his Third Katrina. Or, if you count the regulatory capture of the SEC by Wall Street and the way permitting investment banks to self-regulate contributed to the mortgage crisis, his Fourth Katrina.

The question that should really be worrying Americans is just how many ticking time bombs the Republicans have left strewn throughout the federal regulatory infrastructure. Where will the next disaster strike? Which agency will be held responsible? The only certainty is that the longer the Democrats are in power, the easier it will be for Republicans to blame the President, or, ideally, blame the very idea of government.

This isn’t mere partisanship, it is nihilism. And it is pure poison in a democracy.


 

This is not Obama’s Katrina. If anything, it’s Bush’s second Katrina.

  1. Of course, the messiah can do no wrong can he.I beg to differ, and so do thousands of Americans

    • idiot

      • He is, I agree

    • Oh, wow. Like, zing.

    • "I beg to differ, and so do thousands of Americans"

      Leaving tens, if not hundreds, of millions to agree.

  2. Portraying Republican leaders as intentionally sabotaging the federal government is nonsense: what sort of conspirator, having reached the top of a rigged system, proceeds to intentionally destroy the means of his own power? Washington politicians – be they left or right on the spectrum – use appointments to reward friends and ensure future allegiance. There are revolving doors between government agencies and the business they regulate. These factors often combine to result in tragedy.

    Acting as if the cronyism and power-trading inherent in a government with its hand on every switch materialized under George W. Bush was pathetic when Time magazine's Joe Klein did it seven days ago (Sunday, May 30, Chris Matthews Show: "This is more Bush's second Katrina than Obama's first."), and the intervening week hasn't made the argument any stronger.

    • In the particular case of neo-conservatives, one can make a strong argument that weakening government structures bolsters their argument that government is useless, and thus entrenches the means of their own power. (War and prisons always excepted, for some reason).

      • From the article, "Rather, it was his cheerful indulgence of cronyism and you're-doing-a-heckuva-job incompetence, which revealed the entire ideological thrust of his administration, namely that the federal government could never serve as a positive force in American life."

        I can only assume Andrew Potter has never heard of No Child Left Behind. President Bush, though he's painted as a callous warmonger whose only interests in office were big oil and bloodshed, was hardly a penny-pincher with regard to the federal bureaucracy. See http://www.cato.org/pubs/tbb/tbb-0308-16.pdf

        The George W. Bush administration's "compassionate conservatism" lacked a "starve the beast" mentality with regard to domestic spending. Potter asserted that Bush & Co. intentionally undermined MMS for the benefit of pals in the energy industry, and could have left it at that. But, whatever the merits of that argument, he opted for a broader conspiracy theory which is demonstrably false.

        • You're confusing spending money on programs with actively ensuring their utility. The former secures votes, while the latter can often be a matter of ideological neglect.

          It's not news that with the possible exception of Thatcher, modern conservatives have spent with the best of them.

          • I'm not sure you want to be comparing the spending of modern conservatives to that of Obama. You'll lose that argument by about a factor of two to four.

          • Sadly, G, Sean is not that far off. Sure, Obama's actual spending and committed spending is jaw-dropppingly massive, knocking the lights out. But when you set aside this champion of fiscal futility, governing conservatives are indeed more than equal to the dubious honour of spendthrift irresponsibility.

          • Granted, but the thread is about Obama vs. Bush. In terms of spending it's no contest.

          • Do you really want to compare Obama to Bush in terms of spending?

            Just to be clear, my point is that we have numerous examples of modern conservatives making noise about restraint, but generally doing no better at balancing the books (or really cutting expenditures) than liberals.

          • I grant you the point about modern "conservatives" in general. But the thread is about Obama vs. Bush. It's not a comparison that works in your favour in terms of spending.

          • I'm well aware of the distinction, but we're talking about Potter's assertion that "the entire ideological thrust" of Bush's administration was "that the federal government could never serve as a positive force in American life."

            Why, then, would Bush not have used the veto pen more often when huge domestic expenditures came to his desk? In terms of popular support, there are hundreds of bureaucratic contraptions Bush could have fought against that would have affected D's more negatively than R's. Skim a summary of any of the Farm Bills he signed, for instance.

