Day 53

North Korea sends a submarine into South Korean waters to sink a ship (of an ally). This administration’s reaction? Nothing. Iran continues apace increasing its capacity to enrich uranium (and therefore plutonium) to existentially threaten our allies in the region. This administration’s reaction? Nothing. Hamas commits war crimes daily by sending unguided rockets into Israeli villages (directly attacking an ally). This administration’s reaction? Nothing. What’s holding the administration’s undivided attention (such as it is)? “Keeping a boot on BP’s throat” (the company of an ally).

This would be worthy of Gilbert & Sullivan were it not so profoundly dangerous.

Everything this administration does seems to hurt the American people (e.g., putting thousands out of work during a jobless recovery) or our allies (e.g., leaving Poland and the Czech Republic twisting in the Russian wind after reneging on the proposed missile defense system). And now we have the daily double of the Gulf Spill.

BP made some very bad decisions aboard the Deepwater Horizon and we are all paying the price. OK, we get that. The President is mad at BP. OK, we get that. He can’t stop the leak. OK, we get that. The only thing he can do, however, is clear the decks to bring a whole-of-government approach to the cleanup. He doesn’t get that.

Louisiana doesn’t need fast-track environmental studies on sand berms – it needs berms. Just sign the damn permits and let Louisiana protect their wetlands. Florida doesn’t need BP’s permission to buy booms – it needs booms. Just waive the permitting process and let Florida protect its as yet unspoiled beaches. The ships of many nations are standing by wanting to help, but the Jones Act prohibits it (flagging and staffing problems). EPA says it’s waiting to hear from the Coast Guard to request lifting the Jones Act, and Admiral Allen says he’s waiting to hear from Washington. Just lift the damn Jones Act and let in all those willing to help.

President Obama’s management style is what he learned while community organizing – vilify and (if possible) destroy your adversary. All of which is extraordinarily satisfying but has nothing to do with righting whatever wrong that adversary has committed. That’s what’s happening here. Instead of working with the people who have the expertise and familiarity with the equipment involved, President Obama daily finds new ways to demonize the only people who can fix the problem, driving their market value down even as their cost commitment rises. He has intentionally set a course that can only bankrupt BP, leaving us – again – with the bill.

We were warned of Mr Obama’s inexperience during the campaign, and the Kook Aid drinkers snickered. Well, we are now looking upon the face of utter incompetence, and on the shoulders of America, it looks pathetic.

24 thoughts on “Day 53

  1. I cannot agree with you more EW!

    I have said this before, and I will say it again, I feel like I am watching an episode of the Keystone Cops.

  2. What a great rant!!! And I’m sure that all the loyal members of the H.O.C. [Hate Obama Club] will be thrilled when they read it. [chuckles].

    I’m extending a challenge to you: Pretend that you are Pres. of the U.S. for the past 53 days and explain to me exactly how you would have handled–fixed–these problems…Without, of course using the Batman signal light or stripping off your alter-ego clothes down to your Superman costume, that is. Could you do that? LOL.

  3. I would start (on “Day-One”, to use one of the administration’s favorite fictions) with Paragraph-5, which begins “Louisiana doesn’t need …” The one thing the president can do is to serve and protect the people of the United States, not community-organize against BP. He should heed Napoleon’s advice and, when the enemy is self-destructing, just get out of the way – BP is doing enough to keep public ire pointed their way, the president should turn his attention to mitigating damage and directing assets toward the clean-up.

  4. That’s good advice, EW. I don’t disagree with you. Lift the Jones Act and allow all of those who wish to help come and do so. However, if you listen to the “apoligists” [aka] Thad Allen for one–there are reasons why this hasn’t been done. His “excuse” is that there are like 33 ships within a mile or so of the spill area [rig-no-more] already and allowing more ships could hinder rather than help. I suppose that’s just a lame excuse and you can’t trust his reasoning. He’s most likely just an administration mouthpiece making excuses…

    But here’s a really GOOD reason why the Admin. hasn’t lifted the Jones Act–at least from the “Right’s” perspective: This Act is just a way of protecting unions and union jobs. And that’s why the Obama Administration won’t lift it. How about that? Sounds like a PLAN [excuse] to me! Ha ha!

