Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Spill baby spill

Like practically everyone else, I get a little more heart-broken every time I see a live television feed of oil coming out of a pipe a mile under water in the Gulf of Mexico. Or, when shots of the coastline are broadcast. It's almost too depressing to follow, and I'm 1,200 miles away.

It's all a reminder that this is a dangerous business, drilling out at sea. I know it's probably necessary to cut down on oil imports, and that there are 5,300 other wells in the Gulf which are not leaking.

Still, it's difficult not to be a little upset at the people who chanted "drill, baby, drill" at the Republican convention in 2008. It's almost like thinking back to someone who chanted "react, baby, react," when the nuclear plant at Three Mile Island developed serious problems.

The thought struck me that the Gulf spill has become a perfect way to harden the lines between the liberals and the conservatives in this country, just when you thought they couldn't get any harder.

It's like a game of Who Do You Trust? Or, Who Don't You Trust? The stereotype among conservatives is that the government can't do much right, and dropped the ball when it came to regulation ... plus didn't react fast enough when this started to happen. Columnist Peggy Noonan thinks the spill means Obama is decidedly out of touch and won't survive politically.

The stereotype among liberals is that big business can't be trusted with anything, and that it will lie when it suits its bottom line. Oh, and it would have been nice if the Bush Administration had better a little better when it had to make sure what needed to be done got done.

There's probably a little truth in all of this. We're not a patient people at times -- look at how many are angry that the unemployment rate has stayed so high in spite of the fact we're trying to recover from the worst economic crisis since the 1930's. And we're run out of patience about the spill. But in the tradition of "don't get upset over things we can't control," we're resigned to the fact that best minds in the private and public sector are stumped about what to do next.

The guess is that we'll be dealing with the environmental damage for years to come. We won't have to wait as long for the rhetorical level to heat up to new heights.

1 comment:

Jeff C said...

Take a look at Charles Krauthammer's column in the WaPo, its a great read. The environmentalists have pushed our drilling out to sea where the effects of an accident are more pronounced - instead of into the arctic where there is actually more oil and spills are less risky.

The fact of the matter is we need to drill. The question is where can we do it with less impact to the environment and the economy?