The failure of BP's top kill marks the moment the Obama presidency went from "lightning advance" to "nasty stasis," writes David Brooks. The sweeping changes of his first 16 months in office have been accomplished and the president is now faced with intractable problems and stalled legislation, Brooks writes in the New York Times. The next phase of Obama's presidency will be marked by "gridlock and government’s apparent impotence in the face of growing problems," aptly symbolized by the Gulf gusher.
The leak is being called Obama's Katrina but the Iranian hostage crisis, "a symbol of America’s inability to take decisive action in the face of pervasive problems," would be a better comparison, Brooks argues. Similarly, the Gulf disaster exposes America's growing inability to govern itself effectively, as well as "core confusion about the role of government," he writes. The leak should be leading to a national consensus about just how much government should be regulating corporations—but it won't, and stagnation beckons, Brooks warns.