Obama: Um, I’m not sure if the MMS director was fired or resigned

posted at 4:10 pm on May 27, 2010 by Allahpundit

I could wring 10 posts out of that oil spill of a press conference but any more than three would be cruel to you guys, I think. So here’s the first golden moment, which even some lefties were laughing at on Twitter. After solemnly insisting that “the federal government is fully engaged and I’m fully engaged,” The One admits he’s … not quite sure what happened with the head of MMS this morning because he was busy with a bunch of other important stuff at the time. Like, for instance, meeting with the Duke basketball team. In fairness, it’s not entirely clear even now whether Birnbaum jumped or was pushed: Officially she resigned but sources tell CNN she was fired. Even so, given the growing public contempt for MMS’s embarrassingly shoddy oversight, I’m amazed he didn’t seize this as an opportunity for a “damn right I ordered the code red on Birnbaum” moment. On a day when the public’s desperately looking for authority and accountability, he’s flatly admitting that he’s out of the loop. Great work, champ. No wonder critics as far afield as Karl Rove and USA Today are whispering the dreaded K-word.

WaPo writers are touting the fact that he officially “owns” the spill now and Chris Matthews continues to hammer him on MSNBC, all of which I’m happy to play along with politically, but I’m a little hazy on what precisely people want him to do that BP isn’t already doing. Jindal criticized him over the weekend for being too slow in approving materials needed to build oil barriers for the coast, so that’s one thing. But I think our favorite liberal has it right: Most of The One’s negligence here happened before the BP rig exploded, not after.

Turns out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration back in 1994 drafted plans for responding to a major Gulf oil spill, a response called “In-Situ Burn.”

Ron Gourget, a former federal oil-spill-response coordinator and one author of the draft, told the Times of London: “The whole reason the plan was created was so that we could pull the trigger right away.” The idea was to use barriers called “fire booms” to collect and contain the spill at sea — then burn it off. He believes this could have captured 95 percent of the oil from this spill.

But at the time of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the federal government didn’t have a single fire boom on hand. Nor is there any evidence that the government required BP to have any clear plan to deal with a massive spill. How is this OK?

According to today’s report, the low-end estimate of oil in the gulf is 18 million gallons. The high end is … 39 million gallons. Total size of the Exxon Valdez: 11 million gallons.


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all of which I’m happy to play along with politically, but I’m a little hazy on what precisely people want him to do that BP isn’t already doing.

Obama hasn’t called on the Navy.

The Navy has tens of thousands of sailors who are trained to manage and mitigate oil (fuel) spills in the open ocean. The Navy has a number of small boats (think Apocalypse Now), based just below New Orleans. These would have been ideally suited for operations in the area of the spill. The Navy has heavy lift hovercraft which would have made ideal platforms for deploying booms and quickly moving materials along the coastline. The Navy has specialized ships that can serve as floating docks at the spill site as well as logistical and command ceters. The Navy has undersea monitoring equipment that makes a joke of the equipment available to BP. I could continue to list possible assistance the Navy could give for quite some time.

Yet we’re training shrimpers and volunteers to be the first responders to what they say is an epic ecological disaster. . . on the fly?

When we have The Navy sitting the bench?

Jason Coleman on May 27, 2010 at 5:52 PM

Why now is it the conservatives who didn’t vote that are the problem when it’s the independents and moderates you need to win an election?

It’s all a waste of time, but if’n I ain’t doing this, I gotta go out in the hot sun and chop weeds.

Skandia Recluse on May 27, 2010 at 5:21 PM

To you and Esthier, I BLAME ALL WHO VOTED FOR this teenager, with zero experience, substance and credibility. I also blame the machine and anyone who brought us McCain. I also blame those yahoos who stayed home to teach the world, the land and who knows to whom all a lesson. Now we suffer through the worst destruction, ever, in this once great land. Children and grandchildren should and will condemn us to eternal hell for it.

