You Splashed Incompetence All Over My Corruption!
posted at 9:04 pm on June 17, 2010 by Dafydd ab Hugh
It’s hard to imagine any federal action in the Gulf that more stupidly self-destructive than what just happened off Louisiana, according to this ABC news story:
BP Oil Spill: Against Gov. Jindal’s Wishes, Crude-Sucking Barges Stopped by Coast Guard
Eight days ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered barges to begin vacuuming crude oil out of his state’s oil-soaked waters. Today, against the governor’s wishes, those barges sat idle, even as more oil flowed toward the Louisiana shore.
“It’s the most frustrating thing,” the Republican governor said today in Buras, La. “Literally, yesterday morning we found out that they were halting all of these barges.”
The barges were, by all accounts, doing an excellent job sucking up the oil off the Louisiana coast. True, Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal had to order them out himself — just as he had to order the berms be constructed to keep the bulk of the oil away — since the federal response is still a bit tepid, to put it mildly (and “incomprehensible,” to put it accurately; incomprehensible to the point of inducing paranoid suspicions that Barack H. Obama plots to punish the Gulf states for not having voted for him in 2008).
But what earthly reason could the U.S. Coast Guard have for shutting down the operation? Isn’t it still true that, as Gen. George S. Patton famously remarked, “A good plan violently executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week?”
Ah, but the the USCG had an urgent reason to send the barges back to port, a reason so compelling there simply was nothing else they could do:
“We are all in this together. The enemy is the oil,” said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Dan Lauer.
But the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.
Surely you can see that the Coast Guard’s hands were tied. Think of the catastrophe that could have ensued, had they waited one more day before ordering the barges back to port, so the Coast Guard could send a plane to the people they were trying to contact — and inquire of them, tête-à-tête, how many life jackets they carried.
Well you squeezed corruption into my incompetence!
But is it mere incompetence? Sure there’s a healthy dollop of it; but I firmly believe that at core, we’d find what really drives this harassment and non-response from the feds is not rank stupidity but a relentless and bitter turf war between different branches of the government (Congress, the courts, and the administration), and even between distinct agencies and departments of the same administrative branch. Utterly corrupted by power, the federal officials are less interested in stopping the gusher and cleaning up the Gulf than they are in “empire building” within the Obama administration:
Fifty-nine days [!] into the crisis, it still can be tough to figure out who is in charge in Louisiana, and the problem appears to be the same in other Gulf Coast states….
[Alabama Gov. Bob Riley] said the problem is there’s still no single person giving a “yes” or “no.” While the Gulf Coast governors have developed plans with the Coast Guard’s command center in the Gulf, things begin to shift when other agencies start weighing in, like the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“It’s like this huge committee down there,” Riley said, “and every decision that we try to implement, any one person on that committee has absolute veto power.”
I don’t blame the agencies; they take their cue from the Ward Boss in Chief: President B.O. is far more consumed by legal liability, looking tough, discovering whose “ass” to kick, how best to use the spill to tilt at windmills *, and how to blame it all on George W. Bush † — than he is in helping solve the problem. Team Obama simply don’t want to let this greatest of all environmental crises go to (political) waste. There must be some way to spin the spill for electoral gain!
Boys, boys, you’re both right: It’s two colossal presidential failures in one!
After a lengthy bargaining session between Gov. Jindal and the Coast Guard, the latter finally agreed to allow the barges back on the Gulf today. But they lost 24 hours of oil-scooping, all because of internecine warfare among the carpetbaggers of Washington D.C. And don’t think that Americans will remain blissfully ignorant of the feds’ priority list. It’s in the same class (or classlessness) as members of Congress who attach ludicrous, corrupt earmarks to emergency troop-funding legislation. If they’re not ashamed of what they’re doing, why do they always do it in the dead of night?
* From the president’s remarks in the Oval Office:
The transition away from fossil fuels is going to take some time, but over the last year and a half, we’ve already taken unprecedented action to jumpstart the clean energy industry. As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses are making solar panels.
† “…and how to blame it all on George W. Bush.” Which the Obamunist himself has already done! Viz.:
One place we’ve already begun to take action is at the agency in charge of regulating drilling and issuing permits, known as the Minerals Management Service. Over the last decade, this agency has become emblematic of a failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility — a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves. At this agency, industry insiders were put in charge of industry oversight. Oil companies showered regulators with gifts and favors, and were essentially allowed to conduct their own safety inspections and write their own regulations.
When Ken Salazar became my Secretary of the Interior, one of his very first acts was to clean up the worst of the corruption at this agency.
See? It’s that “Republican culture of corruption” again, led by the Commander-in-Thief himself: Bush personally caused the Deepwater Horizon oil rig to blow up.
Cross-posted on Big Lizards…