            There are miles between domestic spending under Bush and the amounts we would expect if Bush spent just enough to secure votes without gorging a federal government that, in the position Potter attributed to him, "could never serve as a positive force in American life."

      • "War and prisons always excepted"

        A lot of the war and prison system has been privatized as well, because of the profits to be had. I'll bet Bush, Rumsfled and Cheney are getting richer by the day as a result of the privatization and limited government regulation of those systems. Like the war in Iraq, Halliburton is reaping huge profits from the US prison system. The victims of this increasingly profitable business are petty criminals and Mexican immigrants.

  3. While the anti-Obama venom verges on treasonous (in that the radicals seemingly would rather see their country collapse than support their President), I'd be a bit cautious in hanging everything on Bush's legacy. Powerful business interests have trumped reasonable environmental concerns for a long, long time. Blaming Bush so exclusively sounds awfully similar to the Obama-bashing you decry.

    And I think it's fair – without making bullsh*t Katrina comparisons – to call Obama on his habit of hanging back too long in face of crises. For a guy who is perhaps the best orator of a generation, he seems to get shy at the most inopportune times.

    • Y'know, I happen to think that his dropping the pitching wedge at the fifth hole every week in order to fly down to the coast to do absolutely nothing useful is far more cringeworthy than hanging back. What's the First Lamenter supposed to do, plug the damn hole himself?

      But that's probably just me.

      • Point taken. And I love watching folks castigate him for pernicious state intervention one day, and howl for the weight of his office to be used the next. There's no upside in trying to please one's dedicated haters.

        But I think this counts as something of an environmental 9/11 – and that it was evidently so from the outset. He missed the opportunity to either establish a point man, or take on the role himself, for something that was obviously a disaster of epic proportions. And it seems kind of similar to his long silence on the health care debate.

        • OK, then, I guess it's ok to burn however many barrels of refined crude out the back end of Air Force One to push demand and consume supply of fossil fuels, the better to get right up close to the crude sloshing about the Gulf.

          • What the heck has gotten into you tonight? :)

            I'm talking about broadcasting from his office, not bullsh*t Commander in Chief tours of disaster zones. Leadership doesn't require action in all cases. It can sometimes take the form of conveying information (remember Don Low during the SARS crisis?).

            And crude oil spewing into the ocean – in this magnitude – is bad for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with burning petroleum to fly planes or drive cars.

          • And crude oil spewing into the ocean – in this magnitude – is bad for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with burning petroleum to fly planes or drive cars.

            Greenpeace ad following the Exxon Valdez spill (paraphrased): (photo of the ship's captain) "His driving didn't cause the oil spill off Alaska. Yours did."

            Insatiable demand for energy means drilling for it wherever it can be found. This BP calamity, in addition to the mess in the Gulf and the tragic loss of life, is a loss of all that refine-able crude. Burning petroleum unnecessarily is not as unrelated to crude oil spewing into the Gulf as you may think.

          • I'm not quite sure why you're quoting Greenpeace pornography, but I feel like we're straying a bit.

            I get the meta point of consumption and all, but my simple assertion is that the President ought to be out front (or appoint someone) in communicating during such crises. It's fair to say Obama hasn't worked that angle to its fullest.

      • I tend to agree that there's not much he could have done to cap the spill, other than stay out of the way and not try to use beach backdrops for camera ops. The BP boys are the experts; they can do it better than the bureaucrats.

        But, he sure as hell should have been helping Louisiana get some protection for their coastline. As I understand it a President has to wait for the State Governor to request assistance in cases like this, but Jindal did so almost immediately and still hasn't gotten the aid he requested. That's hard to excuse.

        • Be fair. Wasn't there a federal spokescritter who pointed out that the federal government was proactively "studying" the request of the LA Governor?

          • I think he was busy handling Texas' request for assistance with illegal immigration. Wait, come to think of it, he was ignoring that too. Then he must have been helping Arizona… wait, he was just criticizing Arizona while doing nothing. I guess he must have been really busy helping the Clintons pay off Sestak. No doubt he was busy doing something.

  4. Though I dislike the expletive, I agree with you wholeheartedly. Everyone seems to forget the Bush-basing that has gone on for years, yet now that the present administration is being disagreed with, it is unfair? Please, give me a break!

