Friday, May 28, 2010

Pot Meet Kettle

Andrew Sullivan called Peggy Noonan "unhinged" for her Wall Street Journal piece taking the Obama administration to task over their handling of the BP oil spill. Frankly anyone (like Sullivan) who is still spreading the rumor about Trig Palin being Sarah Palin's illegitimate grandchild shouldn't be calling anyone else "unhinged."

But, I digress...

After cherry picking one sentence out of Noonan's piece, Sullivan characterizes it way:
The premise of Noonan's moronic column is that the federal government, especially the president, should be capable of ending an oil-pipe rupture owned and operated by private companies, using technology that only deep-sea oil companies deploy or understand.
Bullshit. Sullivan is the one who sounds moronic by pushing his own "tangle of prejudices and feelings wrapped up in hyperbole." I read her column and Noonan's premise is clearly NOT what Sullivan describes.

Noonan says (bold added):

...I wonder if the president knows what a disaster this is not only for him but for his political assumptions. His philosophy is that it is appropriate for the federal government to occupy a more burly, significant and powerful place in America—confronting its problems of need, injustice, inequality. But in a way, and inevitably, this is always boiled down to a promise: "Trust us here in Washington, we will prove worthy of your trust." Then the oil spill came and government could not do the job, could not meet the need, in fact seemed faraway and incapable: "We pay so much for the government and it can't cap an undersea oil well!"

This is what happened with Katrina, and Katrina did at least two big things politically. The first was draw together everything people didn't like about the Bush administration, everything it didn't like about two wars and high spending and illegal immigration, and brought those strands into a heavy knot that just sat there, soggily, and came to symbolize Bushism. The second was illustrate that even though the federal government in our time has continually taken on new missions and responsibilities, the more it took on, the less it seemed capable of performing even its most essential jobs.
Her point, in other words, is that the federal government can't solve EVERY problem. And, after getting elected promising otherwise, Obama is being hoisted on his own petard. Reasonable people can disagree with Noonan's assessment. But, she's hardly over-the-top as Sullivan suggests.

FWIW, in response to an email he received criticizing Obama's slowness in organizing a clean-up, Sullivan says:

My reader has a point. Not being glued to cable, I wasn't thinking of the clean-up. But I need to look into it further before I concede the point.
He doesn't have an opinion because he's not "glued to cable?" Sounds more like Sullivan is the unhinged one.

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