Image via ScrapeTV
There's been a lot of (mostly inane) discussion lately about whether Obama's been mad enough in his reactions to the BP Gulf spill. This topic was deemed important enough to swallow up time in media across the spectrum: cable news shows, columns in the New York Times, and TV pundit yell-offs, to name a few. Now, while I think there have been quite a few problems with Obama's response to the spill, refusal to throw a fit on TV isn't one of them. Watch the president sum up his own thoughts on the matter after the jump:
Pretty crazy, right? I mean, Larry King's body appears to literally be collapsing into itself. How long can that man stay on television? But I digress--back to Obama and his alleged lack of anger.
There have been a few good pieces on why criticizing the president for not appearing enraged is ridiculous. Each points out the fact that it's more likely the media itself that wants to see some seething -- it makes for a more riveting narrative if the president is publicly spouting off against the big evil corporations.
Climate Progress points out that on a number of radio shows and polls, average Americans don't seem to care whether the president is furious -- just whether he's getting the job done. Which is why I think the above clip is a perfectly reasonable stance for our president to have in the face of the disaster. I think it's safe to assume that Obama is pissed off about having to deal with this -- is there any persuasive argument out there that can be made that claims he's actually cool with having a catastrophe mar his presidency, threaten a huge region of the US, and disrupt his legislative agenda?
That said, it may have been politically prudent for Obama to show a bit more concern, if only to have his sincerity better expressed to affected Americans. Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell noted that if the spill had happened on Bill Clinton's watch, the man would have been down in the Gulf in a wetsuit. Which is not to say that Clinton would have cared more about the spill -- just that he would have better expressed his concern to the public. But again -- 'expressing concern' should never trump a competent response. It's just a political auxiliary. In the end, Obama will be judged on the merits and thoroughness of his response.