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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  • by ViennaGuy Location: Vienna on May 11, 2010 at 11:26 AM
    Roger, that's another excellent editorial. Another possible 'double standard' comparison to Katrina would be to the illegal immigration situation in Arizona. I say that because with Arizona, a situation exists where people are being kidnapped and killed on a daily basis due to illegal immigration and Mexican drug lords - yet Washington doesn't seem to want to do anything about it; indeed, the Beltway crowd makes jokes about it(the White House Correspondents' Dinner). I realize that the situation went on under Bush, but not nearly to its current extent. Will the Obama administration take action to stop it? Many died during Katrina and Bush was roundly criticized; many are dying in Arizona and yet there is little criticism of the Obama administration(at least in the broader media). What do you think?
  • by Roger Location: WTAP on May 6, 2010 at 06:58 PM
    Luther & Neil: Thanks for writing! Luther your information about how the off-shore drilling industry (like so many industries in America) is pretty much allowed to regulate itself, due to the fact that the only people who really understand how things work, have a vested interest in doing things as cheaply as they can. No argument here! Neil as for "thousands" of people dying, the official death toll from the immediate impact of Katrina (while difficult to nail down) is about 1,800. Some studies add another 2,000 over the next couple of years due to long term factors such as depression, suicide and an already hobbled health care system. Even ONE death was too many. But the immediate death toll was not in the "thousands." The media, including NBC, were quick to jump on huge numbers. I remember one early report that as many as 10,000 people may have died. Again gentlemen, thanks for writing! I just wish people would jump on politicians fairly and equally, but that will never happen!
  • by Luther Location: Parkersburg on May 3, 2010 at 05:01 AM
    Roger, you might want to take some time to do some research before you opine about a topic in which you know very little. The method of deep water drilling used at the site of this tragedy was so new, that the federal government took a few years to review the plans before granting BP approval to go ahead with their operations. Several South American countries require oil companies to install fail safes that cost millions of dollars. This was not the case with oil friendly Bush administration. The lease was granted in 2003, and the Bush administration deemed the fail safe requirement as not necessary, utilizing the false belief that BP would go about their business with the false belief tat these fail safes would be installed in the best interest of BP. BP offered the government assurances that they would be able to contain any spill in the event of a tragic accident. This is what happens when the federal government allows big business to regulate itself.
  • by Neil Shumaker Location: Vincent,Ohio on May 3, 2010 at 04:49 AM
    Mr. Sheppard,I can not believe that you could even bring something like this on the air and then say your a Democrat.I'm not sure that that's true but rather than call you a liar I'd like to just ask you if you voted for George Bush.There's much more of a difference to this than you said last night.First when Bush flew over people were dieing in the thousands,second when he did get the he said Browny was doing a hell of a job when nothing was further from the truth,third this is the kind of rhetoric that nut cases like the Tea Baggers feed on because Roger Sheppard said it,it has to be true and he even said he was a Democrat.I hope to hear a retraction from you on this but I won't hold my breath.I remember the guy you people had on a weekly comment from Rubins Deli and I wrote several emails asking that you let some one like me to tell the truth about the rhetoric he put out there but never seen you give anybody a chance to counter him.So much for democracy on wtap.
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