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13 June, 2010

All I Will Ever Say About the BP Oil Spill...

...has already been said:





(H/T NewsHoggers).


Adds Fabius Maximus:

Obama’s press conference says much about him – and us.
"Fabius Maximus." Fabius Maximus. 30 May 2010.

This is sad, that the President of the world’s most powerful nation must perform such acrobatics. Pretend to hands-on management of things beyond his competence. Pretend to take responsibility for something over which he has no control. The Kabuki of face time at disaster sites, photo ops wearing a grave expression.

We expect — even require — these things to feed our dreams of an omnipotent leader. Dreams suitable for sheep — not citizens. If we whine long and loudly enough, perhaps someone on a white horse will come along to take on the burden of governing ourselves.

8 comments:

Sublime Oblivion said...

I'm frankly amazed at the sheer partisanship of some conservatives I know on this issue.

They condemn Obama for his perceived emphasis on style over substance, but now decry him for not showing emotion and being "distant" about the BP affair. Boggles the mind.

T. Greer said...

You are correct of course. However, I think the real ill is much deeper than a partisanship. No matter what Obama does he would be condemned by the right. The problem is everybody else.

Obama was elected as a superman. Yet events have proven - as they inevitably would - that he is but a mere mortal. But the illusion must be kept up. Obama cannot be a mere mortal - not in this age where every wink, tear and hand shake is fodder for hours of analysis and ridicule on 24 hour cable shows.

Historians of the future will do well to observe the federal government's response to the DH spill. Here we see an imperial President caught between his own fanciful rhetoric, the insane media machine that brought him into prominence, and a citizenry whose servile desires and delusional expectations have severed any hold they may have had on reality. It is a microcosm of modern democracy.

JN Kish said...

Many people are angry, not just conservatives. Federal government- lack of response, in the way, partying while the country is in crisis. When time is of the essence, you take action. You don't stop for ice cream on the way to the emergency room and you don't require the local doctor to wait for a permit before applying a tourniquet.
Documented Disaster: Onero Hosts The Fiddler As Our Gulf Fills With Oil
There are many things that could (can) be done to improve the situation in our Gulf if efforts were (are) focused in proportion to the size of the disaster. This event shows BP (international oil company) at the time of the disaster as more powerful than our elected government. People in a democracy like to think that their elected leaders exist at the top of the food chain. This event reveals some of the truth... And people are rightfully angry. However, if our government then turns (as it seems they will) and attempts to use this disaster for political purposes (i.e. cap and trade / carbon tax), conservative minded people will come unglued.

John said...

Thanks for the link. When I heard Zakaria yesterday I knew he was speaking for me and was pleased to find the You Tube snip ready to post with only eighty-some views.

I tire of all this foolishness about "response" when our attention should be on prevention and corrective action in the future. My heart aches for those whose lives will be maimed forever by what is happening in the Gulf. They are like war casualties resulting from some national impulse gone awry.

This artesian oil gusher is the consequence of an insatiable demand for petroleum. Without changes we are experiencing a lost weekend, much like a chronic drinker apt to do it again rather than give up substance abuse. Unfortunately, teachable moments have no value when those needing the lesson are not open to learning.

T. Greer said...

@JNKish:

First off, you have set up a rather smart shop there at "Documented Disaster." Congratulations.

I am unsure what it is exactly you want the federal government to do. You seem to have looked into this more than I have - what practical steps can the federal government take to stop the spill that it has not done already?

Are our elected officials less powerful than an international oil company? They are, and I hardly think this is a bad thing. All of the world's top petro-geologists and engineers work in the private sector. Do you suggest we change this? This is a slippery slope my friend. What difference is there between this argument and that made by those who wish the government to assume responsibility for damages incurred in the economic sphere?

@John: I am curious what "lesson" you think we should learn. Have you posted before on the subject? I have heard many a plan to get America "off" oil, but have been convinced by none so far.

jk said...

