Free Markets, Free People

Oil spill: Contrasts in leadership

We’re 48 days into the worst American oil spill in history and the administration is just now seeminly becoming engaged in the business of addressing it. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has been hopping around like a frog on a hot griddle trying to get some action to preserve the state’s wetlands. In a statement released 3 days ago, he thanks President Obama for coming to the state and says that each of the 2 times he’s been there (in 48 days) the pace seems to pick up (hint, hint). He also says this:

“Just as we said yesterday, we told the President we are moving ahead without BP. We already signed contracts to begin this work with Shaw and Bean Dredging. We put in a request to the Army Corps of Engineers this morning to release their available dredges and they have indentified four dredges – including one located close to the site that is most likely to be available – the MV CALIFORNIA. I met with the CEO of Shaw today and they said that if the US Army Corps of Engineers will allow them to borrow sand closer to the dredging sites, which we will replace, we could see sand by Monday.

“We are moving forward with or without BP. We gave them two choices – they can either send us a check, get out of the way and let us start this work, or they can sign a contract and do it themselves. We are going ahead without them. Last night, we met with Admiral Allen and he said he feels like he is making progress in getting BP to actually pay for this work. To date, BP has done a great job in sending us press releases and attorneys, but they haven’t sent us any money to dredge.”

So why is anyone waiting on BP for anything? The oil slick certainly isn’t waiting on them. Why is government?

Well state government may have a budget problem. I.e. it may not have the money for such a massive undertaking. It might need disaster relief money.

Most would think that’s something the federal government should have made available immediately. Heck, if nothing else, divert some of that useless “stimulus” money that hasn’t been spent yet.

The bottom line is that in a time critical situation like this, a state governor shouldn’t be left to beating up a private company for money to do what needs to be done to save his state’s wetlands. I’m not saying BP shouldn’t pay – bill them for heaven sake – but why hasn’t the federal government’s disaster relief funding been used to remedy this situaition? Why is Jindal still “undertaking” the sand berms?

This is what people mean about a lack of leadership or sense of urgency concerning this spill from the President. Jindal and the state of Louisiana hit upon these berms as a method of keeping the oil away from Louisiana’s marshlands weeks ago. Why is he still trying to get them built?

Read the rest of Jindal’s press release and contrast that with what Obama has had to say. In one you’ll find an engaged leader on top of the situation and making it the priority it should be. In Obama’s case, it seems he’s being dragged into the problem figuratively kicking and screaming and would much rather be at the Ford theater or welcoming the latest sports team to the White House or attending another McCartney concert. Anything but the doing the job for which he campaigned.

Speaking of campaigns, Byron York dials up the Way Back machine and gives us a little reminder of the “executive experience” President Obama claimed then and why this should be no real surprise to those who were paying attention:

COOPER: And, Senator Obama, my final question — some of your Republican critics have said you don’t have the experience to handle a situation like this. They in fact have said that Governor Palin has more executive experience, as mayor of a small town and as governor of a big state of Alaska. What’s your response?

OBAMA: Well, you know, my understanding is, is that Governor Palin’s town of Wasilla has, I think, 50 employees. We have got 2,500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe $12 million a year. You know, we have a budget of about three times that just for the month. So, I think that our ability to manage large systems and to execute, I think, has been made clear over the last couple of years. And, certainly, in terms of the legislation that I passed just dealing with this issue post-Katrina of how we handle emergency management, the fact that many of my recommendations were adopted and are being put in place as we speak, I think, indicates the degree to which we can provide the kinds of support and good service that the American people expect.


Yes, it was all there for those who chose to actually look.



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21 Responses to Oil spill: Contrasts in leadership

  • I am not going to pile on Obama for all of this crap. Sure there is some schadenfreude, but overall there is not much he can do.  So his personal style is very aloof?  Well Bush’s personal style was to be inarticulate. So just as Bush was wrongly lambasted for things that were beyond his control, I do not want to be a hypocrite about it.
    Even though the donks deserve it.

    • I think there’s a difference between being aloof wrt discussing the issue and being aloof wrt acting on the issue.

