Skip to comments.Trouble over Oiled Waters
Posted on 06/18/2010 7:45:15 PM PDT by Congressman BillybobEdited on 06/18/2010 10:07:09 PM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]
At most times and in some circumstances presidential speeches carry weight far beyond the actual words spoken or written. A Presidents verbal gaff can start a war, rather than prevent one. A slight mistake by a President can cause American, or even international, markets to collapse, rather than stabilize.
There is a second point of great importance. Even if a President uses the best words and concepts to address any issue or crisis, those who hear those words Americans or foreigners, friends or foe must take his statements seriously. To be effective, a President must be believable, at least to most of the people whom he seeks to influence with his comments.
With those points in mind, we turn to President Obamas speech Tuesday night from the Oval Office on the subject of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The main purpose of President Obama in this speech was to demonstrate he is in charge of the situation. He spoke on the 16th of June. The Deepwater Horizon exploded, burned and sank two months before, on 20 April. Between then and now, more oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico than from the Exxon Valdez in Prince William Sound, Alaska, in 1989.
Obama said in his speech that just after the rig sank, [he assembled] a team of our nations best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge. Competent searchers on the Internet can easily find out that Obama did NOT assemble the best minds until much later, and when he did, he falsified their recommendations and shut down other rigs in the Gulf on his own initiative for six months.
Obama continues, as a result of these efforts, weve directed BP to mobilize . The Administration did no such thing. It left BP to act on its own trying to cap or stop the oil flow. The Administration did act to prevent up to a thousand oil skimmers, some from overseas, from coming to the Gulf. Obama only marginally recognizes that there are two different and independent crises demanding attention. One is plugging the leaks from the well. The other is stopping the leaked oil from destroying the fishing and tourism industries of four American states, which are also suppliers of both sea food and petroleum products to all of America.
Obama said, We will fight this spill with everything weve got for as long as it takes. Since it is a simple matter to find out that the Administration actually hampered state and industry efforts to deal with the spreading oil, this comment backfires. The logical conclusion is that Obama did not act originally and lied about it, so in the future he will offer more of the same.
He refers to thousands of workers, thousands of troops, millions of feet of booms. If the effort were that massive and consistent, there would not have been a Coast Guard shutdown, early this week, of six oil skimmers outfitted and put into service by Governor Jindal of Louisiana.
If your house is burning down, and the Fire Department is there with hoses running, whose fault is it if the Water Department shows up and shuts them down to inspect their hoses and test the water? It is not the fault of the bureaucrats at the Water Department.
Ive worked in government at two levels, local and federal. I have no reason to think state government is much different. Governments are composed primarily of bureaucrats who do things by the book, come what may.
When bureaucrats do exceptionally stupid things in a crisis, the fault is not theirs. The fault lies with their political leaders who have failed to change the mission and state the urgency. The fault lies with Mayors, Governors, or Presidents who have allowed the bureaucrats to grind on in the same old ways.
Obama goes on to say that BP will have to pay for all the damages. Of course it will, just like Exxon and the Valdez pollution. But then he talks about meeting with the Chairman of BP, and a special fund. The President of the US has no personal jurisdiction over any corporation, much less a foreign one. Did he in the private meetings at the White House threaten BP executives with criminal prosecution, loss of drilling and supply contracts, etc., unless they agreed to create the $20 billion fund?
When a public official threatens any person or group with harmful government actions, unless the target agrees to turn over things of value, that is called extortion. I do not expect Obama to be prosecuted for extortion, certainly not while Eric Holder is in charge of the Department of (In)Justice. But anyone interested in whether the current US Administration is acting either competently or honestly might want to reread the federal extortion statutes and some of the cases decided under those statutes.
Ill skip for now the stacked Commission Obama has just created. Ill ignore the fact that Cap and Trade, however you rename and repackage it, has nothing to do with the Gulf spill and will make things worse, not better, in the future. Ben Franklin first discovered the mechanics of oil calming sea waters. Barack Obama has just demonstrated the opposite. Pour the wrong words on oiled waters, and troubles get larger, not smaller.
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About the Author: John Armor practiced before the Supreme Court for 33 years. John_Armor@aya,yale.edu His latest book, to appear in September, is on Thomas Paine. www.TheseAreTheTimes.us
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John / Billybob
Great post, John. Thanks.
April 20, John. April 20.
Like a Bridge over Oily waters, I will now play golf
John, great article as always.
Not to pick but in the fourth ‘graph, perhaps you meant Apr 20.
Bet the mods can fix that for ya.
Bottom line....This Administration is being run by Ivory Leagued School Educated Chicago Mobsters.
Thank you! Very concise and thorough, more than we have gotten in most of the media.
A very succinct and comprehensive summary John. It amazes me that Obama expects anyone to be impressed with the experts he assembled even though they have not produced any solutions to the problem. The oil continues to flow, the slick continues to soil the beaches and marshes, and more residents see their future slipping away. Left alone without any government involvement, it is likely BP would have progressed to this point or even been further ahead in combating the problem. The Obama administration, and their experts have made the problem worse.
The Extortionist-In-Chief: “The law is in my mouth...”