    I do agree with your last sentence in your reply, though. It’s time for him–govt.–Admin. to direct their attention towards the clean-up. We can deal with BP’s transgressions later.

    Now if he can only get the states to agree to what exactly they want from the Feds…Seems what they all want is Govt. money and for the Feds. to get out of the way and let them take care of their individual problems themselves…Except when they want Coast Guard helicopters to drop sandbags [Jindal], or Army reservists to tromp around in the swamps and scoop up oil sludge–but don’t for God’s sake disturb the marsh grass or nesting sites–Or just leave us alone [Barbar / Mississppit] and quit talking about the damn oil! Our beaches are pristine and we don’t want no damn booms or skimmers! It’s ruining our tourist season! Or Alabama [Riley] Oh my God! Oil is coming ashore at Orange Beach and there should have been booms and skimmers out there [somewhere] many days ago just in case it headed our way! Or Forida [Christ] we want booms and skimmers out there somewhere but not within sight of our beaches…

    So, what Obama needs to do is step aside and turn control of all federal resources over to the individual states and allow them to take command and control of the situation. Jindal giving direct orders to those military helicopters and soldiers..And Barber taking direct control over who and how the news is disseminated…And Christ calling on those skimmer ships via walkie-talkie…NICE! That’ll DO It!

    Just sayin’…P.S. About those berms that would have / should have protected the Louisiana marshes from the oil: It took the Feds. [Allen] 10 days to consider the viability and implementation of beginning their construction. No excuse. Too long [seriously]. However, the fact that it will take about 6 months to build them and the first Atlantic storm that shows up will probably wash them away might have had something to do with his procrastination..

    But hey! It’s Obama’s watch and his administration and he’ll have to take the blame for not anticipating everything and implementing measures to “fix” all the problems. So far, I think he’s doing just that. But then I would think that.

  5. Your “won’t lift the Jones Act to protect unions” is probably closer to the truth than “too many ships already in the area” … after all, he gave them a car company.

    The states aren’t whining for government money … they want the red tape to go away so they can do what they need to do to protect their shores. The states don’t have to “get together” on what they need – the each need different specifics – they just need government to get out of the way and allocate the assets the states need to do it themselves. Your description of “Jindal taking direct command …” isn’t how it works, but that discussion would take too long. Again, re-read Paragraph-5: “Just sign the damn permits…” There are barges and dredges that could be assigned to Louisiana; there are companies that produce booms that Florida could buy; there are ships that could help … Mr Obama could direct the flow of assets and free up the governors, who know the local problems better than anyone in Washington.

    And of course you’re right … the first Atlantic storm might undo everything, so everyone should just go home now. Libby … you do what you can, when you can. If the storms come, then you deal with that. Blaming Bush for leaving Obama with an Atlantic Ocean that periodically spawns hurricanes doesn’t help anything.

  6. “Blaming Bush for leaving Obama with an Atlantic Ocean that periodically spawns hurricanes doesn’t help anything.”

    Who is doing that? Me? Obama? I can’t follow your reasoning here. Maybe your just referring to Liberal Demcrats and mainstream media in general?

    Anyway, I think I’ve just lost round one in the “Great Oil Spill War” to you. You are much better than I with your “Woulda / Shoulda / Coulda” argument. And–good news for you–The “American People” feel exactly the same way. They are DEFINITELY into the “Woulda / Shoulda / Coulda” blame game.

    The politics of the situation bodes very well for your side in the upcoming midterm election. I would say congratulations, but I think the credit here goes to “The Powers That Be” and I see there’s no question as to which side He’s on…Ha ha!

  7. If a hurricane hits, it will somehow be George Bush’s fault (in Team Obama’s eyes) … he did it again last night. This guy is worse than a two-year-old! At this point, it doesn’t really matter whose fault it is, it is his responsibility, and all he can do is whine and point fingers.

    And, oh yeah, appoint another czar.

    He is in real trouble here – a survey just released gives GWB a more favorable rating in his handling of Katrina than it does Obama and his handling of the spill. This isn’t becoming Obama’s Katrina, it’s devolving into his Iranian hostage crisis.

