By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Yesterday’s Gallup poll shows that a majority of Americans believe the president is doing a “poor or very poor” job of responding to the BP oil leak. He held a press conference yesterday, and today he’s heading to the gulf, which may help.
Here’s an idea: President Obama should appoint the vice president as the top guy in charge of overseeing the Gulf Coast clean-up. Make Joe Biden the Gulf Coast point man--the go-to guy--from now until the end of the administration in 2012. It’s a far better use of Biden’s time than flying to South Africa for the American soccer team’s opening game at the World Cup on June 12, which is his next big assignment.
Even if BP caps the leak this weekend, this is not the end. It’s only the beginning. It’s going to be a long summer on those beaches and wetlands, as a month’s worth of oil starts to wash ashore. And while we all agree that the federal government should not step in and take over the plugging of the leak, there’s still plenty the White House can do in terms of communicating with the American public, coordinating among the various state governors, and formulating a comprehensive plan for making sure this never happens again.
Vice President Biden has the energy and enthusiasm people want to see--something the president’s not giving them--and as vice president, Biden has more authority over the bureaucracy than, say, former President Bill Clinton. He’s got use of Air Force Two, a full-time staff, and plenty of goodwill on Capitol Hill. Bring in Joe Biden!