  5. Occasionally, the Republican inclination to tweak the nose of their most loathed institutions results in pure comedy, as when Bush sent John Bolton to Turtle Bay to piss on all the rugs at the United Nations.

    Short of demolishing that corrupt P.O.S., what else should the US do with the UN? I am reliably informed that an ambassador is appointed to defend his own country's interests. Pissing on the rugs is likely a rather minimalist version of what was required.

    • I'd have butted heads with the guy repeatedly had we been working together, but I can't deny that Bolton was awesome. Seeing him speaking truth to idiocy at the UN was a genuine palate cleanser.

      • Palate? I thought Potter said it was the rugs…

  6. So, it is nihiliistic "pure poison" to dare to suggest that government has repeatedly demonstrated a talent for screwing things up royally? Funny. I always called it history.

    • Oh, don't get all Randish on me now – I count on you to be the voice of sensible libertarianism around here. Potter's a bit over the top here, but I'm not sure we need to be so absolutist in rebuttal.

      • Absolutist? I didn't say always — I said repeatedly. This is a debatable point? Those who don't study history…

        It is not Randish to dare to suggest that a government that — Focus! — handles a small number of most-crucial files might just be able to get some of those right.

        And what is really pure poison in a democracy is to suggest, as Andrew Potter does here, that making an argument with which he happens to disagree is "pure poison."

        • That's a little more nuanced.

          • Sorry. I guess I wasn't trying hard enough.

    • Good rebuttal, an astute way of putting it. I call it history too. But Potter knows about all those nefarious Republicans that are to blame for everything! How did he find out?

  7. Care to articulate why you feel that way?

  8. Did Heather Mallick write this for you?

    • It sounds like it

  9. Here's a recent piece from a left-leaning think tank that similarly attempts to brand the BP oil catastrophe as "Cheney's Katrina". Wonder if Potter read it.

    The Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed by President George W. Bush on August 8, 2005, achieved many of the goals set out by Cheney's secret task force in 2001 and ushered in a new era of deregulation, self-regulation, and utter disregard for environmental and safety laws. It also coincided with a culture of deep and widespread corruption at the Interior Department, including the Minerals Management Service. This era unquestionably set the stage for the BP oil catastrophe—Cheney's Katrina.

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/06/oi

  10. I'm glad you did this (list all the wacky statements) so I did not have to. This Potter post is full of more holes than Swiss cheese. He's starting to sound like Naomi Klein.

    Potter really jumped the shark this time. Wow.

  11. This isn't mere partisanship, it is nihilism. And it is pure poison in a democracy.

    Wow, that is one bizarre statement. Potter has really, really gone off the deep end here.

    No matter what happens, Bush is to blame, and not only that, he's to blame for destroying democracy, even after his party lost the last election. Also, because the Republicans are frequently running the government, somehow they are responsible for destroying the government. This is truly bizarre stuff, it makes me wonder if Potter is being paid for this. I wonder how many years of power Obama would need before Potter would assign him responsibility for his job? 10? 20? Dictator for life?

    Potter, exactly how many years do you think Obama needs to fix the government? Is the government so large and chaotic (yet somehow so small that the Republicans managed to destroy it) that Obama is incapable of whipping it into shape in a mere two years? What will it take? A decade to turn it around? Shall we suspend democracy for Obama-dictator rule for 10 years, to escape the nihilism? Was it just Bush's 8 years that are to blame, or shall we skip the 8 years of Clinton and blame the elder Bush as well? Does Obama need to undo Reagan? Did Reagan poison democracy too?

    This Potter piece is the kind of stuff that comes out of Cuba.

    Is this satire? Is it real?

    • I also found myself wondering if this was a sloppy bit of satire. In Potter's view, the longer Bush is out of office the more devious his method of causing disasters.

      If something terrible happens at a Montana wind farm 8 years from now, that will prove Bush planted low-level conspirators who took some time to work into positions of power. If California breaks off the mainland US in 2030 and floats away, we'll know that Bush installed delayed-incompetence sleeper agents in one of the dozens of bureaucracies responsible.