  8. EW,
    Your analysis is spot on. Obama does not seem to have control of the situation, even among the liberal press. Blaming BP will not remove his own black eye in failing to take action to find a solution (he just met with the CEO of BP this week, for example).

  9. We are now 58 days into this situation and we still have states that can’t get assets in-theater that are available; we have states that can’t get permits to do things on their own; we have states that must clear their acts through BP; on and on. These are all glitches that could be cleared up by the White House if he only would. My only conclusion is that these guys just don’t know how to handle the unexpected. Mr Obama’s first reaction to anything off-script seems to be irritation rather than a search for solutions. A little military experience might have been a useful addition to his academic training.

  10. ” A little military experience might have been a useful addition to his academic training.”

    I daresay there isn’t one topic you have mentioned in this blog that in your opinion couldn’t be solved if someone with military experience were in charge. So don’t you think that it would be wise to always take that into consideration when we choose a President? Maybe military experience should be a prerequisite on the presidential resume…NAH! That would eliminate most all the Presidential hopefuls in 2012. And also all of the candidates who ran in 2008 except of course John McCain. If he were the current president he no doubt would have done a spectacular job handling the Oil Spill Crises…

    Visions of George C. Scott [aka] Gen.George Patton sorting out the confusion (traffic jam) at the crossroads in France during WWII come to my mind. And no doubt yours too…

    Pres. Obama can say he’s going to kick ass all he wants, but we all know it takes a military man to really Kick Ass. We should all keep that in mind when we vote for the next President… I’ll try. [Heh heh].

  11. As usual, you have taken my comment totally out of context. Had you read the entire paragraph, you would have learned that my point was the apparent inability of our national command authority (read: the West Wing) to handle the unexpected. That is precisely what the military prepares one for. Leadership is art and delegation of problem-solving. Concentrating on making sure everyone knows “who did it” before the crisis is solved is sophomoric. Perhaps a stint at Harvard or Wharton’s business schools would’ve done just as well (if capitalism wasn’t apostate to Mr Obama’s beliefs). A few courses in theoretical physics would have exposed him to taking apparent contradictions and building logical constructs to understand them (rather than ideological dogma). Hell, a few courses in history wouldn’t have hurt.

    Do I think military service should be a prerequisite to the presidency? No. But pragmatic problem-solving is.

  12. I know, I know…It’s very frustrating for you “Righties”. Despite Pres. Obama’s rather impressive academic credentials, he’s just not up to the task of being President of the U.S. He studied all the wrong things. He should have taken more courses involving “pragmatic problem solving”. And he really should have taken more history courses taught to him by those “wise” people like Glenn Beck…A man who never went to college but he sure as hell knows history.

    And as to pragmatic problem solving, Obama needs to look no further than his predecessor…Now there was a guy who could solve problems. Cut through the crap and get things done.

    Oh well, look on the bright side: After November Pres. Obama will be revealed as the worthless piece of “S***” that he is! “Hope Springs Eternal”… LOL.

  13. Do you really think Mr Obama is showing concise, timely decision-making in the catastrophe? Just yesterday, Governor Jindal wasn’t able to get the vacuum barges that President Obama promised him because of continued in-fighting amongst the bureaucrats. Our government’s reaction to this situation is all bluster and no action. My only point is that, yes, Mr Obama is unprepared to lead history’s most advanced society, and he is demonstrating that sad fact daily. My reference to his lack of historical knowledge is based on the fact that every time he invokes history to make a point, he gets it wrong. As I said elsewhere on these pages, I consider Mr Beck to be the right’s Oliver Stone, so whatever he has to say on the subject doesn’t matter to me. I can’t believe you’re still in Blame Bush mode (“look no further than his predecessor … ”)! Get over it. Bush is not president any more … Obama is, and it honestly doesn’t matter what GW Bush did or did not do.

  14. For the record, I will lay out my precise analysis of the oil spill disaster and the handling of the situation by the Obama administration. Seriously and with no tongue-in-cheek “Jib-Jabs” included:

    Initially, the Administration decided to acquiesce to BP’s handling of the crisis and trust them to handle the disaster with any / all government support available at their request. In hindsight, everyone now knows that was a mistake. I daresay that if Obama decided to order a government takeover of the situation on day two I’m not sure it would have resolved the problem much sooner and with much more efficiency. And I’m sure if he had done that there would have been GREAT opposition to the idea. Charges of “government takeover” and “violations of the Constitution” would have been numerous and furious. [Can anyone say,damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t?].

