Thursday, May 27, 2010

Can Obama Avoid the "Obama's Katrina" Title?

Since the explosion in the Gulf of Mexico on the oil rig which killed 11 of the workers, much has been said about the lack of activity by the White House in the region.

It took ten days for the administration to get down there for even a visit. Since then, Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano and Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar claim they have been there four times. Everyone speaking on this topic in the White House and the liberal media have claimed that the White House has been engaged since "day one". They haven't said it in a roundabout way, they have said exactly "day one".

It is looking as though the leak may be stopped today. However, yesterday, alot happened. James Carville, a Democrat activist and his wife, Mary Matalin rode with Governor Bobby Jindahl and returned extremely upset. They were saying that the government has not been doing it's job. Carville has actually been saying it for a couple of days. The part that caught my eye was that they all said, to a man, that while they were out in their boat looking at the damage from the oil in the marshlands was that they all said that they didn't see any boats. None. Where is the clean up? Where is the work being done to protect the shoreline?

Now granted, there is nothing that Obama, Napolitano nor Salazar can do to stop the leak. Their presence actually just interferes with the work that needs to be done. They also are not going to get their hands dirty by doing actual cleanup work. But there are things that could have been done.

First, there is the leak. It is right that BP continue to work to close the leak. They are the experts and have the know-how or at least the best ideas on how to close the leak. It's also right that BP work to clean up the oil that has already spewed out and spread across the gulf. If they don't get directly involved, they should be having someone on sight to see what's being done because they are going to have to pay for it.

Obama cannot be blamed for the leak. He didn't cause the explosion. However, he does have a role to play. In fact, he's required by law to play a role. It's his responsibility to act on this disaster that affects the citizens of this country. Yes, it does have an effect on the American people. There are the businesses that are affected by this. American businesses. Then there is oil itself. The oil from the gulf helps keep us from depending on foriegn oil in even larger quantities.

So what should have Obama done? First of all, from the minute that he first learned of the explosion, the first question is "was anyone hurt?" The second question is, "what is the damage?".

There are only two reasons to delay a response. First, if he found out late at night, he should wait until morning and see what's progressing with the coast guard. His first responsibility was to get information from the coast guard on the status of the situation. Upon learning that oil is spewing he should have appointed someone to go to the area for onsight management. That person should be giving updates periodically, at least once per day, although likely more the first couple of days. He should also have been in touch with the Governors of Texas, Lousiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida and asking them for their ideas on how to protect their shorelines. In other words, how can the Federal government assist the states?

Once it was known that the problem was going to be an ongoing problem for awhile, he needed to get the government assets at the ready. They did start getting the booms out there to protect the area, but as early as one week following the blast, Governor Jindahl asked for approval for different things needed. They have gone unanswered even to this day. Some are being studied. In other words, tied up in bureacracy.

Obama should then have gone to the gulf, seen for himself the devastation approaching and remember, they could see the oil coming. He could then have been the hero by looking at it, listening to the governors and then prioritizing the response. He could have stood up and said "I'm waiving the approval process. We need to get this done to protect our shores." Remember, he's the President. They are his shores as much as they are Jindahls and the people of Louisiana.

He could easily have stood up with his appointee and said "so and so is my eyes and ears and he's been directed to oversee the events taking place here and to keep me informed on a daily basis."

He could have gathered the top people in their field of oil drilling in deep water and had them all put their minds together to find a way to stop the leak or capture the oil or both. Even if he'd said he was appointing someone to sit in on all strategy session for stopping the leak, it would have at least kept him abreast of what was going on.

Would this process have plugged the leak faster? We'll never know. Could there have been other mistakes made and dragged it out longer than today? Maybe, but we'll never know. One thing we do know for certain is that he'd have displayed leadership and actually been involved even if not with his own two hands.

He should have also had someone appointed to oversee the cleanup of the oil that had already leaked out and was headed for the shorelines.

There is one more thing he could have done that would have shown real leadership. He should not have pointed the finger at BP. Stating the obvious is ridiculous and did nothing to solve the problem at hand. It's also premature. What don't they know? They don't know, even today, if this is all BP's fault. In fact, I'm willing to bet that it's not just based on the information that has been gathered thus far.

While Obama and every Democrat that's spoken on the subject has pointed fingers at BP, they have not come up with any ideas or done any work. It's as if they want this oil to reach the shores, damage the eco system to great extent and then use that to vilify BP Oil.

The only thing he's accomplished is to have it brought out earlier that he was the biggest recipient of donations from the oil companies including BP. This is just like Goldman Sachs. Once it was decided to blame them and prosecute them, it was revealed that he was the biggest recipient of donations from Goldman Sachs.

Now we know that there was shoddy work done on the oil rig by BP, but we also know that some of it was gotten away with because the government oversight didn't do the proper inspections. Apparently, they have been spending too much time surfing porn on the internet and not doing their job with their government inspections that may have prevented this disaster.

Obama should call for an immediate investigation into BP Oil, the government oversight agencies that gave the permits without the inspections, and the companies that are involved with BP Oil on this. Yes, that include Haliburton and transocean.

The only government person that has stood up and offered solutions or possible solutions is Bobby Jindahl. He did the job correctly and was only stopped by the Federal Government in his ideas.

Obama had at his disposal the wherewithall to work on this. He's a "community organizer". Why didn't he apply his "organizational" skills to set up a way to manage this?

Even if it didn't work, he'd have at least been hands on with an idea and an attempt. People can respect someone who does something, even if there are mistakes made. But they don't tolerate sitting on your hands and doing nothing other than pointing your finger at others.

Obama has failed. Anything he does now, is too little too late. This is not Obama's Katrina. This is much worse than Katrina was. Sure, the loss of life is way less than the hurricane, but the damage done to the shores that could have been lessened, if not stopped, is worse than anything that Katrina was. Obama was elected to be a leader. Not to be the little boy who said "it wasn't me, it was them."

BP Oil needs to be held accountable for their part in this disaster. But then so do the inspectors that didn't do their job. So does anyone else that didn't do their job in this matter. We're looking at years of lawsuits and legal actions between BP, Haliburton, Transocean, the states affected and the federal government. Not to mention the environmentalists that will get involved and of course, the families of the 11 dead workers on the rig.

Obama is starting to remind me of Midas. Everything he touches turns to disaster. The environment, the borders, the terrorist attacks, the treatment of the Prime Minister of Israel, the economy, health care. How can this man talk about Cap and Trade with a straight face?

Just a little bit of leadership would have been good. At every turn, Obama proves that he is incapable of leading. But he's great at pointing fingers. He's even pointing his finger at Bush, blaming him for this. Senator Christopher Dodd blamed Bush on Don Imus' program.

Remember the old poster of Uncle Sam pointing his finger saying "I want you"? Now it's Obama pointing the finger saying "I blame you".

You're welcome to comment.


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