‘Serves him right’

‘SERVES HIM RIGHT’…. Conservative columnist George Will said this morning that President Obama is “being unfairly blamed” for the response to the BP oil spill disaster. But, Will added, he’s glad the president is receiving the unfair criticism anyway.

As the columnist sees it, the president said the government could solve problems. And since it hasn’t yet solved this problem, the disaster “just strikes at the narrative of competence.”

I continue to be mystified by this. Blaming the president is unfair, Will conceded, because the president is doing all he can under impossible circumstances. But blaming the president is worthwhile, Will added in the next breath, because we now know government officials can’t quickly shut down a gushing oil leak a mile below sea level.

If we were to take Will’s point to the next step — the federal government lacks the wherewithal to fix every problem, so some tasks should be left in the hands of private enterprise and the states — I suppose the lesson is we should have BP and Louisiana state agencies solve the problem.

That ought to work, right?

At this point, the discourse seems to boil down to a) those who want to see the president don a wetsuit and head to the Gulf floor; b) those who want to see the president don a cape and fly around the planet really quickly in order to reverse time; and c) those who want to see the president pound on podiums and lose his cool, as if that would make a difference. (Thanks, Maureen Dowd, for comparing Obama to Spock again. That never gets old.)

Here’s an idea for assignment editors: publish a piece with specific steps federal officials should take but haven’t. Because at this point, unless we can fix the leak with useless media palaver, there’s not much point to the breathless speculation, nebulous criticism, and finger-pointing.