    It turned out that allowing BP to be in charge of the situation only exacerbated the problem. So for that decision Pres. Obama deserves a great big “F” grade. I agree with you. He erred in judgment on this. More specifically, he erred on the side of caution. He should have been more decisive and taken a “damn the torpedoes” attitude. That is the greatest personality flaw I find in him. I wish he would act more forcefully in the conduct of his office. And I leveled the same criticism at him over the Healthcare Bill, if you recall.

    But what he has really failed at in the course of this disaster is his handling of the cleanup effort. I’m not sure of exactly how he could have cleared the decks and made sure that all government aid got to where it needed to be in order to alleviate or forestall the terrible effects that the oil is having on the Gulf coast. But clearly it was / is his job to do that once he committed the Fed. Govt. to the effort and took the position that he is responsible. He needed to figure out a way to cut through all the red tape and bureaucracy and get whatever was requested by the Governors and the Mayors and the city counselors, etc. etc. etc. into the hands of the requestees at or before the moment they needed it. A monumental [impossible] job, but it is what he agreed to do. So once again he gets a BIGGER “F”.

    In other words, I agree with all of you who say that his management style doesn’t lend itself to handling immediate crises well. And that in my opinion is a legitimate charge leveled against him.

    In conclusion, I take exception to your comment that I am still in the “Blame Bush” mode. I made the comment jokingly as a riposte to all of you who are so willing and eager to blame Barrack Obama for anything and everything that has happened in the negative (in your opinion) since January 20, 2009. I think you know me well enough from our correspondence to realize that I am not an extremist who blames George Bush for anything and everything that I perceive as “gone wrong” from Jan. 2001 through Jan.2009.

    The only thing that I blame him and his Administrative decisions for that I consider wrong was engaging in the Iraq War. I do think that he left the country in economic shambles when he left office due to some of the decisions he made–or allowed to be made–while he was President. But no president is perfect and I don’t expect them to be so. [Unlike some I could name]. And I realize that once he left office the problem became Pres. Obama’s problem to deal with. So I maintain that I am not a member of the H.B.C. (Hate Bush Club). George Bush accomplished many good things as President of the U.S. in my opinion, and I am willing to give him credit for those things. I only wish that the same equanimity in judgment would be extended to Obama from your side. But I realize I’m spitting into the wind…

  15. BP belongs at the forefront of stopping the leak – it’s their well, their people, their equipment. They’re the only ones with the expertise to fix the leak. That was known on Day-One. You’re right, a government takeover of stopping the leak would have been stupid. His chief mistake has been seeing it as his highest duty to vilify BP, rather than immediately mobilize to stop the oil from reaching the coast, and once it was realized that it was too late for that, mobilize to clean up. He has yet to do that … he has numerous agencies running around down there and no one can make a decision. Things just aren’t getting done.

    How could this have been done better? By getting the one government agency involved whose job it is do this kind of thing – FEMA. But as he hasn’t declared this a national emergency yet, FEMA has no authorization to act. So the one place we have experts in dealing with this kind of thing is sitting on the sidelines.

    I didn’t think you were a “Blame-Busher”, which is why I was taken aback by you invocation of him in this discussion. If I missed the joke, I apologize. I don’t blame President Obama for everything since January 2009. I’ve been very specific in my criticism of Congress, Justice and EPA along with the executive. I would love to find something positive about which to compliment this administration. I have honestly come to the conclusion that this administration is incompetent. I don’t think they understand how to govern.

    I have hope that they will at least listen to their constituents (and not just the Left), but I have no confidence that they will.

  16. You aren’t the only one who has come to the conclusion that this administration is incompetent. More and more people are coming to that same conclusion, you know.

