By KARL ROVE, WSJ
Obama is only voting present
When Barack Obama announced he was running for president in February 2007, Nathan Gonzales of the Rothenberg Political Report wrote "Obama’s history of voting ‘present’" in Springfield, Ill.—even on some of the most controversial and politically explosive issues . . . raises questions . . . Voting ‘present’ is one of the three options in the Illinois Legislature (along with ‘yes’ and ‘no’) but it’s almost never an option for the occupant of the Oval Office."
Mr. Gonzales’s words were prescient. Barack Obama may now be president, but at times he appears to be merely present. That has been the case with his response to the environmental catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. The president was late recognizing the disaster’s magnitude, late in visiting the region, late in approving requests by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and late in feigning outrage. He has never offered an independent plan to stop the leak.
Mr. Obama also seems disinterested in hearing from experts about the spill. The White House’s "Deep Water Horizon Response Timeline" doesn’t list a single meeting between Mr. Obama and industry experts, though he did send Energy Secretary Steven Chu and others to Houston May 12 to meet with BP and others.
Yet while the president says his Noble Prize-winning energy secretary has been "examining every contingency," Mr. Chu was clueless about BP’s plans to install a cap over the well to funnel oil to a vessel on the surface. As the New York Times reported last Saturday, "After the cap was successfully placed, Mr. Chu wondered aloud why oil was still spewing." BP engineers had to explain that oil was still coming from vents that "would be closed very slowly to ensure that mounting pressure would not force the cap off."