    • Well said, s_c_f. Is Potter for real, or spoofing himself? Difficult to determine…

  12. The difference between this and katrina is that Katrina was a terrorist attack. Just check out the book Katrina Nights. Or go to http://hurricanekatrinakaif.com

  13. This is, without any doubt, a most poisonous column. One should really not be exposed to such bile in what purports to be a respectable and serious publication which in fact has a most patchy record of impartiality in its reportage. Mr Editor, why don't you sort it? Or perhaps you adhere to the view that the only jounalism is yellow journalism.

    • ex canuck

      – What planet are you on?? I am a Canuck who lives in US & yes GOP & their s (i.e. FOX aka FIX news, Sean Hannity, Limbaugh , Glen "the idiot" Beck) are ALL trying to hang the Gulf oil spill in its entirety at the feet the Obama administration. Potter is correct that the seeds of this disaster were sown during the 8 yrs. that a TX oilman was in charge, with the emphasis upon zero regulatory oversight.

      But if you call the right wingers on this, you are almost shot as some kind of subversive. Keep watching Glenn "the idiot" Beck, FIX (FOX) News & listening to Rush Limbaugh & living in the tea party fantasy world

  14. If the republicans couldn't get the federal government to the point where it could do basic things after running it for 20 of the last 28 years and eight of the last 9 years, what do I have to lose by never voting for a Republican again?

  15. I have recently reached the conclusion that leftists are delusional. This article has strengthened my suspicion.

  16. This is only Bush's second Katrina in the very palpable and real sense that Obama is a very similar president to George W. Bush when you get down to brass tacks. This leak occurred 20 days after Obama announced an increase in offshore drilling, nor did Obama make any efforts to regulate offshore drilling. Like Bush, Obama sunk all of his political capital into an unpopular quagmire that yielded disappointing results (for Bush it was Iraq, for Obama it is his healthcare plan, which is essentially a boon to health insurance companies).

    Potter's column is essentially an argument that the Republicans can't really criticize Obama because they would have probably also failed to regulate offshore drilling (and indeed they did fail while they were in office). By that token one can't really criticize any of Obama's presidency – from his continued commitment of thousands of American troops to foreign wars (when were the troops supposed to be home, again?), his enlargement of the national debt, TARP (which was sort of between administrations), the persistence of don't ask don't tell, and the continued internment of enemy combatants in Guantanamo Bay.

    I offer a different story. Partisan Democrats are unwilling to criticize a president that has largely failed to deliver on their policy priorities. I don't think Potter is exceptionally partisan, but this column is emblematic of this approach. "Not worse than Bush" is not a particularly high bar for a guy that was supposed to be the next FDR.

  17. Give. Me. A. Break. Hey Andrew, how about you report on the amount of donations Obama received from BP during his election campaign? Or the number of safety and environmental waivers his administration signed off on for BP. I love how Canadian "media" still fall all over themselves to felate a guy that most Americans now realize is a complete and total empty suit. Latest Obama poll: 42% and falling. Keep drinking the Kool-Aid though Andrew. Bush has been out of office for nearly 18 months — this is Obama's mess and he failed.

  18. Say its not so, after all its probably Bush's fault, (sarc)

    The reality is, Bammy at best is a marginal community organizer, with absolutely no business in the white house.

    He dithered until he couldn't anymore now its time to face the music.

    Potter, you wouldn't challenge your "Fav Black Guy" so why do I expect anything different now.

  19. So if George W is responsible for the BP oil spill, which happend at least 14 months after he handed over the keys to the White House, does that mean that 9/11 is now Clinton's fault, since that happend less than 7 months after he left?

    • yes, some of the intelligence failures were surely Clinton's fault.

    • Yes, he was too busy with Monica.The SS Cole was one thing that should have alerted him, but he was otherwise preoccupied

  20. Is this opinion-piece a joke?

  21. Very interesting that in the U.S. the right keeps on saying that the media is so liberal in spite of the fact that 95% of talk radio is dominated by right-wing pundits, that Fox News is #1, that they don’t give equal time to progressives and most telling is that this is the ONLY time I have seen an article coming from the angle that you write. Of course it had to come from Canada.

    Still Obama needs to take some responsibility in his calling for more drilling in the Gulf as have most right-wing media. And it’s a fact that Obama accepted donations from BP oil.

