Will the Oil Disaster be “Obama’s Katrina”?

In The Corner, Yuval Levin has a sensible take on the tendency to blame the government for anything that goes wrong.

We who live in the 21st century West have the least messy, least dangerous, least uncertain lives of any human beings in history. We should be very grateful for that, but we should not let our good fortune utterly distort our expectations of life, and we should not react with unrestrained indignant shock anytime the limitations of our power make themselves seen or the cold and harsh capriciousness of nature overcomes our defenses. We should expect a firm response from the institutions we have built to protect ourselves—science, technology, and modern government—but we cannot expect a perfect response. Not from Bush, and not from Obama.

Let’s hope the administration does a better job in response to this spill than it has so far, just as the Bush administration could certainly have done a better job in its response to Katrina. It’s clear they have made mistakes. But let’s not pretend that what we’re witnessing here is fundamentally a colossal failure of the federal government. There are plenty of those going on, but this isn’t one of them.

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