The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is one of those truly dire situations. Sadly, there are no winners here — it is a tragedy for those who lost loved ones, destructive to the people of the region, devastating to the environment and certainly negative for BP as a company.
President Obama missed his moment and is now faced with a significant political problem. He did not take control of the situation early enough. In his prime time speech on June 15 (Day 56 of the spill), he emphasized that he was leading the charge to bring justice and, with it, a major cleanup for the region. But all of these efforts were too little, too late.
By not having called in the heads of BP, Transocean and Halliburton right from the beginning and putting them on notice that they were responsible and that he would be watching, as well as mobilizing the unified response team from the federal government, he lost the chance to display leadership.