‘TERMINAL SILLINESS’…. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) has some thoughts on the politics of the BP oil spill disaster.

“In fairness, there’s not a lot we can do. The federal government has no vehicle capable of going down there. None of our submarines can go down there. That is a pre-existing condition that was not the fault of the Obama administration.”

But, he added, “As we know, politics is as much perception as reality.” He said a “clear risk factor” in the fallout of the spill going forward was that it would sully the administration’s record.

Rendell also noted a difference between Obama’s style and that of the last Democratic president, a famous micromanager: “If Bill Clinton was president, he’d have been in a wetsuit, you know, trying to get down to see the spill,” the governor said with a laugh.

I wish that were funny, but as Matt Zeitlin noted, it’s an example of the “terminal silliness” of much of the crisis analysis.

I think this perfectly captures the vast majority of purely perception based criticism of Obama’s personal response to the oil spill. Best I can tell, very few of the people who are saying that Obama hasn’t been publicly aggressive and involved enough actually specify what he should have done as a matter of policy once the spill happened. Most of the commentary seems to be on the level of getting in the wetsuit.

Or complaining that the president doesn’t “seem” to be “sufficiently enraged.”

Our discourse too often leaves so much to be desired.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.