    But the U.S. media the oil spill is Obama’s Katrina. The underwear bomber was Obama’s Katrina. H1N1 was Obama’s Katrina. Haiti was Obama’s Katrina. The GM Bankruptcy was Obama’s Katrina. The Ft. Hood shootings were Obama’s Katrina. Even the Kentucky ice storms were Obama’s Katrina. Hasn’t the right wing ever heard the story of the “Boy Who Cried Wolf”? What’s almost as bad is that the so-called liberal media seems complicit in this spin.

    I can’t tell you how many times in almost 5 years that I’ve heard conservatives yell that Katrina was something that should have been handled by the locals. This in spite of the fact that it was larger than 9/11, the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Northridge California earthquake and the San Diego firestorms combined.

    Now these same folks, many led by Rush Limbaugh are saying that the oil spill, which is the fault of a private corporation IS suddenly the responsibility of the Federal Government. How hypocritical can they get? And to think in 2008 how many right wing media members lied that Katrina didn’t cause any oil spills and therefore we should be expanding oil drilling in the Gulf.

    Paul Harris
    Author, “Diary From the Dome, Reflections on Fear and Privilege During Katrina”

    • " Katrina was something that should have been handled by the locals."

      What was most notable about Katrina in respect of who did what, is the extent to which the various government agencies actively prevented locals from doing anything (and by locals I include neighbors). It is probable that the effects of the disaster would have been much less if the feds had got out of the way.

      For this particular disaster, Obama is going to wear the many deficiencies of an over-centralized and over-politicized federal government, just as Bush did for Katrina. The truth is that government has assumed and continues to assume responsibilities for activities it cannot properly manage and control.

      The result is corporate misbehavior, bureaucratic incompetence and corruption, followed by political hay-making on all sides.

      I can find no effective difference between democrats and republicans on this issue – it just depends who was in power at any moment as to who got the pay-offs, and who now gets the blame.

  22. Is this someone writing a parody of Potter? Because Potter is normally not this ridiculous.

  23. Wow, there are Conbots around here quite often, but now we've got Americo-Conbots!

    • idiot

    • idiot, seconded

  24. Wow – a seriously weak-sauce article from a normally good columnist. Very disappointing.

    Please give names, actions and dates to corroborate the following claim you have made: "…the disasters were the inevitable failures of a regulatory apparatus that had been deliberately and systematically sabotaged under Bush's two terms."

    If the following is true ("As is now well known, the agency became thoroughly corrupted during the Bush years…"), then why didn't the new administration clean house? Who did they replace? Who didn't they replace, and why?

    "The only certainty is that the longer the Democrats are in power, the easier it will be for Republicans to blame the President…". Um, yeah. That's the point of having a president – it's someone who is actually responsible and accountable. I'm pretty sure the POTUS supposed to do the hard parts of the job too, not just host parties and give speeches.

    If Obama's government is just going to be "it's Bush's fault!!!", then 2012 can't come fast enough. You show leadership and fix problems, or get out of the way.

    • Very good Chris. I recall that Obama campaigned against offshore drilling; so he, and his appointee, should have ensured that all regulations were enforced. Instead they waived certain regulations. No one blames Obama for the spill; however, Americans are concerned that clean-up was delayed and poorly organized.

      • PrairieAnne – What planet are you on?? I am a Canuck who lives in US & yes GOP & their s (i.e. FOX aka FIX news, Sean Hannity, Limbaugh , Glen "the idiot" Beck) are ALL trying to hang the Gulf oil spill in its entirety at the feet the Obama administration. Potter is correct that the seeds of this disaster were sown during the 8 yrs. that a TX oilman was in charge, with the emphasis upon zero regulatory oversight.

        But if you call the right wingers on this, you are almost shot as some kind of subversive.

  25. The only thing more stomach-turning than the "intelligista" showing their Pavlovian conditioning at the mere mention of the word "bush" is their eye-gouging, face-clawing clamour to publicly fellate the Obamassiah anytime an AmCit living under the current regime dare suggest that he or she Hopes for Change in the executive branch come 2012…

  26. You could, in Canuckistan, include the memorable event at Walkerton, Reaganite Mike Harris successful deregulation of the water safety bureaucracy. Reagan began by deregulating the airline industry, I wonder how that contributed to 9-11. For these people it's ideology. Bush and Harris and Harper and Reagan are ideologues who believe in Laissez Faire capitalism because it's simplistic. The trouble is, it doesn't work. It's a fairy tale no less than was Communism.

