Bill Kristol: Terrible Oil Spill Is Blow To 'Obamaism' Notion That Government Is 'Sort Of Omnipotent'

Once again Bill I'm-never-right-about-anything Kristol is living in upside down land on Fox News Sunday while discussing the response to the disaster

Once again Bill I'm-never-right-about-anything Kristol is living in upside down land on Fox News Sunday while discussing the response to the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Instead of acknowledging that this is a blow to the notion that private industry cannot be trusted to regulate itself, he instead claims that it's a blow to the notion "that government can do so much as -- do as much as liberals think it can do". Sorry Bill but this is what government looks like after it's wrecked by people who don't believe in governing and the free market can do anything it wants.

WALLACE: Bill?

KRISTOL: I mean, I think, actually, the conventional wisdom in Washington about this is almost entirely backwards. The conventional wisdom is this has been a great blow to President Obama. The fact is if you go to look at Rasmussen Reports poll of President Obama's approval rating, on April 21st, the day after the oil spill, he had a 47 percent approval. Today he's 46 percent. And that's true of all the polls.

The American public is more grown-up than we all are. There's this terrible oil spill. It was an accident. Maybe B.P. should have been more careful. Maybe parts of the federal government fell down on the job. That happens. President Obama is no more or less responsible than if President Bush or President McCain were in office.

And I don't think they're actually holding him personally accountable much at all. What I think this is a blow to is not him personally but to Obamaism. I mean, it's a blow to the notion that the federal government, a notion that he's deeply identified with, is sort of omnipotent and, as Mara says, they can, quote, "get on top of this." What does that mean? They can't solve this. I mean...

HUME: It's posturing.

KRISTOL: ... and this is why...

LIASSON: Yes, they can't solve the spill...

KRISTOL: ... and this is why the New York Times...

LIASSON: ... but they can clean up the oil.

KRISTOL: And they are going to clean up the oil. And if you listen to Thad Allen, whom I know a little bit, and whom I know people in the Bush administration know well, there's no better person you could have in charge of it.

And the idea that Thad Allen isn't doing what he could do to contain it and to -- is he making some individual mistakes, or his subordinates may be missing one or two opportunities, sure. But he's doing as good a job as the federal government's going to do.

And in that respect, I do think that the reason the left is so upset, the reason the New York Times editorial board today is all upset about this, is that it -- as they sort of say, it's a blow to the notion that government can do so much as -- do as much as liberals think it can do.

WILLIAMS: Well, I'm in an alternate universe this morning, to hear Brit Hume say that...

KRISTOL: We do our best for you, you know?

WILLIAMS: ... Brit and Bill say, "You know what? People are being unfair to the Obama administration. You know, what can a president do? He didn't create the spill." All true.

But what he can do, I think, is be very clear about who's in charge here, and not allow B.P. -- this week we learned B.P. lied to the American people and to President Obama about the extent of the spill. It's six times worse than what they initially said. I think we can understand...

HUME: Was that a lie or a failed estimate?

WILLIAMS: I think it's a lie. I don't -- I don't know if it's a failed estimate, but clearly they were aware -- they had the camera in place. They could see what was going on. They knew what the -- the extent of the damage.

The second thing to say is when it comes to saying is the Coast Guard in charge or are we simply trusting B.P., I think the administration was reluctant to say, "We're going to go down there and take charge of this situation." I think that...

HUME: Well, what are they going to take charge with?

WILLIAMS: Well, I think what they're going to do now is to say, "You know what? We're going to stay on top of B.P." And I think that's the second part of this, that people want B.P. to be held accountable. They want B.P. to be sued if necessary. They want questions about what B.P. is doing -- the administration this weekend...

KRISTOL: I don't think there's much of a problem with a lack of lawsuits against B.P.

WILLIAMS: No, they're coming.

KRISTOL: I believe there are about 10,000 already filed.

WILLIAMS: No, but the federal government, I think, should be right there on top of...

KRISTOL: That will be very helpful. The federal government can jump in with all the -- yeah, let's have more lawyers on the case. That will help clean up the oil.

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