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“”If we get a hurricane in the middle of this mess, then all bets are off.”

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Another worry along the Gulf Coast as the Obama Administration struggles to develop a solution.

This is so far far beyond the ability of a private company to deal with —and there are doubts now about exactly how much BP will have to pay— that the federal government is clearly in charge of engineering the solution and protecting the coasts. Like the Bush Adminstration after Katrina, the president and his defenders will argue that the scale of the disaster defies the ability of the feds to cope with it.

Unlike the aftermath of Katrina, MSM will block for the president, but as the local papers demonstrate, the devastating effects of the spill will be difficult to conceal, as will be the results of federal inaction in the crucial days after the explosion.

Some of the monetary losses will eventually be made good through litigation —and see Tim Cook’s guide to hiring a mass disaster plaintiff’s lawyer— but those checks are months if not years away, and won’t come close to repairing the damage done to livelihoods and ways-of-life.

There is a lot of coverage of what BP is about to try, but very little on the feds’ backup plans or supervisory role, and no indication that the Obama Administration has scrambled the best minds available to work the problem. (Think of the teams of scientists and engineers that came together when Apollo 13 was crippled.) The president and his team seem to be reluctant to grab the lead on the repair mission for fear of failing –again. What doesn’t seem to have gotten through to them is that they are in charge; it is their job; and the consequences of the spill are already attaching to the president just as Katrina attached itself to President Bush.

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