SHARPTON: Well, I think so. I think that when you look at the fact that, first of all, this has been an evolving crisis -- this did not happen -- unlike Katrina, where you had a natural disaster that immediately blanketed the whole area and we were watching it live on television, this got worse over time.
And I think that there's evidence that the White House has put out -- I've not talked to them, but I've read this on their Web site -- of how they met each rising crisis with personnel there, cabinet members there, now the president going, unlike George Bush, that said he didn't see the crisis, and we sat there four or five days and watched it live on television. So I think any analogy is absolutely ridiculous.
TAPPER: Bill, I was watching your show Friday night...
TAPPER: ... and you said, in language more suitable for premium cable...
MAHER: I promise I won't here. They're so nervous about that.
TAPPER: ... that you're surprised President Obama isn't getting more, shall we say, guff for...
TAPPER: ... for this crisis.
MAHER: Yes, I think he should. You know, he owns this issue now, because it was only a few weeks ago that he came out for offshore drilling. And I would say philosophically this is -- you know, the problem, I think, a lot of people on the left have with this country and have for many years, is that there's no one who really represents our point of view.
There's two parties who want to fight the war on terror with an army in Afghanistan. There's two parties who want to drill offshore. Where is the other side on this?
So, you know, I could certainly criticize oil companies, and I could criticize America in general for not attacking this problem in the '70s. I mean, Brazil got off oil in the last 30 years. We certainly could have.
But it is very disappointing, I think, for this president to be taking a position, as he had -- and I guess he's backpedaling now on it, I hope. I mean, I hope there's a flip-flop I can believe in there. But...
TAPPER: There's a slogan for you, flip-flops I can believe in.
MAHER: I could believe in that one, and I hope he does.
TAPPER: Matt, where's the public on this issue?
DOWD: Well, I think the public -- I mean, first of all, the public doesn't think there's any equal nature to Katrina and this. I mean, Katrina, obviously, evacuated -- having to evacuate an entire area and what that issue was, was such a different issue than this.
But I think where the public is on this, if you put this in the context of what happened in West Virginia and the mine disaster and this in context of Katrina, even though it was different, and this in context in many things, I think the public sits there and says, "Who's in charge? Who is accountable, and who can -- what governmental entity can actually be effective in doing anything?"
And I think that ultimately is where the public is. It's just another example of a fact that we cannot trust the government to do anything that we need them to do, from mines to even a belief (ph) on health care to -- to the oil spill. It's a loss of faith, I think, again, in the government.
VANDEN HEUVEL: What we've seen are the risks are too great. Offshore drilling is the problem, not the solution. This is not Katrina, 1,500 dead, hundreds of thousands homeless.