President in Crisis

Monday, June 07, 2010

Jonathan Alter, Newsweek columnist, MSNBC contributor, and the author of The Promise: President Obama, Year One, talks about President Obama's leadership through crisis.


Jonathan Alter

Comments [35]

Joe B

To all the partisan hackery and crooked finger pointing at Obama, I thought this video clip was interesting. I'm not a fan of the Maddow show, but I did notice that in all this old footage the president at the time (Carter) isn't mentioned once. I don't see the connection between Obama and the spill response. Nor connections with Katrina at all! Bush had the benefit of a little thing called the 10-day weather forecast.

Watch this video.

Jun. 07 2010 12:54 PM
eric from manhattan

I am sorry, but if Obama says "I inherited this..." one more time, about whatever, it will become the defining catch-phrase of his presidency.

Jun. 07 2010 12:07 PM
The Truth from Becky

We can chat here all day! bottom line is due to BPs negligence oil is spilling and has been spilled all up and down the gulf coast, creating the largest environmental disaster of our lifetime! Make no error BP is the cause of this whole situation. This President should not be degraded, have his manhood questioned, called an actor and all the other such slanders I have read here. Ridiculous every one of you who are trying to square responsibility on the shoulders of the President. In office less than two years and every crisis has his name on it.. Damn shame!

Jun. 07 2010 12:02 PM
The Truth from Becky

Off base Eric....1) He is a man, he has two daughters thank you and 2) He has not mentioned bush, that ismedia hype...grow up you!

Jun. 07 2010 11:54 AM
JP from NJ

To win the day he doesn’t have to get angry. all he has to do is super fast track money from BP to local businesses that are loosing money now and to local municipals to fight the oil spill locally now. Giving money to a local business 6 months from now that’s already out of business is futile at best. So is trying to clean up a beach or marsh that oil has been washing up on and is already dead…. This doesn’t require him to get angry. This isn’t rocket science and there’s no excuse not to do it…. thats what makes me mad....

Jun. 07 2010 11:54 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Hugh Sansom, how I was bitterly attacked during the presidential campaign here for not drinking the Obama Kool-Aide. Look the truth is that all American politicians are “vacuous opportunist,” working hard for the corporate state.

Jun. 07 2010 11:54 AM
eric from manhattan

I don't recall Bush blaming Clinton incessantly for 9/11, which was a direct result of that administration's incompetence. Obama needs to grow up and accept that Bush has been gone for over a year--it's all his now. Be a man, Mr President! No more blaming others.

Jun. 07 2010 11:50 AM

When I turn on the television I see hundreds and hundreds of miles of ocean with no boats in site. I know people who own boats who say they'd head to the gulf in a heartbeat if there was a public request made to them.

I don't care about Obama's public persona, I care about the lack of action in the gulf.

And I'm tired of hearing how he's going to force BP to take responsibility. He's misleading the public. The damage that will be done to the environment will be permanent. The ability to clean up the environment is largely a myth. The oil that we don't vacuum or skim will be on the bottom of the ocean for our life times and beyond.

We needed action, not acting. Essentially, it's already too late.

Jun. 07 2010 11:50 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

The real issue with this oil spill is that it shows the American people the power of international corporation and it’s control over government. President obama and the American political class/ system have become nothing more then mangers of corporations need to make higher and higher profits for their shareholders. Livelihoods and environments destroyed are of no concern to the cooperate state.
The truth is things will only get worse on all fronts.

Jun. 07 2010 11:47 AM
Tom, Cooper Sq. from Manhattan

Anger is unnecessary. To be effective, a President needs to have capable understanding and capable skills-of-management. Anger has nothing whatever to do with it. The public, in its impotence, wallows in finding guilt to rage about and wants to see the incompetance of frustration. That's just circus, not management. It would be constructive if our nation's journaistic community would be aggressive in exposing the disutility of anger, whether it's directed at oil, oil engineering, or the insurer of last resort. Firing people is ineffective because it's just revenge and has nothing to do with finding scarce tallent to perform what needs to be done. Turbulence is not progress. Focus on what's actually possible is what govenment must persue. Anger is inherently foolish in 100% of instances. Ciao, T

Jun. 07 2010 11:44 AM
The Truth from Becky

Pick your darn poison and make up your mind!! Do you want government involved in private business decisions or NO? Do you want offshore drilling or NO?

Jun. 07 2010 11:44 AM
CL from New York

Most serious observers aren't calling for Obama to get angry; they are calling on him to lead. His relentlessly centrist attitude is disappointing to all of the voters who, probably naively, thought he would be a progressive president. On financial regulation, climate control, and health care he is a failure in the view of those on the left and the right. He is a lawyer, a negotiator, not a courageous leader.

Jun. 07 2010 11:44 AM
Robert from NYC

That's absolutely the truth, he got stuck with Bush's/Cheney's crap.
Right, this guy in the Village, he should act and fire folks starting with Rahm Imanuel [sp?]. The place needs a good flush... Summers, Geithner, inter alia.

Jun. 07 2010 11:44 AM
Sarah from CT

And can you please address the issue of BP being granted waivers as Glenn Greenwald wrote, ""the Interior Department "exempted BP's calamitous Gulf of Mexico drilling operation from a detailed environmental impact analysis." Specifically, "the department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) [gave] BP's lease at Deepwater Horizon a 'categorical exclusion' from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on April 6, 2009."

Jun. 07 2010 11:44 AM
Hugh Sansom

Jonathan Alter sounds like another Newsweek middle of the road toad. Obama most definitely is certainly a poseur. Consider how he represented himself during the '08 campaign to win liberal and progressive votes.

