President Barack Obama is sticking with his philosophy of presidential multi-tasking, refusing to scrub his schedule of events that seem peripheral — even trivial — compared to unfolding catastrophe in the Gulf.
As oozing oil fouls Louisiana’s marshes, Obama has committed to maintaining the semblance of a regular schedule, adhering to his walk-and-chew-gum style of crisis management even as criticism of his administration mounts.
That includes a sit-down to talk hoops with Marv Albert, events touting the stimulus and Duke’s basketball team, a Memorial Day parade appearance in Illinois and a pair of fundraisers in California that roughly overlapped with a memorial service for 11 workers killed in the April 20th explosion on the Deepwater Horizon platform.
The White House is stands behind its walk-and-chew-gum-at-the-same-time mantra — but allies and enemies are puzzled over why Obama isn’t projecting more of a sense of urgency and outrage.
“I think this is one of the great lost political opportunities I’ve ever seen,” says former Clinton adviser James Carville, a Louisiana native sharply criticized the Obama administration’s response to the spill.
Obama earned high marks – and perhaps the presidency — for keeping his cool during the 2008 financial crisis, but that same determination to maintain an even keel during the Gulf disaster may be backfiring, with even allies saying he’s coming off as cold and uncharacteristically tone deaf.
“There are times and places where his cool, technocratic mastery is a great blessing… [B]ut, ideology aside, what do you think Reagan would have done in this situation? He’d be down there. Look at Jindal…..It is puzzling, the detachment,” said one veteran Democratic strategist, a frequent defender of Obama.
“I just cringe at the specter of the president doing a political fundraiser in San Francisco during the memorial service or instead of going to the memorial service,” the person added. “He was sure there for the coal miners in West Virginia, he spoke at their funerals. That juxtaposition can’t be good.” (Continues here)