Gulf Oil Spill: Obama's 9-11, Says Tom Friedman

Thomas Friedman's Wednesday column, "Obama And the Oil Spill," predictably took issue with conservatives who claim the massive BP oil spill is "Obama's Katrina."

Not so, according to Friedman. The Gulf spill is not Obama's Katrina. It's Obama's 9-11!

Friedman used that eye-opener to segue into his usual spiel about raising taxes on gasoline:

No, the gulf oil spill is not Obama's Katrina. It's his 9/11 - and it is disappointing to see him making the same mistake George W. Bush made with his 9/11. Sept. 11, 2001, was one of those rare seismic events that create the possibility to energize the country to do something really important and lasting that is too hard to do in normal times.

President Bush's greatest failure was not Iraq, Afghanistan or Katrina. It was his failure of imagination after 9/11 to mobilize the country to get behind a really big initiative for nation-building in America. I suggested a $1-a-gallon "Patriot Tax" on gasoline that could have simultaneously reduced our deficit, funded basic science research, diminished our dependence on oil imported from the very countries whose citizens carried out 9/11, strengthened the dollar, stimulated energy efficiency and renewable power and slowed climate change. It was the Texas oilman's Nixon-to-China moment - and Bush blew it.

Had we done that on the morning of 9/12 - when gasoline averaged $1.66 a gallon - the majority of Americans would have signed on. They wanted to do something to strengthen the country they love. Instead, Bush told a few of us to go to war and the rest of us to go shopping. So today, gasoline costs twice as much at the pump, with most of that increase going to countries hostile to our values, while China is rapidly becoming the world's leader in wind, solar, electric cars and high-speed rail. Heck of a job.

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