Obama may have the slavish devotion of non-thinkers like Alter. Liberals and progressives actually have memories.

And to be blunt, there are plenty of friends of Obama -- going back decades -- who do NOT parrot the Alter propaganda. Check University of Pennsylvania Prof. Adolph Reed, Jr., who knew Obama in Chicago: "He struck me then as a vacuous opportunist, a good performer with an ear for how to make white liberals like him."

Jun. 07 2010 11:43 AM
The Truth from Becky

"Act cool"? "fire people"? BP is a private company? What do you people want? Thought it was offshore drilling??? Well?

Jun. 07 2010 11:43 AM

My anger stems from the fact that her will not use this opportunity to wed us off oil.

Like Thomas Friedman, I would love him to use this to try to raise the gas tax, cede greater monies to electric or hydrogen fuel cell infrastructure.

Jun. 07 2010 11:41 AM
The Truth from Becky

The media among others are trying their best to see another side that they assume exists in the President that they can label "angry Black man", they keep forgetting it is not his nature, raised by a white woman and two white grandparents to have an "angry Black man" response to crisis...stop baiting!

Jun. 07 2010 11:41 AM

thad allen has been on the news for weeks brian where have u been?

Jun. 07 2010 11:41 AM
Sarah from CT

I think you're missing the point. It isn't OBVIOUSLY his fault, but he has failed to address the nation and call us to action with this as a turning point in US energy policy.

Jun. 07 2010 11:40 AM
Henry from Katonah

We should not be blaming the Obama administration EXCEPT to the degree that it did not flush out the cesspool that is the Minerals Management Service.
It is a great , fat target. Even after the last nine years, with regulators asleep or in bed with their industries, Democrats still do not make the case for MORE regulation. Since Clinton, they have been saying that we need smarter regulation. We need regulators who understand what their jobs are.

Jun. 07 2010 11:40 AM
The Truth from Becky

The President in crisis??? How so??? What is wrong with you people? We need NOT take the focus off BP.

Jun. 07 2010 11:38 AM
Yosif from Manhattan

I don't buy it. If Obama got emotional he would be branded as an angry black man or out of control. I appreciate the seriousness of Obama's tone with this. It is Obama's Katrina if you replace incompetence with impotence. What I am upset about is Lisa Jackson and allowing nearly a million gallons of dispursents to be released into our gulf on top of the oil.

Jun. 07 2010 11:38 AM
Sophia from yonkers, ny

The calls for President Obama to show anger are childish and are a reflection of the immaturity of the news media in general.

The most effective fighters in law and war don't get emotionally angry, they stay focused and effective.

Jun. 07 2010 11:37 AM
SuzanneNYC from UWS

Is that what we want?? To see the President totally lose it and go berserk. And what would that serve, exactly? Besides, icy anger is much more effective than red-faced screaming. You want someone who thinks not someone who emotes. This discussion is just stupid.

Jun. 07 2010 11:36 AM
Hugh Sansom

I've heard from several sources that Obama does indeed get raging-angry -- over leaks. He storms about when the internal White House conniving in the service of Wall Street and health insurers breaks out into public view.

Obama is an opportunist, which requires pleasing many different people at the same time. Can't look like you're losing your cool if you're that kind of person.

I'm a liberal Democrat and I look forward to him getting bounced out in 2012.

Jun. 07 2010 11:35 AM
antonio from park slope

If President Obama's middle name was "kal-el",
I would be pissed. This is all hack journalism. Where were these folks when W was telling "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

Jun. 07 2010 11:34 AM
Rockit17 from Brooklyn, NY

Please choose another term than "tarred" for President Obama, in this context. A Black man associated with tarring conjures up some terrible images.

Jun. 07 2010 11:33 AM

Can anyone count how many times the word "Halliburton" has appeared in the news? Why is Obama apologizing?

Jun. 07 2010 11:32 AM
Steven Paul Mark from United States

Love Mr. Alter's writing but who's idea was it to use "tarred" in juxtaposition with an African American ma. Come on, Brian, stop baiting,

Jun. 07 2010 11:30 AM
Eden_NYC from Brooklyn

Can somebody in the Press/Media please ask the President and his team why it took over 32 days to deployed 1 NOAA ship to study the oil plums, test the Gulf's water and monitor the damage to marine life???? Easiest question ever when the White House asserts they've done everything in their power since day 1!!!! 32+ day...

Jun. 07 2010 11:03 AM
bx from bx ny


Jun. 07 2010 10:43 AM

just so I understand, all anyone needs to do is write a book on Obama these days to then proceed to "expertly" bombard the media air waves from - Real Time on HBO, MS(nbc), BLShow with their "expertise" on Obama / Oil crisis/ Elections in NJ, GL, AR, NV/ Isreal / N.Korea/ anything, everything and nothing...Darn, I need to start working on MY book on Obama and keep pluggin' away.
J. Alter is a very underwhelming pundit, you can do better BLShow.

Jun. 07 2010 10:24 AM
SuzanneNYC from UWS

Exactly. It's the media that needs a crisis to justify its existence and to keep the the professional pundit class (whatever happened to journalists?) busy opining on the 24/7 news circus, er circuit. More heat less light. No wonder Americans feel negative about the future and our ability to solve the problems facing us.

Jun. 07 2010 09:43 AM
frederick from nyc

Is there a crisis or have we hit that magical amount of time passed where the media needs to create crisis?

Jun. 07 2010 09:23 AM

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