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I could hardly believe it when, shortly after the BP had begun its "top kill" attempt to shut off the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama called a national press conference - his first in nearly a year - to take responsibility for ending this crisis.

I wondered aloud, Now, how is he going to do that? Then I wondered, Who does he think he is? And then, What's he trying to do? I suppose in some ways I'm still wondering that. Charles Krauthammer opined that the President may have been encouraged that the crisis was almost over, and the "top kill" effort was going to succeed, and so he wanted to make sure that he was in line to get the credit for it. That sounded rather cynical, although not implausible. Perhaps he was simply trying to make a show of compassion for the people on the Louisana coast, and to rally the workers to keep on giving it the old college try. Or, perhaps, like Captain Ahab, he had decided to vanquish this oily whale, or be vanquished by it himself.

It's looking more like the last.

Whatever the outcome, it's clear President Obama and his entire Administration have become engulfed by the crisis in the Gulf. It is overwhelming their resources, distracting them from other business, causing heads to roll within the camp, and leaving the federal government looking weak, if not impotent.

I wonder now if the President wishes he'd never made that boast before the entire nation. Has Mr. Obama's unbelievable and unjustifiable confidence in the powers of government caught up to him? Did poor judgment lead to an opportunistic grab for attention? Or have stubbornness and pride - remember, Mr. Obama declared that the earth would begin to heal the day he was inaugurated - begun to undo him? Pride comes before the fall, the Scriptures remind us. We should pray for the President, who will surely be permanently damaged by this seemingly unsolvable situation.

But we should also pray, since there are still nearly three years left in his presidency, that he might learn something from the disaster in the Gulf, and his response to it, and humble himself before the God in Whom he still professes to believe.

T. M. Moore
T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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