I'll disagree with Zakaria with his close (starting about 1:40): we, the media, have forced the President to demean himself and ignore substantive issues to emote for us.

I'd suggest there was always the option of a serious response. The President could -- and may tomorrow -- enumerate what the government can and cannot do, emote a bit on the tragic nature, promise a comprehensive investigation, chastise the guilty and salute the innocent who are working very hard.

One teevee pundit made the comparison to President Bush's grabbing the bullhorn at ground zero. POTUS is never too far from a bullhorn.

JN Kish said...

@T. Greer:
Thanks for the compliment. I figured that I could either quit my job, drive to Alabama and clean pelicans, or I could keep my job and create a site to bring real awareness to the scope and details of the disaster.

What do I want the federal government to do (I'm glad you asked)-

1) Recognize the scope of the disaster immediately. Recognize that it is our Gulf, those are our people, our beaches, our marshland and our natural resources which are being ruined. The first two weeks, all I heard from our President was how it's BP's problem... And how BP was going to pay for it. BS- It's our problem, and we will all eventually suffer as a result.

2) Request and coordinate resources from all over the world - immediately. This includes bringing in and employing BP's competition, NASA, our best people, and our military to brainstorm all available options for capping the well. This should have happened in the first week. If it happened, it should have been reported to the citizens. In fact, the citizens should be given daily briefings on the inner workings of the crisis team. Why allow the secrecy?

3) All White House hosted parties and nonsense "events" should have been called off immediately. In fact, if I were President, I would have set up shop on the coast of Alabama to be as close as possible to the situation. It is that significant of a disaster. Other business, such as our wars, can be handled away from the White House. In fact, to digress, I think that the Commander In Chief should be running the Iraq and Afghanistan wars from Baghdad. Nothing speeds up things more than being at the source of the problem. Nothing shows that a leader really cares about victory. Nothing more than getting to the source of the problem and getting your hands dirty. In my book, the Gulf disaster is a war situation and should be handled as such.

There is much more to say, but my time is limited- Watch the video again. I agree with just about everything that Billy Nungesser has to say about the situation- except, that if I were Billy, I would have started up the dredgers and forced the fed & state governments to MAKE ME STOP building the barrier islands- instead of waiting for permits. Who knows, maybe he did.

T. Greer said...

@JK-

It seems to be a common dispute between us: does the man make the times, or do the times make the man?

Could a wiser and more prudent President have chosen a better course? Yes, the option was there. But such a man has not been chosen by the American people, nor supported by the 4th estate. The best we could produce is a President who follows the course of least resistance. And by our demand, this course is one of meaningless dramatics.

@JNKish:

I remain unconvinced that the federal government has the capacity to play anything but a limited tole in stopping this spill. The Obama administration's reaction was slow on this, yes - but then again, BP was telling the world throughout those two weeks that the spill would be of less consequence than that of the Valdez.

Likewise, I see little utility in moving President Obama's base of operations to the Gulf - and for largely the same reason I see no utility in moving it to Afghanistan. To engage with the war metaphor a bit - FDR did not move to Great Britain, nor to Hawaii, when the Second World War began. He stayed in Washington (along with the most important general of that war, George Marshall) and directed the allied war effort from there. And despite the slower communications of that day and age, he did a rather fine job of it.

Why was it better for FDR to stay in Washington? Because he was not a general. He was Commander in Chief, yes, but his expertise was not that of a soldier's. And it only would have hurt the Allied effort if Mr. Roosevelt had decided to play soldier and manage every detail of the American war machine.

FDR was no soldier, and neither is President Obama. Nor is he a scientist, or an engineer. He does not have the technical knowledge to make his presence necessary. Moving the White House to Baton Rouge would not speed up operations, or make them more efficient. it would simply add unneeded bureaucracy to a problem that is already near impossible to solve.

So let the President stay in Washington - or even better, send him off to Indonesia, Japan, Australia as he had planned. He will be more useful there than here. And hell, on the long term our alliances (or lack thereof) with Tokyo and Jarkata will matter much more than will this spill.