Today in the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove pens an op-ed titled: “Yes, the Gulf Spill is Obama’s Katrina.” He predictably places blame on Obama for a supposedly inadequate response to the BP oil spill. But the real significance of the op-ed is not what conservative-strategist Rove has to say about Obama; rather, it’s that Rove is implicitly acknowledging that Bush screwed up the response to Katrina. Rove is essentially trying to make the case that Obama mismanaged a disaster almost as terribly as he and Bush did. TP explains why this op-ed is news, but not the way Rove thinks.
This is breaking news because, for years, despite all the evidence to the contrary, Rove has defended his administration’s disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina. As recently as March, Rove told ABC News:
The federal government’s responsibilities were met under Katrina which were to provide the immediate assistance, to pluck people off of the roofs.
And in his recently released memoir, Rove “staunchly defends” Bush’s handling of the disaster, and praises former FEMA administrator Michael “Heck of a job, Brownie” Brown.
It’s refreshing to see Rove finally concede his own failures, albeit in a roundabout way. After all, it was he who “was in charge” of the botched reconstruction effort. In his book, Rove touted, “I’m one of the people responsible” for the administration’s response to Katrina.
Rove’s analysis would be sharper if he noted that “Obama’s Katrina” actually highlights some very real Bush and Cheney failures. By filling the Minerals Management Service “” the government agency responsible for regulating off shore oil drilling “” with industry shills who took drugs and had sex with the officials they were supposed to be policing, the Bush administration dangerously eroded the regulatory regime, and missed warnings that could have helped prevent the BP disaster.
– Reposted from Think Progress.
JR: I would add that in the case of Katrina, the Bush administration ignored its own administration’s weather forecasts for days. In the case of the spill, the reverse is true. BP basically misled everybody about the size of the spill “” by a factor of 5 “” and hence their ability to control it. It was NOAA “” which is to say the Obama administration “” that realized BP was lowballing the leak, that the problem was beyond the company’s resources, and that much broader action was needed (see “Looks like BP stands for Burning Petroleum; worst spill since ExxonValdez heads for LA coast“).