BP and the Lack of Presidential Leadership
Here’s the real agenda over the lack of response over the gulf oil spill. Here’s Obama in Pittsburgh, last Tuesday, giving a speech on the need to pass legislation to have the nation “kick a dangerous fossil fuel addiction.” Here’s Obama wanting to eliminate various tax breaks for the exploration for oil and diversion of this money to “clean-energy research.”
Here’s Obama not letting another crisis, the BP oil spill, go to waste.
Here’s Obama showing his ACORN agitator bona fides; unable to demonstrate any understanding on what it takes to be an executive and a leader. Rather, this is a community activist who knew the potential magnitude of this oil spill and purposely sat on this hands to give it time to grow. To grow, so he could demonize BP, the oil industry in general and create a drumbeat of support for the stalled cap-and-tax legislation now stalled in the Senate.
In one sense, it makes no more sense to blame Obama for this oil spill than Bush for Katrina. But to the extent that Obama planned to use this crisis to push his agenda, this oil spill is now and most completely, Obama’s fault.
This is exactly the type of situation that so demonstrates Obama’s utter lack of executive leadership experience; and his willful refusal to use the last 18 months of his presidency to learn that sorely need skill. This oil spill is not the result of willful misconduct. Moreover, it is a problem that the Federal government simply does not have the skill to solve. Obama is entirely at the mercy of the skills of thousands of engineers and oil field technicians to solve this problem.
But, the executive rarely possesses the intrinsic skills necessary solve many of the problems that challenge the complex organizations that make up many of our governmental and industrial concerns. Rather, the executive the person that must find and surround himself with people who can provide that intricate and specialized technical information. Then, that executive must wade through gobs of information and distill that information down to simple, literally yes or no directives. A decision that clearly points a way, clearly sets very simple and understandable goals.
Then finally, the executive becomes the cheerleader-in-chief. His job then becomes making the people under him want those same goals. To create an environment of can-do. An environment of winning.
But, Obama fumble right from the start. In his socialist, zero-sum mentality, he saw this oil spill as some sort of convoluted tactical ploy to advance an agenda. What he should have done was realize, particularly as President, that he is above this agenda and realize that there are situations and crises that require an understanding and solutions that need him to set aside a personal agenda and solve the problem regardless of that agenda. Prosecuting WW II had little to do with furthering the goals of the New Deal, yet, FDR was wise enough, as of December 8, 1941 to realize that he was now the War President and not the New Deal President.
The directive, on day one, should have been: stop the leak. Period. And, to the extent that regulations from myriad federal agencies might stymie such an effort, Obama’s job as to specifically insure that there would be no competing rules, directives or messages. Or, special approvals or permitting procedures. In the early days of the spill, the oil could have been contained and burned–greatly reducing the amout of oil that could now spread to various beaches. The EPA’s squabbling over the choice of dispersant should have been immediately quashed. Louisania Governor Jindal’s proposal to dredge up berms to protect the coast line should have been acted up within hours instead of three weeks.
Finally, creating a winning team effort is completely in conflict with Interior Secretary’s comment to “keep our boot on their neck.” I doubt that you will find Dale Carnegie or and subsequent book on leadership recommending such comments to the people you need to create a winning situation.
But, Obama was never a leader. His whole life was based on spending, usually extorted, other people’s money. And, it still is. His life is about creating a win by making someone else, less favored in his mind, lose. Rather than getting out in front and owning the oil spill in a manner to solve the problem, he sought to allow a crisis to fester for political gain. Now, he does indeed own the oil spill and it is entirely his fault.