That's the general mantra about President Obama and the BP oil spill these days. But, "why?"
I've heard everything from "show compassion," to "take charge," "be a leader" ... Obama should be on a "war-footing" in regards to the BP oil spill ... And that's just from the right!
Is this really what you want? A charismatic (compassionate) leader on a war-footing?
Then there's all the additional talk about how it should have been handled better ... But what about the more fundamental question? Why must the government "do something?"
What makes anyone think the government is the most effective and/or efficient method of "doing something?"
Do we believe government is magic?
Nothing ever changes ...
The general media’s frequent glib use of the word "crisis" in their headlines in an attempt to scare the reader has all but rendered the word nonsensical; if not totally irrelevant. True, a crisis has come to mean another emergency or catastrophe, but this was not always the case.
The identification and clarification of a "crisis" has a far more threatening meaning when it is understood in its full context. Historically a crisis is "a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point." This has a direct relationship to what is probably the original meaning of the Greek word "krisis" with its medical implications: "the point in the course of a serious disease at which a decisive change occurs, leading either to recovery or to death."
It was in the context of a turning point that a crisis occurred in the American experience and in which the Philadelphia Aurora plays a significant part.
What makes anyone think Obama is qualified to stop an oil leak in the ocean floor in the first place? Based on his tenure so far, IMHO, I'd just assume he took a 2-year paid vacation!
But this is the cycle of government growth. Scare the people. Demand more government.
Since the early twentieth century, periods of real or perceived national emergency have been "critical episodes" in the growth of government's size, scope, and power in the United States and in many other countries. Hence, the concise conceptualization: Crisis and Leviathan (the main title of my 1987 book on the growth of government in the United States from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth century).
In the past century, the first five such critical episodes in the United States were: World War I; the Great Depression; World War II; a multi-faceted set of crises associated with the civil-rights revolution and the Vietnam War, roughly coincident with the presidencies of Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon; and the post 9/11 events associated with the so-called War on Terror and the U.S. attacks on and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. We are now amid another such critical episode, which springs from the housing bust that began in 2006, the economic recession that began late in 2007, and the financial debacle that reached its climax in September 2008.
The current troubles are complex and raise a multitude of questions. Many books and articles no doubt will be written to analyze these various issues in scholarly depth and detail, and certainly anything we might say today must be regarded as preliminary, at best. I focus here on a few aspects of the present episode that relate closely to my own research on the growth of government, a field of study to which I have returned again and again over the past thirty years.
In today's world, everything is a crisis ... and the government must do something!
If you truly want to limit government, stop demanding Obama "do something." Please!