Books, Pop Culture and Political Humor from J.D. Rhoades, best-selling author, attorney, and award-winning newspaper columnist.
"Like [Lee] Child, Rhoades dishes out one airtight action scene after another, mixing in just enough character-building moments and holding our interest in a full cast of nicely developed supporting players."-Booklist
I've gone through a lot of emotions in the past few weeks as I watch report after report on the horrific oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. It started with concern, progressed through alarm, then horror, then dread, then more horror, then outrage, back to dread, then anger, a couple of days of numb shock, and now I've settled into a kind of simmering fury, although to be honest, distinguishing that from my normal mood is a bit tricky.
Were I the president, I'd be ordering Navy SEALs to blast their way into BP's corporate -headquarters, haul the officers and the board of directors out onto the street in handcuffs, and start shooting one an hour until they stopped the leak.
This is why it's a good thing I'm not the president.
The cries for the man who actually is president to "Fix it! Fix it now!" have spread beyond the usual "Blame Barack First" contingent. When pressed for details, however, you can usually get them to admit that, well, it's true, the U.S. government isn't failing to deploy some sort of supersecret well-capping sub that could stop the leak.
And yes, they'll admit when cornered, "kicking BP off the site" would be counterproductive. For good or ill, the oil companies who do the drilling are the only ones who have the deep-sea technology to even try to stop a leak like this.
So, struggling for some way to make this all Obama's fault, they complain that it's not enough to have deployed the Coast Guard, sacked the head of the Minerals Management Service, suspended further deep-water drilling, frozen new deep-water drilling permits and opened a criminal probe into the accident that caused the spill. Because gosh-darn it, he's just not mad enough about it.
James Carville huffed, "This president needs to tell BP, 'I'm your daddy,'" which frankly is pretty creepy even for Carville. Film director Spike Lee urged the president to "go off, one time!" The New York Times' Maureen Dowd referred to him as "President Spock" and complained, "Too often it feels as though Barry is watching from a -balcony, reluctant to enter the fray until the clamor of the crowd forces him to come down."
When assured by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs that the president was "enraged" over what was going on, CBS correspondent Chip Reid eagerly asked, "Can you describe it? Does he yell and scream? What does he do?"
Folks, this is beyond silly.
Part of the reason people voted for this guy is that, in contrast to the mercurial, erratic and often grumpy McCain, Barack Obama was the one who seemed calm, collected and in command of himself. Remember when McCain "suspended his campaign" and rushed back to Washington with his hair on fire over the financial meltdown? Once the big meeting that McCain insisted President Bush convene was over, it was Barack Obama who came out of the fray looking like the guy who ought to be in command.
I voted for Obama because he acted like a grownup, and while I've been disappointed with him in some ways, he hasn't yet let me down on that one.
So when David Broder of the supposedly liberal Washington Post starts comparing him unfavorably to Louisiana Rep. Charlie Melancon, who had to stop a -hearing on the oil spill's impact "because he was weeping so hard," I have to wonder:
With all due respect to Rep. Melancon, exactly what would be the reaction of all of these complainers if they turned on the TV and the leader of the Free World was weeping so uncontrollably he'd lost the power of speech? Or if he were pounding his fists on the lectern and screaming with rage? I suspect it would be divided between "Obambi, in over his head, loses control" and "Oh, lord, this must be even worse than we thought."
I'm reminded of a scene in the movie "This Is Spinal Tap" when, after a particularly hilarious fiasco, the band's manager defends himself by saying he was only following the instructions of their dimwitted lead guitarist. "It's not your job to be as confused as Nigel!" one of the other band members snaps.
Likewise, it's not the president's job to be as crazy with anger and despair as we are. Do we really need a president whose motto is, "When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout"?