The only good thing, and hope, is that this pathetic historic figure will open enough people’s eyes to said demise. If not, suffer fools.

Schadenfreude on May 27, 2010 at 5:54 PM

What scares me? He actually believes he is doing a great job…

right2bright on May 27, 2010 at 4:30 PM

An even more frightening thought—42% of the population thinks he is doing a great job. And I am starting to lose patience with them.

JusDreamin on May 27, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Check your fire on the “worst spill ever in the gulf”. Our lovely friends from the south had one back in the 70′s I think. Lasted more than a couple of months and spilled alot more oil. As a kid growing up in TX I remember a number of times my dad cleaned my feet of oil after a day at the beach. Also remember body surfing between and around the tar bubbles. Fun times!!!

Brian on May 27, 2010 at 6:03 PM

He’s voting “Present”.

barrythrowslikeagirl on May 27, 2010 at 6:23 PM

OK, by now even our trolls have to admit that this guy is a complete idiot.

Vashta.Nerada on May 27, 2010 at 6:29 PM

“I’ve been busy with other stuff. Like plannng a vacation.”

“See, it is my responsibility – even my kids ask me about it! It’s all I think about all day!…. hey look – it’s capped!!”

“Well, I’ve been busy with other stuff.”

drunyan8315 on May 27, 2010 at 6:40 PM

Looks like Obumble’s hole plugging exploits have failed. A new Top Kill attempt coming soon.

Ogabe on May 27, 2010 at 7:09 PM

tarpon on May 27, 2010 at 4:15 PM

How about North Dakota? It just surpassed Louisiana in oil production last year; it’s scheduled to surpass California later this year, and is allegedly programmed to surpass Alaska by the end of 2012.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703795004575087623756596514.html

The best part? Nobody gives a rat’s tail about NoDak.

BradSchwartze on May 27, 2010 at 8:08 PM

We are the PRESIDENT. We have people to do that sort of thing for us. And if they displease us we have others. Where they go after they are dismissed is no concern of ours. And the manner of their leaving, less so.

Lily on May 27, 2010 at 8:16 PM

He doesn’t know???? Umm, I thought he was in charge…

tinkerthinker on May 27, 2010 at 9:03 PM

He’s not only not in charge, he doesn’t know who is in charge.

Sandbar on May 27, 2010 at 10:57 PM

Check your fire on the “worst spill ever in the gulf”. Our lovely friends from the south had one back in the 70’s I think. Lasted more than a couple of months and spilled alot more oil. As a kid growing up in TX I remember a number of times my dad cleaned my feet of oil after a day at the beach. Also remember body surfing between and around the tar bubbles. Fun times!!!

Brian on May 27, 2010 at 6:03 PM

Brian, you are right on. Ixtoc 1, owned by the Mexican govt, blew up in 1979 and it took them 10 months to cap it. Spilled an estimated 120 mil gals – 3x the top estimate of spill so far for the BP well. The shrimping industry in the area of the spill came back in two years. Let’s check ourselves on the “environmental disaster” talk. It’s very bad, especially in the short term, but the Gulf has had worse & bounced back. Also, it’s estimated that the Gulf naturally seeps one Exxon Valdez per year. Much of it is eaten by oil-loving microbes that occur naturally.

mdenis39 on May 27, 2010 at 11:03 PM

Another I’gg get back to you on that. How can this man have a clue what is going on in the World, if he does not even know what is happening with those he appoints? This is a person in search of his core values and will never find them because he does not have any.

MSGTAS on May 28, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Who in hell hired her? Whoever hired her had to be the one that fired her. WTF? Jesus! Is there ever going to an end to this lunacy? Absolutely astonishing, galloping stupidity. Did he really say, “I had a bunch of other stuff going on.”? Is this what we get from a Harvard grad? His ascendancy is truly an enigma.

LarryG on May 28, 2010 at 4:19 PM

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