  • Jindal wants to build sand berms to keep MORE oil from getting to the shore.  This seems reasonable.  Along those lines, where the hell are the fire booms?  Is there some reason that oil still leaking cannot be trapped and burned as it bubbles up from the leak?  And – I admit that this is extreme – can the oil that has already washed up be burned off?  It seems to me better to have burnt marshland than oil-soaked marshland.

    kyle8I am not going to pile on Obama for all of this crap. Sure there is some schadenfreude, but overall there is not much he can do.

    There is some logic to this.  If Imeme would confine himself to doing what he can to help solve the problem, I would be right with you.  However, it seems to me that not only is he NOT working to solve the problem, he’s friggin’ making it worse.  When the governor of Louisiana has to BEG to be allowed to take actions to keep the situation from getting worse, and when Imeme’s actions seem to be limited to threatening to sue BP*, then I think he deserves quite a lot of criticism.  To draw a parallel between Imeme and Bush, imagine if Bush, instead of sending choppers and other aid, had vacationed and spent most of his time threatening to sue the contractors who built the levies in NOLA.

    Imeme seems determined to reject the sage advice: “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.” Instead, his motto seems to be, “Dither, threaten, and get the hell to the next concert.”


    (*) BP should pay just compensation for their accident.  I do not let them off the hook.  But I want to know where the fire booms were.  I want to know what the government is doing AND MIGHT HAVE DONE to stop the oil – or some of it, anyway – from drenching the shores of the Gulf Coast.  I want to know why Jindal has to beg to be allowed to build those berms.  I have heard that other countries have offered equipment that can help clean up this mess, but that aid has not been accepted.  If this is so, then why???

  • Why would Baracky do anything for Jindal? He’s a GOP governor.

    You think that doesn’t play into Barackys thinking?  This is as petty and thin-skinned a “man” as we’ve had in office for a long time. If this impacted blue states, does anyone here doubt we’d be seeing a different level of hop-to on this issue (or any issue)?

    • This as prettymuch my thoughts this morning. Who’s impacted and how did/do/will they vote?  Is this a case of not being a Barack Supporter means you’re on your own. 

      • you guys don’t seriously believe this?  sad.  just a matter of time before the oil starts washing up in the blue states,  if that makes you negativos feel any better.   and sadly it probably does.

        • I agree with you Pedro that this would be indeed a sad testament to the disaster brewing in the gulf.  So, Pedro, show us where they are wrong?  In his 18 months as POTUS, Obama has faced two major disasters, one with the floods in Tennessee and the other with this oil spill.  Both areas voted against him in the last election.  In both cases he has stood by and voted “Present” for all he has contributed.  Even one of his two so-called great achievements – the Stimulus Bill – pushes far greater expenditures in Blue areas versus Red.  Can you show me where this President has not played favorites, where he has not shown defference to his avid supporters – like the Unions?  And it doesn’t take much to go from defference to benign neglect. 

          • when did the potus get to decide how the money was allocated?  silly me, i was under the impression congress did that.   yes, the blue-controlled congress gave more to blue states.  and a red controlled congress would have done the opposite.  to the victors go the spoils.
            do you think a president mccain would have done better?   we’ll never know,  but I suspect that between naps he’d have his plate full enough with the iran war that he no doubt would have started by now and performed even worse than what we’re getting now.
            the response here has been inadequate. i think that’s the only thing we’re ever going to agree on.  if you think it’s some personal vendetta against red states, well,   good luck with that.

          • Fund, pedro, fund. It’s an english term meaning the money is already allocated and ready to be spent.

          • “when did the potus get to decide how the money was allocated?”

            For someone who claims success just from the signing of the bill, I assumed he may have had a hand in what went into the bill and who got the benefits therein.  My bad.

            “if you think it’s some personal vendetta against red states, well,   good luck with that.”

            Then next time if the area is a blue state, we can tell if it was unintentional or if it was purposeful.  My personal opinion is Obama is an incompetent empty suit (which may be a double whammy, I’m not sure but it fits), regardless of the political implications.  But that’s just me.

          • Don’t forget the southern ice Storm  that he also basically ignored

      • Yep.  Just ask the folks in Nashville.  And, if you care to take a short jaunt in the Wayback Machine, ask the people of Kentucky during those huge winter storms shortly after Imeme was inaugurated.

