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Double Standard?

By: Roger Sheppard
By: Roger Sheppard

If Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans were George Bush's Waterloo…what will the national reaction be when this oil spill affects hundreds of miles of coastline in the Gulf? Will the Obama Administration be as widely criticized for its failure to respond as the Bush Administration was for its alleged failings?

At the risk of making people think I'm a Republican, I want to tell you first of all that I am registered as a Democrat. I try to vote for the best candidate, regardless of party. For many years in West Virginia, if you wanted to have a say in who got elected in November, you had to be registered as a Democrat, so you could select from the likely winners in the Primary. That's not so much the case anymore.

Having said that, I'd like to discuss the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico!

If Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans were George Bush's Waterloo…what will the national reaction be when this oil spill affects hundreds of miles of coastline in the Gulf? Will the Obama Administration be as widely criticized for its failure to respond as the Bush Administration was for its alleged failings?

To be sure, the two situations are different, as almost everything in life is. Katrina affected a large city and displaced thousands of people, many of whom are still not back in their homes. Many human lives were lost due to the storm and the floods that resulted when the long-neglected levees around the city failed.

This oil spill will probably affect fishermen and businesses that rely on tourists visiting beaches. Hopefully, no human lives will be lost other than those already lost in the off-shore oil rig explosion that triggered this whole mess.

But there's another huge difference between what happened in New Orleans and what is about to happen along the Gulf Coast. And that is: the oil spill happened a number of days ago and has been spreading toward the U.S. coastline ever since. Teams have been tracking it and trying to rein it in. Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures happened with no warning.

President Bush was widely criticized for not visiting New Orleans sooner. I haven't seen any footage of President Obama flying over the oil spill or visiting with the crews who are out there battling it. But I also haven't heard any criticism of that.

I don't think there's a need for President Obama to go to the Gulf Coast to see it for himself. He can see it on TV like everyone else and his advisors can let him know what's going on. But if President Bush was blasted for failing to go to New Orleans, why not the same criticism of this President?

Double standard? We'll see.

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