What Obama Should Say Tuesday Night

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Mercor, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. By Mona Charen

    My fellow Americans: Events of the past 55 days have taught me some valuable lessons about leadership and I'd like to share those with you tonight.

    When the Deepwater Horizons rig blew up and spawned a terrible oil spill on April 22, my administration's response was conditioned by decades of liberal and leftist thinking about business and government. My background in academia and community activism had never exposed me to the basics of making business decisions or to the fundamentals of a market economy. To the contrary, my friends on the left and I tended to see businessmen, doctors, bankers -- pretty much anyone who made a profit -- as selfish creeps. "There comes a point when you've made enough money" I scolded, when urging passage of a financial reform bill.

    So when the oil spill became a national story, our instinct was to bash the company. "I am angry and frustrated that BP has been unable to stop the leak," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar complained. "We're 33 days in ... and deadline after deadline has been missed." Salazar seemed to believe that BP, which was losing millions of dollars a day, had lost half its market capitalization since April, and was potentially facing ruin if the spill could not be contained, somehow lacked a sense of urgency. "We're keeping our boot on the neck of BP," Salazar assured members of Congress.

    Going beyond rhetorical overkill, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department had opened a criminal probe into the oil spill -- though without offering a shred of evidence that any laws had been broken.

    I piled on, offering that I would have fired Tony Hayward if he had been working for me, and allowing as how I was studying whose derriere to kick. And this leads me to the other problem with our approach.

    Because my party and I have a quasi-religious belief in the power of government, I rushed to position myself as the responsible party in this crisis. "I'm the president and the buck stops with me," I intoned. "It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down" ... "I ultimately take responsibility for solving this crisis."

    That was foolish. Just as Jimmy Carter permitted the Iranian regime to take his presidency hostage by making the release of our diplomats his overriding, even obsessive concern, I have permitted this oil spill to swallow my presidency. In truth, I have no idea how to stop the oil spill (as I mentioned to Gulf coast residents) and I should have been more humble about what government can and cannot do.

    We certainly can make a terrible situation worse -- and I've become convinced that the arbitrary six-month moratorium on new deep-water drilling will further damage the already reeling economies of the Gulf states and could result in the loss of 20,000 oil industry jobs in addition to the losses being suffered in the fishing and tourism industries.

    By demonizing BP and searching for scalps to display in this crisis, I've shown poor leadership. I regret that now. Here is the truth:

    Our economy cannot function without fossil fuels -- not now and not for the near future (wind, solar, and geothermal fantasies notwithstanding). There is nothing immoral about companies that extract the coal, oil, and gas from the earth -- no more than those of us who enjoy air conditioning, computers, cars, and airplanes are immoral for using those fuels. Perhaps we've all learned now that we must take another look at ANWR and shallower waters. Environmentalists did us no favors by agitating for bans on drilling in more accessible sites. At least if a spill happens there, it can be dealt with.

    But most of all, we must, as grown-ups, recognize that sometimes terrible things happen and there is no one to blame. The search for villains is unbecoming a mature people. My administration will drop the criminal probe. We will abandon the paradoxical posture of saying that we are responsible for the response to the spill yet at the same time hurling thunderbolts at BP. Every government asset that can be mobilized to help with this mess will be made available. Our job is ensuring that the more than 12 government agencies cooperating to mitigate the damage (including OSHA, the Coast Guard, EPA, FEMA, NOAA, Interior, and the U.S. Geological Survey) will not impede one another or BP.

    I won the confidence of many voters by showing that I didn't lose my head in the midst of the financial crisis of 2008. In response to the Gulf spill, I forgot that. I've tried bullying, boasting, threatening, and emoting. I now understand that the best course is one I've never considered for myself or my political philosophy -- modesty.
  2. bpcnabe


    What Obama Should Say Tuesday Night?

    "My ass hurts!"
  3. Great article!
  4. "Plug the damned hole! This oil business is cutting into my golf and other serial vacations time."
  5. One point on which I disagree:
    "But most of all, we must, as grown-ups, recognize that sometimes terrible things happen and there is no one to blame. The search for villains is unbecoming a mature people. My administration will drop the criminal probe."

    There are absolutely people to blame. It is already public knowledge that BP Managers knew of a serious problem with the well, days, if not weeks in advance of the explosion.
    There are at least three people that are criminally liable. The Operations Manager, Project/Site Manager, and Safety Manager assigned to that rig. They clearly violated SOP and basic safety procedures.
    Bringing criminal charges against these people would be nothing new in the industry. I personally know of a Safety Manager that's doing time for making a wrong call which resulted in a worker being killed.
    What's wrong is going after the CEO and other top Exec's. While I have no love for Corporate America, top Exec's aren't out on a rig making the call to keep drilling, or not. Where the president is failing is in his focus on punishment before the mess is cleaned up. Clean and contain the f'n mess first. They'll be plenty of time to "kick ass" as we move forward. What we're seeing is another glaring example of how the federal government cannot do anything without mountains of bureaucracy being run by pin head political appointees that don't have the skill or abilities to run a fuckin' hot dog stand.
  6. DrEvil


    "Comrades! YES WE CAN . This is the fault of capatilism. YES WE CAN. ... I'm a puppet. Blah Blah Blah ..."
  7. I agree with this, except that I do believe top execs have a crucial role in establishing a corporate culture. BP's is that of a sloppy, corner cutter. Anyone who works in the oilfield will tell you that. Exxon is known as the industry standard for carefulness. BP is at the other extreme. So I have to say the CEO and probably quite a few other execs should definitely get canned over this. It happened on their watch, and there has to be accountability.
  8. Lucrum


    "What Obama Should Say Tuesday Night"

    "I tender my resignation effective immediately"
  9. DrEvil


    "What Obama Should Say Tuesday Night"

    That's easy! Whatever is says on the teleprompter of course ...
  10. I sure hope he gets a round of golf in today before he has to read the prompter tonight.

    I wonder if he'll tell us how the oil spill 'echoes’ 9/11?
    #10     Jun 15, 2010