About the smartest thing that I've read or heard said about the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is that at heart it is an engineering problem that the government cannot fix on its own.
This is why I have tempered my response to Obama's response, which has slowly but steadily ratcheted up from tepid to jaw clenching as the full scope of the disaster -- as well as the scope of BP's criminality -- becomes known.
With experts now saying matter of factly that it could be August before the hemorrhaging well is caped, it is not too soon to mull some long-term consequences:
* The many years it will take to repair the components of the gulf infrastructure that are not irreparable. Tourists will come back and wildlife will return, but for some fisheries and coral reefs the damage will be forever.
* After dutifully paying lip service to the notion that Louisiana must end its obeisant relationship with BP and the other companies that drill in the Gulf, the movers and shakers in this abjectly corrupt state will soon slide back into their old ways.
* BP will have no choice but to cede its most lucrative market to its competitors, a consequence for an imperious mega-corporation much greater than criminal and civil penalties.
* Relief wells, which are mandatory in the oil fields of Europe, will become mandatory in American waters.
* Republicans criticizing Obama for the federal response, let alone the wingnuts blaming him for the spill, will find to their chagrin that they won't be able to make much political hay out of the disaster since it is they, more than any other group, that has sucked up to Big Oil.
Besides which, oil-happy politics cannot be wished away any more than the disaster can.