        But, in all serious, it may not be “red state” vs. “blue state” with him: it could be that he just doesn’t give a sh*t no matter who’s involved.  “Hey, I told you I’d sue somebody, didn’t I?  What more do you want?  Now, if you teabaggers will excuse me, the Stones are warming up on the White House lawn and my wagyu filet is getting cold.  Later, b*tches.”

  • My crystal ball is being very taciturn about what caused the wild well here, so blaming Obama…or anybody at this juncture…is just stupid.  Likewise, I don’t blame Obama for the continuing wildness of the well.  I DO blame Obama for not providing the leadership that would make MITIGATION possible, easier, less expensive, and just smarter.  I expect him to LEAD by making sure the bureaucracy he controls GETS OUT OF THE WAY, GETS STUFF THEY CONTROL ON SCENE, AND NEVER SAYS SOMETHING AS STUPID AS “CRIMINAL PROSECUTION” during the crisis.  All of which he’s failed to do.  Miserably.  Repeatedly.  While lying.

  • The President could have no bigger fans than the governors of LA, MS, AL and FL. What the President should be saying is “Tell me what you need and tell me who is getting in your way. I’ll fix it.” Imagine if you will a time six months in the future where Bobby Jindal says, “Thanks to the support of the President, we were able to take many actions that limited the damage to our state. Our success is directly attributable to his insistence that we have the resources needed where and when they were needed.”
    Instead we have laugh lines like “the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA are doing a study of the effects”. Remember FDR’s argument for Lend Lease. If you have a garden hose and your neighbor’s house is on fire, you lend him the hose and worry about payment later. In this case we have federal agencies worrying about whether or not the hose is the right diameter and whether or not a brass or plastic nozzle is more efficient.
    The President should be telling Jindal, Allen and BP: Do what you need to do and we’ll sort out the details later. And if anybody gets in your way I’ll deal with them.

  • Obama seems to think that Leadership is giving a speech saying “I’m in charge”.

    The hard lesson that America is learning is that that isnt anywhere near enough.

    • I agree – Obama thinks simply voting “Present” is all he needs to do!

  • Good grief!  Now Imeme is posing as the tough guy:

    “I was down there a month ago, before most of these talkin’ heads were even paying attention to the gulf. A month ago I was meeting with fishermen down there, standin’ in the rain talking about what a potential crisis this could be. and I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar, we talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick.

    This is truly pathetic.  Not only is he a few weeks late and a couple of billion dollars short, but this sort of macho posing in an effort to demonstrate his anger and concern is not only transparent (well, perhaps not to the idiots who support him) but also shows a seriously misplaced set of priorities.  Listen, stupid: the time to kick ass comes later.  Right now, we want some actions taken to contain and clean up the spill.  Gettin’ in a few rounds of golf and listenin’ to aged rockers serenading your wife don’t count on that score.

    Oh, and as Allahpundit notes, NBC’s Chuck Todd does his best to make Imeme, normally portrayed as a coolly intellectual, erudite, and magnificent orator, seem like a common dude with his careful droppin’ of endin’ g’s.  What’s next?  Imeme standin’ on a pile of oil-soaked dead pelicans with a bullhorn?  I thought that one of the (many) things libs detested about Bush – and hence DIDN’T want from Imeme – was this sort of cowboy posing, not to mention poor pronunciation.

    Oh, and speaking of “misplaced priorities”, here’s a pic of White House aides not quite spendin’ every moment workin’ on the spill as Imeme said that they were:

    Imagine if it was Bush…

  • Obama has all the incoherent traits of a third-world dictator. All hat, no cattle. He has no — as in zero — instinct for leadership. None. Nada. Zip. This was the silliest and most catastrophic thing America has ever done to itself at the voting booth, and that’s saying a lot.
    He can’t be impeached. He’s too immersed in the fluids in the tank of narcissism to resign. He wouldn’t have a clue as to what to do to do the right thing if he had any inclination to do the right thing, which he doesn’t. This is the danger of democracy in extremis. The American constitutional system is not set up to deal with this sort of thing.

    It’s a catastrophe, from A to Z. Without breaks.