The oil spill, in what some wags have begun calling the Gulf of Texaco, is rapidly becoming the Obama administration's Katrina.
In the same way that the famous hurricane exposed the inadequacies of the Bush administration's bureaucracy, so is the ongoing environmental disaster damaging the credibility of the Obama administration.
All the handwringing in the world and the photo ops along rapidly degrading beaches won't help the administration. The fact of the matter is, Obama inherited (from many previous presidents of both parties), an offshore oil drilling oversight bureaucracy that might as well have been employees of the drillers. And so far, we have not seen a major shake-up of those various bureaucracies involved.
In fact, while the administration considers legal action against British Petroleum, Halliburton and others, it's been strangely quiet so far on pursuing corruption charges against federal officials charge with the oversight of the drilling.
The effects of this disaster will last long beyond the Obama presidency. But if he wants to do some real clean-up work, he should launch an independent investigation of not only the bureaucracies involved in the drilling oversight, but in other federal agencies as well that monitor specific industries and financial firms -- and which may be just as corrupt in their way-to-familiar relationships with the businesses for which they are the charged with serving as watchdogs.
There have been way too many scandals in recent years involving some of those bureaucracies, and we suspect those scandals are only the tip of the iceberg.
It's time to clean up not just the oil, but the entire panoply of federal oversight bureaucracies as well.