Hillary Clinton’s famous “It’s 3 AM and the phone is ringing” campaign ad questioned the experience of a little known Senator from Illinois. The ad posed the fundamental question, who do you trust in a crisis? Does experience count? There is no way to know what might happen next. Do you need more than a good speech and charisma?
Well, the phone rang! We’re being attacked by an oil rig explosion in the Gulf; there is an environmental disaster in the making. The chronology is well documented and while clearly open to spin, it is ultimately, what it is. The President’s activities, social and otherwise, are well documented.
Reaction was slow, the blame game fully in place. Mixed messages regarding who was in charge. BP suffered obvious failures and shortcomings perhaps even criminal. The absence of a full mobilization of potential resources while perhaps not clear at the outset is clear now. The President was “on it” from day one, a point of singular focus to go along with the singular focus on jobs, the economy, Iran, global warming, immigration, cap and trade, closing Gitmo and non proliferation
Bureaucracy reigned; the Louisiana Governor pleaded for approvals he could not get due to “environmental impact”. Which environmental impact exactly was more significant than millions of barrels of crude oil headed his way? Commandant Allen, whom I’ve come to admire, says it was about the flow of currents in other areas. That may be correct, however to the average person with a modicum of common sense the oil looks like a more significant threat than altering current flows.
Democrat, Republican, liberal and conservatives all have issues with the President. Complaints range from lack of urgency to incompetence to insufficient anger levels. The President’s surrounded by conflicting criticisms.
Political advantage is being sought. The President and surrogates tie the oil spill to the need for Cap and Trade, no wait; it’s now called comprehensive energy policy. Beware when they start changing the names. Just this morning Senator Kerry represented the idea that his energy bill will somehow address a random event.
Stop drilling in the Gulf says the President; saying in effect that if we’re not drilling we won’t have any more spills. If I never go out of the house again I’ll never be hit by a bus, yea, that’s the ticket. Against the backdrop of a difficult economy and no new job creation the President has decided to put thousands more out of work in the middle of a region facing economic and ecological disaster. Experience?
The capital intensive, massively expensive oil rigs will move on to greener pastures. The economics of oil drilling demand it. They won’t wait around for the President’s moratorium to end. There could be another after that, and another. “Sorry, sir we can’t sit on an unproductive investment that long, we’ll put you on the waiting list once you’ve decided what to do”. Six months could easily turn into three years here in the real world where the President has obvious navigational problems.
Drilling in the Gulf has a 50 year history, 30,000 wells. Only once has a situation like this one occurred in the Gulf. The President will shut down a significant percentage of the 30% of domestic energy production coming from the Gulf? Experience?
Nearly all agree energy is a national security issue, have we just increased our security exposure by 30%.
If experience is the ability to absorb and anticipate in advance the impact of your decisions, we’ve not seen much of that. What we do have is exactly what Hillary warned us about!
“Thank you for calling the White House Oil Disaster hot line”.
Press one for “too cool”.
Press two for “professorial”
Press three for “It’s Bush’s fault”
Press four for “stepping on BP’s neck”
Press five for “We’re in charge”
It’s 3AM! Answer the damn phone!