First, to the “informed and enlightened” mainstream media: in all the discussions you’ve had with the White House about the spill, did it not occur to you before today to ask how the CEO-to-CEO level discussions were progressing to remedy this tragedy? You never cease to amaze. (Kind of reminds us of the months on end when you never bothered to ask if the President was meeting with General McChrystal to talk about our strategy in Afghanistan.)
Second, to fellow baffled Americans: this revelation is further proof that it bodes well to have some sort of executive experience before occupying the Oval Office (as if the painfully slow response to the oil spill, confusion of duties, finger-pointing, lack of preparedness, and inability to grant local government simple requests weren’t proof enough). The current administration may be unaware that it’s the President’s duty, meeting on a CEO-to-CEO level with Hayward, to verify what BP reports. In an interview a few weeks ago with Greta Van Susteren, I noted that based on my experience working with oil execs as an oil regulator and then as a Governor, you must verify what the oil companies claim – because their perception of circumstances and situations dealing with public resources and public trust is not necessarily shared by those who own America’s public resources and trust. I was about run out of town in Alaska for what critics decried at the time as my “playing hardball with Big Oil,” and those same adversaries (both shortsighted Repubs and Dems) continue to this day to try to discredit my administration’s efforts in holding Big Oil accountable to operate ethically and responsibly…
Please, sir, for the sake of the Gulf residents, reach out to experts who have experience holding oil companies accountable. I suggested a few weeks ago that you start with Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources, led by Commissioner Tom Irwin. Having worked with Tom and his DNR and AGIA team led by Marty Rutherford, I can vouch for their integrity and expertise in dealing with Big Oil and overseeing its developments. We’ve all lived and worked through the Exxon-Valdez spill. They can help you. Give them a call. Or, what the heck, give me a call.
Obama ignored Palin’s experience as governor of Alaska, which was considerably bigger than the Obama campaign. But his point was clear: If you’re worried about my lack of my executive experience, look at my campaign. Running a first-rate campaign, Obama and his supporters argued, showed that Obama could run the federal government, even at its most testing moments. He could set goals, demand accountability, and, perhaps most importantly, bend the sprawling federal bureaucracy to his will.
Fast forward to 2010. The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is gushing out of control. The Obama administration is at first slow to see the seriousness of the accident. Then, as the crisis becomes clear, the federal bureaucracy becomes entangled in itself trying to deal with the problem…
Given all that, perhaps candidates in future presidential races will think twice before arguing that running their campaign counts as executive experience.
These are days of epic foul-ups, colossal crimes, and ripoffs so grandiose they have plunged our entire economy into recession.
And in the Oval Office sits a silver-tongued president, a born orator and a nuanced thinker, a man who was swept into office on the crest of what seemed to be an irresistible movement for “change.”
A year ago he seemed to be the ideal man for the moment, the sort of leader who could sketch out for us, in the ringing cadences that are his trademark, a framework for understanding the fantastic villainy of these times. He could zero in on the conflict between private wealth and the public good that has defined so many of our crises. He could change the narrative, define the era.
Today our expectations have fallen so far that we wonder why he never seems to get mad, not even at a foreign oil company. Even to figure out “whose ass to kick,” as he put it on Monday, he must convene a panel of experts.