    • Airlines aren't responsible for airport security – airports (which are usually publicly owned) are. Secondly, Jimmy Carter deregulated the airlines, not Reagan. I suppose he is a laissez faire ideologue too?

  27. You lock stepper who walk the Bush walk and drink yourselves drunk on the koolaid, I am laughing my you know what off watching your country fall apart, thats the way empires fall you know…from within. It is plain that for 8 years Bush play president, the guy was an idiot, but you right wingers see an intellegent guy, your brain dead.

    In the mean time I will watch the ticking time bombs go off, til you are no more, hey, the world would be a better place without you. You don't own the world.

  28. Bush did it.

    Right.

    So… how are those circulation numbers looking, Macleans?

  29. Not sure why everyone is so quick to blame Junior. He does not have the IQ necessary to have caused all these problems. All he did was read the script provided by his backers and sign what he was told to.

  30. Bush is also responsible for the War of 1812, childhood obesity, train wrecks, rain on weekends, and ants at your picnic. Obama is the glorious one…come to save us all…praise Obama Hallelujah!!!

  31. The article is spot on. Funny to watch right wingers wriggle around; merely showing outrage and nothing any more tangible than that simply due to the fact that they've got nothing with which they can disprove the author's arguments.

  32. The only real 'poison' in our democracy is the sick, infantile, pandering leftist media. So a single mine explosion (not exactly a safe industry) is worse than the leaking of millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico? The accidental death of TWO people, FOUR years ago is evidence of long standing malfeasance? Psss…don't let the construction industry know, Potter, as they have much more blood on their hands. And of course there was no shenanigans going on while Clinton was in the White House?? I guess providing, you know, facts…and references…and details are not important to the modern journalist. You can apparently make any unsubstantiated anecdotal claims you want as long as you have righteousness on your side. I am not sure which is sadder….Potter, or the magazine that publishes this twaddle.

  33. This article is a good example of how the left wing shapes the news to suit their purposes. It is an example of telling a lie by the omission of fact.

    The fact is that the BP oil well in question was given the go-ahead by Barack Obama's team in the Department of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. That happened in February 2009. Obama's boys let this project go ahead without environmental scrutiny because they said there wasn't much chance of an oil spill.

    So, Andrew Potter is manipulating the scenario for his own devious ends which only serves to underscore him as a disreputable writer/academic.

  34. Given the fact that it was Obama's team that paved the way for the oil spill, what responsibility do the Maclean's editors have when a writer (Andrew Potter) submits a story which is inaccurate because it is based on the omission of salient facts? Are they complicit in this or is their fund of knowledge so limited that the Maclean's editors didn't know that this BP well was under the jurisdiction of the Obama team?

  35. It only shows how a person with so much Charisma does not necessarily translate to good governance. As an observation so far, Obama and his wife is great in photo ops, showing face, rubbing with personalities, great in talking, talking, talking, and talking some more. That is why journalists and personalities (whose career depends on talking words) love him. If America's choices of presidency is limited between two kinds of presidents, one who talks too much (Obama) and a bumbling less talker Bush then America's problem has no end in sight.

    • or maybe a president who is competent and not corrupt? both parties are basically the same thing, despite all the name calling back and forth.

  36. The author is absolutely right. Politians come to power to not to rule, but to make money. "Deregulation" and incompetent government create more opportunities for private companies to make more money.
    deregulate baby, deregulate…

  37. You all make me sick. Stop blaming the Govt for our absolute failures as humans, also Bush and Co. never lifted a finger to help those people after Katrina struck. Have you seen the place lately, still demolished. There is no pride in America anymore.
    Stop this partisan crap, What could Obama do short of what he has already done? Lets see you brainiacs fix that leak, good luck.
    The CEOs and huge money will and always will be the ones who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Don't be so naive.

  38. How long do you have to be in charge of all aspects of government before YOU take responsibility.?Yes Bush didn't take control but neither did Obama and his appointed staff. He says the buck stops with me but never fails to say….this is the last administrations fault….I'm just going to fix it. Give us a break…..when you take over a business and run it for over a year….you had the opportunity to make changes and when you don't.

    If it's always the other guys fault we will never make head way.