The Gulf Oil Spill: A Leadership Disaster

When we’re standing at the ballot box, we really can’t know the type of leader a newly elected President will be. Especially one with almost no prior national exposure. He could be great, mediocre, bad or really, really bad.  Barack Obama has turned out to be really, really bad.

Time and again, he’s proven himself to be a purely political creature, and not a very good one. He manages to get his agenda passed through Congress because he has significant majorities in both houses. But, even that’s been a struggle for him. Just look at the whole healthcare debacle. Obama’s performance was embarrassing: cajoling, threatening, mocking and, finally, pleading. In the end, the legislation wasn’t passed on the merits of its 2,000-plus pages. It passed on partisan political histrionics. Leadership? How about laughingstock.

When he leaves the Congressional cocoon, Obama falls into a political abyss of his own making. Take the Gulf Oil Spill. Congressional manipulation can’t solve that problem. It demands implementing command decisions for containment and remediation. Instead, he responds with a political trifecta: casting blame, ducking action and rewriting facts.

In his first Gulf Oil Spill public statement, which did not occur until the tenth day of the environmental disaster, Obama blamed BP. And he hasn’t stopped pounding that nail. There are two things wrong with his finger pointing. First, liability is yet to be determined. It could be BP or not, or BP in conjunction with one or both of the other two companies. Or, the Government for failing to require, enforce or monitor adequate safety precautions. To be sure, responsibility assessment is vital, but it can only be done through an impartial investigation and we’re not there yet.

As an attorney, Obama knows better than to find fault before the facts are in. But as a politician, blame is his game. Continually haranguing BP serves as a distraction from the Government’s own culpability and from Obama’s absence of real action. Politically, misdirection beats taking ownership. That’s why politicians never step up. They only step back. Right off the leadership cliff.

The second problem with finger pointing is that it won’t stop the oil line hemorrhage or clean up the mess. The worst environmental disaster in U.S. history has huge negative implications for the South as the oil threatens the fishing industry, wild life and tourism. We can’t afford political posturing that abdicates our economic well being to a single company. Given what’s at stake, Obama should have taken charge of the Spill weeks ago. To put the weight of fixing the problem on BP for this long under these cirmcumstances is cut-and-run politics.

As waves of negative press wash over his non-handling of the Gulf Oil Spill, Obama resorts to rewriting facts. We’re now hearing an Administration chorus of “We’ve Been Working On The Oil Spill” from the earliest possible moment by every possible means. This is fabrication of the boldest kind when we need leadership of the noblest.

See you on the left-side.