Many die-hard Democrats are not questioning President Obama’s response to the Gulf oil spill. BP obviously is responsible for ‘plugging the hole’, and given that this is the first time such a disaster has occurred at these depths, one mile below the surface, reason dictates that they are doing their best. Needless to say, things should not have gotten to this point had prevention measures been fully tested and implemented by BP in the first place. But during his press conference yesterday, the first in nearly a year, President Obama claims he was on top of the situation from Day One. Yet, the lack of direction and action from his administration these past 5 weeks tells a different story.

For starters, is Obama responsible at all? The answer to that is YES! Under the provisions of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, Subtitle B: Removal: “Amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) to require the President to ensure effective and immediate removal of a discharge, and mitigation or prevention of a substantial threat of discharge, of oil or hazardous substances into the Exclusive Economic Zone or onto adjoining shorelines or in any way threatening natural resources under exclusive Federal management authority. Requires the President to direct all Federal, State and private actions in the event of an actual or potential discharge which is a substantial threat to the public health or welfare.

Exempts from liability, with certain exceptions, any person acting pursuant to the National Contingency Plan or as otherwise directed by the President. Requires the Plan to establish procedures for: (1) removing a worst-case discharge or threat; and (2) coordinating the activities of Coast Guard strike teams and specified others. Requires revision and republication of the Plan by a certain date.”

It further states in the following paragraph, “Requires the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard [in this case Janet Napolitano of Homeland Security] is operating to establish a National Response Unit at Elizabeth City, North Carolina, to (1) compile a list of oil spill removal resources, personnel and equipment worldwide; (2) coordinate use of private and public personnel and equipment in worst case discharges; (3) administer Coast Guard strike teams and provide technical assistance; and (4) review and keep area contingency plans. Requires the same Secretary to establish in each Coast Guard district a Coast Guard District Response Group.”

Clearly, the Obama administration has fumbled the ball. Little was done for the first nine days and even now, it is the Federal government blocking prevention efforts desired by Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) to establish protective berms along some 100 miles of shoreline. For the past 18 days, the Federal government has sat on Jindal’s request while oil continues to roll ashore.

James Carville, former Clinton campaign manager and Democrat strategist, has been sounding off this past week on TV appearances on CNN and ABC’s “Good Morning America” . On “GMA”, Carville was livid, exclaiming, “We are DYING down here!”. Having been born, raised and a resident of Louisiana, Carville knows the state well and is horrified by the disaster.

Yesterday, as BP successfully began it’s ‘top kill’ technique of ramming ‘drill-mud’ and other material into the well to plug the spill, cautious optimism was sounded by many experts. It may be days before we know that the well is plugged, and even then, some scientists believe new leaks may appear elsewhere until a relief well can be drilled. Such would lower the pressure at the current well, but a relief drill may take up to three months to complete.

During his press conference, Obama attempted to make it personal, citing how his daughter Malaya asks him, “Have you plugged the hole yet?” while he shaves in the morning. But this fails to absolve him of his obligations under the law. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 makes it abundantly clear that President Obama is directly responsible for the removal operation and protecting the people and wildlife of the effected areas. He is also responsible for making sure that his Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, is doing her job by, (1) having a contingency plan ready to go and (2) making sure that the Coast Guard is equipped and ready to respond. She has obviously failed on both counts, and Obama has failed his duty on this matter.