Friday, June 18, 2010

A Snakebit President

Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal on ourSnakebit President:
But Mr. Obama is starting to look unlucky, and–file this under Mysteries of Leadership–that is dangerous for him because Americans get nervous when they have a snakebit president. They want presidents on whom the sun shines.

It isn't Mr. Obama's fault that an oil rig blew in the Gulf and a gusher resulted. He already had two wars and the great recession. But the lack of adequate federal government response appropriately redounds on him. In a Wall Street Journal investigation published Thursday, reporters Jeffrey Ball and Jonathan Weisman wrote the federal government at first moved quickly, but soon "faltered." "The federal government, which under the law is in charge of fighting large spills, had to make things up as it went along." It hadn't anticipated a spill this big. The first weekend in May, when water was rough, contractors hired by BP to lay boom "mostly stayed ashore," according to a local official. "Shrimpers took matters into their own hands, laying 18,000 feet of boom," compared to about 4,000 feet by BP's contractors.
The locals and those most effected by the spill brought the "can-do" attitude while the Coast Guard shutdown the crude oil sucking barges to check that they were properly equipped with life jackets and fire extinguishers. Again, it is important to understand the Practical Rules of Bureaucracy. The Federal government is employing all of them to thwart the BP oil cleanup effort in the Gulf.