Peggy Noonan, right here (click on the ‘article’ link), takes a different tack on The Spill than Donna Brazile did. I suppose she’s more correct than Donna was, in that she’s not recommending an approach that is already sinking the Nation. The reality is that President Obama’s error up to yesterday, in dealing with the spill in the Gulf, was to have no technical or cultural background to guide him in how to react.
If a person were to have spent 40 years going to sea, and more than 20 of those years as captain of an oil tanker, that person would have known (technically and culturally) that he had a really big problem on his hands. When things hit the fan, people look to Captains (and Presidents) to solve the problem. As in this case, right here. A person with that kind of background would have been expected to solve all kinds of insolvable problems during the course of his career, so would have developed two skills. First, figuring out whether the problem had a solution that was within his grasp. Second, how to manage the unsolvable.
In this case, there is no solution within President Obama’s grasp to solve the gulf oil spill. As I’ve said before, the citizens and voters and taxpayers of this Nation should not want the government to have that capability. Attempting that would only further crush our children’s future. Where he erred was in lacking the two skills of an experienced captain.
He should have known from day one that the solution was going to be up to either BP or a contractor (or group of contractors) hired by the United States Government to solve this problem. He lacked the experience, and his advisors sent him out like a sacrificial lamb to slaughter to protect themselves, so he started off on the wrong foot. Someone fired the head of the Mineral Management Service, but that’s small fry. Everyone above her, up through the Secretary of the Interior, should go. Plus selected folks from Homeland Security, most especially including Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who should have given the President much, much better advice and never should have let the President go out in public and say “the buck stops here”.
As you can probably tell, I’m sort of worked up about this. Because, as Ms. Noonan points out, nobody benefits from the American President being diminished. In this case, the entire inner circle of Presidential advisors is guilty of stupidity, carelessness, and (a word I love) cupidity.
President Obama needs to bring in the best team of contractors with expertise in this field that he can find. Then he needs to put one of them in charge of mitigating the leak, another in charge of oil recovery, and a third in charge of shoreline cleanup. Include very handsome bonus clauses based on specific, concrete accomplishments. Give them the resources and provide the authority (“top cover”) they need to do the job. Then go out and do what he does best, communicate the situation to the American people.
That is the only effective course for the President and the government of this Nation, at this point. There will be time later for firing lazy, incompetent government regulators. And plenty of time for analysis and finger-pointing. Right now, there’s an oil spill to take care of. And anyone with 20 years experience as an oil tanker captain knows what that means.
G’day all, and may God continue to bless America!