I saw a portion of an interview with Oprah Winfrey a couple of days ago. She asked the question: "What do people want him to do?", referring to Obama and the oil spill.
I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I'd like to take a minute to answer Winfrey's question. Here are the things I'd like (but don't expect) Obama to do:
- Learn to prioritize. Dragging BP CEO Tony Hayward before Congress was premature. First priority should be plugging the gusher and cleaning up the Gulf Coast. He should have reached out a hand to BP to offer governmental resources to help and then stepped out of the way. After that's accomplished, then we can focus on what caused the explosion and how to ensure that BP pays its dues.
- Put political ideology aside and do what's best for the country. Everything this president does seems to be a political calculation. Sometimes the right thing to do isn't what's best for a president politically.
- Someone should remind Obama that he is the president of the entire country, not just the states that voted for him. His slow response to the oil spill and his total failure to offer help to the victims of the flood in Tennessee were due in part, I believe, to the fact that these are more conservative states where he's not popular.
- Grow a thicker skin. Obama has an extraordinarily thin skin, unable to tolerate criticism without pushing back. He seems to waste a lot of time and energy bashing those who disagree with him instead of recognizing that people do have a right not to agree with him.
- Grow up. This is the most immature administration in my lifetime. It's comprised of a bunch of vindictive crybabies. Obama should make clear through his own example that this is not professional behavior worthy of respect. I won't hold my breath on this, though.
- Drop the pretense of objectivity when it's clear that Obama's decisions are politically driven. A good example is this commission of "experts" he has assembled to take a look at what caused the BP explosion and how to make offshore drilling safe. This is a total sham. None of the people on the commission has any experience or expertise in the oil business or in offshore drilling. The "experts" are really a panel of environmentalists who are opposed to offshore drilling and who want to see us use only "green" energy sources.
- Don't rely so much on academic "experts". When help is needed, reach out to people who have real-life experience with the problem to be solved. Obama simply has too much confidence in the ability of government and academia to solve problems. Most of the booms that have been laid to hold off oil in the Gulf were laid by shrimpers!
I could go on some more, but I think you get the picture. We have a president who is devoted to fundamentally changing this country. I have no doubt he will try to use the oil spill to smear Republicans in the November elections. I believe American voters are smart enough to recognize his motives and not be swayed by his lies.
- Face reality and start living in the real world. Obama's pie-in-the-sky dreams of green energy may be a worthwhile goal for the future, but the reality is that we are dependent on oil and gas for the foreseeable future. Face that fact and free up the oil companies to access the plentiful oil reserves we have available, both onshore and offshore.
Call me weird, but I'm not mad at Tony Hayward, the CEO of BP. The CEO of a company doesn't make decisions on drilling rigs. The person who should be grilled is the one who was on the rig and made decisions that probably led to this disaster. The BP personnel on the rig argued with Transocean personnel about drilling decisions and rejected Halliburton's advice about placing centering devices before cementing the pipe in place.
But, the guy on the rig who made the calls most likely didn't have the final word. I'd bet he answers to someone in the Houston BP office who told him to save time and money and cut some corners. I have no proof of this, but it's a strong suspicion. This is who should be the target of our wrath, not some CEO sitting in his office in London. If Congress were interested in a real inquiry, this is whom they be grilling, not Tony Hayward.
Will Obama ever stop blaming Republicans for "obstructing" progress? Now he's saying that Republicans are hurting the unemployed by their filibuster of a broad economic bill that would bloat the deficit even more.
Someone should point out to the president that Democrats currently enjoy a majority in the Senate and House, so the "obstruction" is not coming from Republicans alone. Perhaps if Obama were more skillful in negotiating with the opposition, he could get more things done. There have been many presidents who worked with a Congress dominated by the opposite party, yet they managed to negotiate and compromise to make progress in solving problems. This president seems to lack the flexibility and/or the "know-how" to do this.
Obama's devotion to his political ideology and his habit of falling into the same pattern over and over are hurting him politically. Is he smart? I don't think so, but one thing is certain: wise he is not.
I'm hearing that the Dutch government offered help in cleaning up the oil spill and various American entrepreneurs have invented products that show great promise in the clean up of oil spills. Yet, our government declined the Dutch help and has resisted using the new inventions because they "don't meet EPA standards"!
What's really going on here? If I were president, I'd welcome suggestions and help from any reasonable quarter. Yet, Obama declines to try these products or let anyone from a foreign government help us.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Obama doesn't want to clean up this mess anytime soon. And because everything this president does is a political calculation, he must have ulterior motives for dragging his feet.
What could it be? Does he want to punish BP to make himself seem strong? If so, he's failing miserably at this. He comes across as Barney Fife, talking big, but everyone knows he's inept, weak and cowardly.
I think a more likely explanation is that he wants to use this crisis as a way to stop oil drilling, especially offshore, and also to push through "cap and tax" legislation to allegedly "protect" the environment and stop so-called climate change.
If I'm right, this is the most despicable motivation I can imagine. Obama seems to be a man devoid of empathy and uninterested in the welfare of this country. I only can hope and pray that he leaves office before he causes permanent damage to the country.