Over the weekend, he spent more time on leisure activities than on the crisis in the gulf. One night, he attended a baseball game and then spent at least five hours the next afternoon at the golf course. While the oil has spewed into the gulf during the last 63 days, the President has enjoyed numerous golf outings, vacations, concerts at the White House and found time to visit with sporting teams and talk basketball with broadcaster Marv Albert.
He is not exuding the image of someone concerned with the disaster in our backyard. His speech to the nation last week displayed no emotion or real concern for the tragedy that is impacting the entire Gulf Coast.
His obsession with play is becoming a real issue as Republicans have rightly blasted the President for the wrong image he is conveying. Since this is such a monumental disaster, the President should be making the oil spill his top priority. Yet, from the beginning, Mr. Obama has treated the oil spill as a distraction instead of a true focus of his attention. Otherwise, he would have made more than a few cursory trips to the region.
While BP CEO Tony Hayward has received justified criticism for yachting off the southern coast of England while the crisis continues, the President deserves just as much criticism for his leisure activities. According to RNC Chairman Michael Steele, there should be “no more golf outings, no more baseball games, no more Beatle concerts, Mr. President. The stakes are too high for President Obama's lackadaisical approach to both his responsibilities and the challenges we face."
Steele is not alone in his criticism of the President’s oil spill response. Even Democrat partisan James Carville lambasted Obama’s initial response as “lackadaisical.” In the past few weeks, the President has continued to ignore the issue at the expense of the people of the Gulf Coast.
There is precedent for a U.S. President to forgo leisure activities during a crisis to send an appropriate message to the American people. In the first year of the Iraq War in 2003, President George W. Bush stopped playing golf. He rightly observed that it sent the wrong message for a President to be playing golf while Americans were trying to topple a dictator.
In this case, an entire region of the country is under assault from this spill.. The President should be concerned about sending the right message to the American people. He should convey a message of someone focused on the issue and concerned about the people impacted by the disaster. Instead, he is trying to improve his golf scores. During the first 16 months of his presidency, Obama has presided over an economic collapse, a budget debacle and now an environmental tragedy. While this has happened, Obama has played more golf in these 16 months than George W. Bush played in his entire eight years.
The President is golfing while the gulf burns with oil. In the beginning of his term, some liberal commentators compared Obama’s oratorical ability to the Roman Senator Cicero. A better historical comparison for President Obama would be the Roman Emperor Nero, who fiddled while Rome burned.
Obama is truly a new Nero for our crumbling empire. If his outrageous behavior doesn’t awaken the American people, nothing will and nothing can save our country from ruin.
Written by Jeff Crouere
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected].