In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy, the scarecrow, the lion, and the tin-man all journey to meet the "great and powerful Wizard" in order to receive what they need. Dorothy needs home, the scarecrow a brain, the lion some courage, and the tin-man a heart. And the movie’s climatic point is not when the Wizard grants them these things, but when Dorothy’s dog Toto pulls back the curtain while the Wizard is relishing the power he has over the four sojourners.
Once the curtain is pulled back, the four realize the "great and powerful Wizard" is neither great nor powerful. Rather, he was, as Dorothy called him, "a very bad man."
It’s a safe bet that President Obama knows a lot about how the Wizard felt after being exposed. For Obama, who relished the messianic treatment he received while on the campaign trail and during his first few months in office, is now dealing with the ramifications of his delayed response to the gulf oil spill: A sluggish reaction that is every bit as damning to the promise of "hope" and "change" as drawing the curtain was to the idea that the Wizard was great and powerful.
And although the false Wizard was only "a humbug" in the eyes of the scarecrow, even James Carville has gone further than that in attacking Obama’s disconnect with the people of Louisiana.
Carville, a resident of New Orleans, has blasted Obama for being “too distant” from Louisiana residents since the Horizon oil platform exploded in mid-April. Said the raging Cajun: “He could be commandeering tankers and making BP bring in tankers to clean this up. …He could be with the Corps of Engineers and Coast Guard with people in Plaquemines Parish doing something about these regulations (for the construction of barrier islands). [The] people [of Louisiana] are crying, they are begging for something down here and it just looks like he’s not involved in this.”
The “barrier islands” Carville mentions are those that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) wants to construct to protect the Louisiana coast from the oil stained gulf waters. And although Jindal has sought federal permission to construct the islands for weeks now, the great and powerful Obama has not bothered to approve the request.
In this way, Obama’s response to the oil spill is identical to the one citizens of New Orleans received from Mayor Ray Nagin (D) during hurricane Katrina.
Who can forget the news helicopters flying over the parking lots full of submerged school buses? No matter how much Nagin pointed the finger at someone else, those water-soaked buses told the story of a Mayor who simply hadn’t bothered to get drivers in them and send them out to carry people to safety before the storm hit.
No matter what Obama does to BP to shift attention off his faltering response, his indifference to Jindal’s “barrier islands” request has already convinced commentators like Carville that Obama doesn’t get it.
But Jindal gets it, and is taking particular issue with the fact that Obama is holding meetings with pseudo-intellectuals about how best to handle the spill instead of doing something to stave off the waves of oil crashing onto Louisiana’s shores.
Like all true elitists, no disaster is big enough to get Obama’s eyes off himself. Thus, according to Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey, the great and powerful Obama has been able to forgo these meetings long enough for “two days of media events, three days of fundraising, four commemorations, six days of vacation, six days of campaigning, six sports events, [and] seven days of golf.”
That’s right. While Louisiana has been begging the federal government to lead, follow, or get out of the way, Obama has been playing golf, attending sports events, vacationing, and holding meetings on what to do about the oil spill when he finally decides to do something.
In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy learned that she had had the power to go home along: she just hadn’t known it. The Wizard had kept her down in order to exalt himself, but Toto fixed that.
In Louisiana, Jindal is about to fix some things too. He is not only threatening to go it with or without the federal government, but to go against the federal government in order to save Louisiana if that’s what it takes.
I say more power to you Governor Jindal. And don’t worry about Obama – he’s neither great nor powerful.