Obama to create "czar" to oversee oil spill

It’s been a while since we’ve dealt with the Romanov Method of Governance in the Obama administration, but tonight the President will reportedly return to it in desperation.  In his live address tonight, Barack Obama plans to announce the creation of an oil recovery czar to assert leadership in the crisis, as Agence France-Presse reports:

President Barack Obama, in his televised speech to the nation Tuesday, will announce the creation of an oil recovery “czar” to oversee progress in siphoning crude from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, his chief spokesman said.

Speaking on ABC television’s “Good Morning America” program, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the position is envisioned as “somebody that will be in charge of a recovery plan, putting a recovery plan together…when we get past the cleanup and response phase of this disaster.”

Mr. Obama is to deliver what will be his first Oval Office address, as he seeks to reassure anxious Americans over the Gulf of Mexico oil catastrophe. …

Mr. Gibbs told ABC that in the address, “the president will outline tonight…a plan going forward, to restore the Gulf–not to where it was the day this accident happened, but to restore this Gulf to where it was years ago.”

Maybe Obama should just focus on repairing the damage that’s been done over the last seven weeks.  We don’t need to add to the task by rolling into it a bucketload of environmentalists’ wish lists for “restoration.”  In fact, what it sounds like at the moment is another way to blame the Bush administration by artificially increasing the scope of the effort, when the current scope already has been beyond this administration’s competence as it is.

For that matter, the appointment of a “czar” is another way to outsource leadership.  The cleanup and repair effort already has one operational executive, Admiral Thad Allen.  The administration also already has a head of Interior, Ken Salazar, and of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano.  They have one boss: Barack Obama.  The chain of command seems already clear enough at the top end, although not nearly clear enough down the line, as the New York Times reported today.  The insertion of a “czar” with an even broader mandate will not clarify the chain of command and the mission — it will make both more ambiguous and more difficult.

Bruce McQuain questions the timing:

Well let’s see – we’ve had a commission appointed. We’ve seen the administration explore criminal charges against BP. And now, the administration that has been on top of this thing since “day one” is going to appoint “somebody that will be in charge of a recovery plan” and “putting a recovery plan together” 55 freakin’ days in to this!?

Now he’s going to put someone in charge and put a plan together?

Anybody but Obama himself, apparently.