President to Speak on Oil Catastrophe Tonight

June 15th, 2010 by Lee Eldridge

President ObamaThe President will address the nation tonight about the BP oil spill. Never one to let a crisis go to waste, here are my predictions on his main points tonight.

Legislation: The President will discuss legislation that he wants Congress to act upon. Likely to include our new “green economy” and “stricter regulations” for oil companies.

Taxation: Prepare for increased taxes on the oil companies. Which of course will create higher prices for us.

Investigation: The President and his staff will consider criminal charges against BP.

It is also expected that he will urge BP to create an account that will be used to help businesses and people who have been adversely affected by this crisis. Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter signed by 54 Democratic senators to BP demanding that they create a $20 billion account to pay for economic damages and cleanup costs.

The President will also try to explain how his administration acted quickly and has done everything within their power to cope with the catastrophe, but news reports are beginning to spring up outlining all the ways the administration failed to accept help from other countries. Here are a few quotes from

The president’s tardy requests for international assistance and his government’s bureaucratic response to their offers demonstrates his lack of command and control. The Washington Post reports that the Obama Administration initially “saw no need to accept offers of state-of-the-art skimmers, miles of boom or technical assistance from nations around the globe with experience fighting oil spills.” Arrogantly, State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid told reporters on May 19th “we’ll let BP decide what expertise they do need.”

Two weeks after the spill started, the State Department and the Coast Guard sought to figure out what aid they could use from abroad. On May 5th, the Department reported that thirteen international offers of aid had been tendered and the government would decide which to accept “in the next two days.” Two weeks later, it said that it did not need any of them.

Now, when it is too late, the U.S. has finally accepted Canada’s offer of 10,000 feet of boom. In late May it took 14,000 feet from Mexico, two skimmers from Mexico, and skimming systems from Norway and the Netherlands. Too little too late.

Why didn’t the Administration act sooner?

Bureaucratic obstacles stopped it and the president was not involved or active enough to sweep them aside.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr Christopher T. O’Neil said that “all qualifying offers of assistance have been accepted.” But this bureaucratic-speak did not mention that the Jones Act – an isolationist law passed in the 1920s that requires vessels working in American waters to be built and crewed by Americans – disqualified many of the offers of assistance. But Obama could have waived the Jones Act whenever he wanted to.

A Norwegian offer of a chemical dispersant was rejected by the EPA – more bureaucracy.

When Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal sought to create sand berms to keep oil away from the coastline, the Washington Post reported that he reached out to “the marine contractor Van Oord and the research institute Deltares…BP pledged $360 million for the plan, but U.S. dredging companies – which have less than one-fifth the capacity of Dutch dredging firms — objected to foreign companies’ participation.”

Read the full article here.

The President has continued to compound his mistakes by failing to recognize how to handle a crisis. The President is a legislator and litigator by nature, thus his desire for new legislation and regulations in the face of this catastrophe. But what we need is leadership, and we’re getting precious little of it from this administration.


2 Responses to “President to Speak on Oil Catastrophe Tonight”

  1. Lee Eldridge Says:

    I hope Steve and Dan don’t mind, but I want to share their facebook posts about this topic. I have a ton of respect for both of these guys. They’re friends, and very bright people. Dan is also a very successful business man. I don’t think either of them would mind me describing them as liberals.

    From Steve: Lee, you know I disagree with your views on Obama’s leadership qualities. I don’t think comparing the job of the President to that of a marketing or business manager is necessarily valid. Bush tried to run the country as a corporation and left it in near “Enron” condition. Government is not the same as a business and the same leadership skills may not be applicable.

    “Obama Gets High Scores on Leadership Report Card – That’s according to presidential historian and author Fred Greenstein, professor of politics emeritus at Princeton University. The author of the new Inventing the Job of President has just updated his initial Obama report card and declared the president a “rare political leader.” ”

    From Dan: I personally think its stuff like this that shows why people should strive to elect someone that has done impressive things in management in private or public sector. If youve never had to solve big problems in your career or tackle important problems using practical means, im not sure the presidency is the smart place to be. At least this Prez hasnt always had a silver spoon in his mouth, which is why he is at least some improvement over the last prez. I still think Ross Perot would have done a good job!

    My response: Dan, I agree. In my opinion, politicians who have spent some time in leadership and management type positions (in public service, military, running a charitable organization, or in the business world) or better prepared for roles such as governor or president. Obama does not have this experience. Just by the nature of the job, a governor or a president is basically the CEO of a very large organization.

    Politics aside, and all else being equal, I would take a president with experience as a governor (experience running a large organization) over time in the senate every time.

    Steve, my point isn’t that this country should be run like a business. That’s a completely different topic. My point all along has been leadership. Leaders are found in all walks of life. And leadership is leadership, whether its in business, in politics, in the military, or on the football field.

    I feel a new post coming on dealing with leadership and management 🙂

    And I don’t know anything about Fred Greenstein, but it doesn’t surprise me to see an academic is pleased by Obama’s “leadership”. Kind of like the Nobel committee awarding Obama the Nobel Peace Prize.

  2. Bobby Says:

    Lee, I appreciate your insights. And you were pretty much on the money. I’m all for “green” energy, but the president’s desire for green energy, he’s willing to bankrupt our country. We’ve already thrown billions at alternative fuels, solar and wind, and they’re still not effective, economical or efficient. There is no green energy that exists at this point that can replace fossil fuels. And to ignore that simple fact is stupid.