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Story Archives: Chronicling the chief in a catastrophe
|Chronicling the chief in a catastrophe|
By the time this column hits press, it will be over 50 days since the Deepwater Horizon explosion put Louisiana back in the national spotlight.
Anytime Louisiana is dominating headlines, you can be certain of two things —it's not good news and there will be plenty of blame to go around.
Some have argued that the Obama administration has been getting a bad rap for not doing enough in the face of what has become the worst ecological disaster in out nation's history.
Being a keen political observer, I know that presidents often get a bad rap when things go wrong, so I decided to do a little research to see if the criticism being lobbied at our Chief Magistrate is warranted.
Now that I have delved into the matter a little deeper, I can report that those who are taking shots at Obama for doing nothing as tens of millions of gallons of crude continue to churn in the Gulf of Mexico are mistaken.
Our president has been busy and this chronicle will serve to illustrate just how busy he has been.
It should be remembered that the oil rig explosion caught our president unaware, as he was retuning from Los Angeles where he battled unemployment by raising money for ultra-leftist Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, who was fighting a highly contested primary election to keep her job.
When he got the news about the disaster in the Gulf, Obama wasted no time and attended a reception for G20 labor officials the very next day. As far as I can tell, nothing about the oil spill was discussed at the reception, but it was still early in this saga.
The next day, April 22, as early reports from the Coast Guard estimated that as many as 1,000 barrels of oil were gushing into the Gulf, Obama did his part to save the environment by attending another reception.
It was in honor of Earth Day so Mother Nature understood.
Taking the bull by the horns, Obama soon left Washington for a family vacation where he played golf, mountain hiked and ate out a lot. Everyone needs sometime off after a hard week of receptions and fundraising, so we will have to cut him just a little slack for this short excursion.
The next day, April 26, Obama was tied up with another reception at the White House in honor of the New York Yankees, but the following day he promptly boarded Air Force One to fly to Iowa to eat rhubarb pie at a place called Jerry's Diner.
The next few days where a whirlwind of activity in which he managed to fly to Missouri to eat at another diner— they, presumably had good pie— attend another fundraiser in Washington and appear in a televised comedy routine in New York with Jay Leno.
It's unknown if Leno had pie.
On May 2, a day shy of two weeks since the rig explosion, Obama courageously decided to forgo pie to flew to Louisiana to survey the damage the ruptured well had wrought.
This fact-finding mission can be summed up in this report by the Washington Post: "He flew in and out of New Orleans on May 2, drove two hours to a Coast Guard station and got a briefing before taking a quick helicopter tour. He did not even see the oil slick."
After almost seeing the devastation first-hand, Obama knew he had to take action and attended another reception for the U.S. Navy football team on May 3.
May 4 brought another reception and lunch for Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel — not to be confused with weasels, which are indigenous to White House luncheons.
On May 5, the president took a respite to honor our national holiday, Cinco De Mayo. To be honest, it's not yet a national holiday, but it could be by the time this column hits the press so why take chances.
From May 6 to May 13, Obama's schedule included a speech on the economy, two golf outings, a commencement address at Hampton University, another White House reception and a flight to Buffalo, NY. to eat at another diner.
I think someone should have whispered in his ear about Jesse's Steak and Seafood here in Winnsboro. The food is probably as good as anyplace in Buffalo and he would have been a lot closer to the oil spill. They have pie, too.
The next day, May 14, Obama finally makes a speech on the oil spill in the Rose Garden, which he followed with two days of golf from May 15 to May 16.
Things were popping at the White House with a reception for the University of Connecticut women's basketball team on May 17 (there seems to be a pattern here), but the president was on the road again the next day —to visit a plant in Ohio.
Obama's activities from May 19 May 24 include receptions for Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Bono of U2; a White House dance and hosting an Asian American celebration.
This brings us to May 25, when the president had oil on the brain and flew to San Francisco to rub elbows with the Getty Oil family —megabuck contributers to the Democratic Party.
While in California, he took time to raise a few more million bucks for Boxer's campaign, visit a solar facility and meet with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, as our own Gov. Bobby Jindal was begging Washington to green light his plan to build barrier islands in an effort to save what he could of Louisiana's beleaguered coast.
Obama rounded out his week with a White House receptions for the Duke Blue Devils and the U.S. World Cup Team before hosting a party for Jewish Americans and jetting off for a family vacation in Chicago.
Unable to find good pie in Chicago, the president decides to make a second trip to Louisiana where he meets with officials and assured the nation that the Gulf oil spill is his "highest priority."
The next day he went out for a night of barbecue and beer after attending a basketball game.
Not much of note happened over the next few days besides a trip to Pittsburgh to talk up the economy adding about 430,000 new jobs —almost all being temporary U.S. Census employment — and a White House concert by Paul McCartney.
It should be remembered that McCartney was known as the cute Beatle. If it would have been Ringo, I'm sure the president would have been in Louisiana.
After another White House party on June 3, Obama was back in Louisiana on June 4 for five hours, where he recorded his weekly radio address.
This week, the president has been on top of things by attending a high school graduation in Kalamazoo, Mich. on Monday
As you read this, he and the First Lady would have already hosted a congressional picnic on the White House lawn.
Sources say there will be pie.