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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Suffering and Leadership

President Barack Obama is caught in a leadership vice caused by the Deep Water Horizon disaster.

Polls released prior to his address to the nation from the Oval Office on Tuesday night show 52 percent of Americans are disappointed about how he is responding to the tragedies caused by unbridled oil spewing from the exploded Deep Water Horizon well owned by British Petroleum along with other companies.

As President, Obama is suffering our anxiety and pain while trying to "kick ass" where appropriate. Unfortunately, he is not moving our nation forward, even though the horrific mess he is faced with was caused by British Petroleum and Halliburton's incompetence.

President Obama is in a delicate position. He must protect us from moving backwards while trying to move us forward. For example, a national response to renewable energy consumption is critical right now, but we must also clean up the disaster of the here and now.

As President, he can't extend promises unless he can fulfill them, especially about compensation to the people in the Gulf. Likewise, he is strapped about pointing any more fingers to BP or Halliburton, or anybody else, even when blame is deserved. Unfulfilled promises or justifiable blame will only exacerbate an already incendiary situation, made all the worse by the egregious errors BP made leading up to and following Deep Water Horizon's catastrophic explosion.

What's interesting is how the President's adversaries in Louisiana seem to have all the answers to solve this crisis, so long as plenty of money is attached to their conceptual solutions. In my mind, unlimited money will not solve the underlying problem about how these oil wells are allowed to be licensed in the first place.

Truth be told, we cannot do everything that everyone is asking for to fix the fiasco caused by British Petroleum and its companion company Halliburton's greed run amok. These companies are responsible for financing the fix of this horrible mess.

Even local volunteer fire departments don't allow new construction in a municipality without knowing, before hand, how to rescue people in the case of a fire. Yet BP and Halliburton were allowed to license the Deep Water Horizon well without demonstrating adequate safety back up systems.

Therefore, the blame for this explosion and the resulting chaos is on BP, Halliburton and the regulators who allowed this oil well to be licensed (yes, reach back to the source, in the Bush II administration).

President Obama must communicate these facts to Americans while continuing to support those suffering and grieving for loss of their livelihood and culture. We instinctively know it may take generations for the Gulf region to return to normal, if ever. Let's acknowledge this fact.

President Obama's ambiguous leadership style, at this time, may be troubling to some. Nonetheless, I don't see anyone waiting in the wings to take the challenges he faces, other than those demanding more money to solve everybody's problems.

Louisiana's Governor Jindal carries on about lots of issues, but he has yet to provide evidence that he is not complicit in the licensing of the Deep Water Horizon well.

Can Governor Jindal raise his right hand before a US Congressional Committee and say he had nothing to do with allowing deep water oil drilling without adequate safety measures in place? How about the other Gulf Coast state governors? Let them take an oath to say they are innocent in the licensing of dangerous oil rigs. Good luck.

Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen is doing a terrific job keeping BP focused on the Gulf recovery efforts. Yet, even an Admiral's authority can be limited in an event of this magnitude. Truth be told, BP is out of compliance with everything imaginable. It's questionable if even a "kick ass" Admiral can raise the company's alert level any higher than it already is.

President Obama is not responsible for the Gulf disaster but he is responsible for the clean up. I suggest he move Vice-President Biden into the area - put a temporary executive residence in the Gulf Coast. Admiral Allen and Vice President Biden should hold daily briefings about what is being done to respond to this disaster.

Furthermore, British Petroleum and Halliburton executives need to pay for the suffering caused by this disaster, even if it means they go to prison.

President Obama must lead us toward recovery.

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Blogger Kait said...

So in response to several blogs regarding President Obama's response to this crisis, the following is what I have come up with.

I was just thinking about President Obama and the call from seemingly everyone for him to show more anger. The night before last, after the Oval Office Speech, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews were frothing about the lack of emotion in President Obama's speech. My answer is this:" ARE you effing kidding? The thing that would absolutely, positively send the rabid racists right over the revolutionary/ assasination edge is seeing an angry black man in the oval office. " These white men, who usually are thoughtful and sensitive guys around race and the whackjob nature of those still angry about having a black man in office, totally forgot who and what we are dealing with- at least with regards to the racist nature of the tea party and the uber right wing republicans. If there is anything I understand it is discrimination, not for race but for my sexuality (preference is not even close to descriptive here). And I know that just like the crazies who hate Elana Kagen and think she is a lesbian because she is known to play softball, the people who hate President Obama because he is black would go completely out of their minds if he showed any real anger; in fact, they would say I told you so, and trot out every stupid racial stereotype they could find.

President Obama is an even keel kinda guy. I say let him be that guy. He has Rahm to kick ass and we need to let him do his job. I am as frustrated as anyone about BP's laxidaisical attitude to this tragedy and I would love for the Fed Govt to step in and tell BP to open it's wallet and shut it's mouth. But the racism rampant in America would be accelerated beyond all imaginings if President Obama really showed his anger.

Julie, thanks for letting me rant on your blog. cheers, kait

8:04 AM  

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