    And as far as listening to their constituents on the Left only, I would argue that point. The Left [Progressives] are almost as upset with this administration as the right. I know. I am one. Just sayin’

  17. I didn’t say that the Left isn’t upset with him … only that only uses the center and Right as photo ops. No ideas are sought from the non-Left; no criticisms from the non-Left are taken seriously; no non-Leftist issues are given weight in the actual decision making process. He is simply ignoring [now, over] half of his constituents. That was my point.

  18. Well I disagree. Sorry. I happen to think that Pres. Obama is trying too hard to incorporate opinions from the Right and administer his office from a “Can’t we all just get along?” perspective. I think that’s what has gotten him out of the good graces of his Left–Progressive–Democratic support base.

    From the moment he assumed office, the Right [Republicans] have urged him to follow their advice–Period. In other words, “Listen up, Mr. President, if you want to be a good President and have a good working relationship with our side, what you need to do is abandon all your left wing supporters and forget your liberal principles and your party’s platform and everything it represents and follow us and our advice.” [In other words, become a conservative Republican]. Just admit that our side has all the answers and all the right solutions to any problems. Only then will you be a conciliator and fulfill your campaign promise to make Washington non-partisan.”

    In their hearts they were hoping that Barrack Obama could be turned into a Ronald Reagan bobblehead. And in their hearts they knew that he couldn’t or he would be abandoning every principle he supposedly stood for. He wouldn’t become a right-wing idealogue and a traitor to the Left. And that suited their agenda perfectly.

    Do you or anyone else seriously think that if he had become the next Ronald Reagan that the Right-wing idealogues (and the Republicans) would have embraced him and praised him and held him up as their idea of the perfect President? Of course not. He is from the WRONG political party that has all the WRONG ideas. There is a big “D” after his name.

    That “D” is as good as a scarlet letter. Maybe if after he had taken office he would have abruptly announced that he was switching political parties,well then maybe they would have considered honoring him with the title of “Hero”… Ya think?

  19. You’re right in that the Republicans tried to convince President Obama of the wisdom of their ideas – as do all minority parties. The difference being that he went into office knowing he didn’t have to pay any attention to them, having legislative majorities on both Houses of Congress, and so he didn’t. His idea of “bipartisanship” was having a couple of Republicans over to the White House for a photo op after legislation was drafted. Big deal.

    No one had any thought of Mr Obama becoming a de facto Republican … they would have been happy just to have been included while drafting healthcare (that was done behind closed Democrat doors – remember?). But you’re right about one thing: his wholly ideological approach to governance has played right into a Republican advantage. Recall that Bill Clinton faced similar difficulties after the ’94 elections … moved toward the center … and was re-elected.

  20. OH PLEASE!

    Answer to paragraph one: If he knew he didn’t have to pay any attention to the Publicans having legislative majorities in both Houses of Congress, then why didn’t he have his congressional minions pass the Healthcare Reform bill in the summer of ’09? That was his original plan. Remember? And you can spare me a lecture on Blue-Dog Democrats and townhall meetings over the August recess and the rise of the Tea Party. You can assume I know all about that. I do. That just proves my point that he spent [wasted] a year trying to put some plan together that would be bi-partisan and acceptable to both sides.

    Answer to paragraph two: “…they would have been happy just to have been included while drafting healthcare”…What do you call the Senate Finance Committee hearings that we all watched on C-Span where 144 Publican ammendments were debated on and added to the final healthcare bill? Hmmm? And how would you classify the last minute meeting Obama had with the Publican congressional leaders [which we all watched on C-Span] in which he listened to all their advice and all their complaints? I know, a “Dog and Pony Show”, right?

    I can only conclude that you think he is not only stupid but is also nefarious and deceitful in his actions. No need to confirm that opinion.You have already many times over.

  21. Not stupid … naïve. He has no idea what it is to be an executive officer. Still doesn’t.

    Nefarious? That’s subjective. One person’s “socialism” is another’s “equality”. I’ll settle for “not up to the job”.

  22. Please, let’s get back to the BP screw-up if you don’t mind.

    I had no idea that Obama hadn’t declared the disaster a “national disaster” in order to call in FEMA. Really? If not then I’ll have to add another “F” to my list. JEEZ! How dumb can he get?

  23. My next blog is a final installment on the spill before I move down the list of “IEDs” effecting this election season.

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