Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way

-By Dan Scott

President Obama during his news conference took great pains to impress upon the public and notably the MSM that he was in charge and was so since day one. He proclaimed on the very first day he had put together a special situational awareness group just to track the progress of the oil spill. So let’s take President Obama at his word that he was in charge since day one and that the buck stopped with him. Let’s look at three of his decisions since the major oil leak turned into an ecological catastrophe of historic proportions.

The government for some years now had worked out a contingency plan for just such an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. The well-researched protocol called for a burn off of the fresh crude oil reaching the water’s surface to prevent it from dispersing and drifting to the Gulf Coast. In the event of a massive spill there were only two alternatives, burn it off OR disperse it. The problem with dispersants and why ships in port normally ban its use is it contaminates the water column making it potentially poisonous to all marine life. This is on top of the potential poisonous nature of the dispersant itself. Once the magnitude of the spill became clear, only a few days were available to burn off the crude before it dispersed too widely for an effective burn off. President Obama, the man who claims to be in charge in essence made the fateful decision to disregard the oil spill protocol and dither thus forcing the use of dispersant to mitigate the damage to the estuaries. You may want to defend him to say, people in the various agencies made these decisions such as the EPA, NOAA, USCG, Army Corps of Engineers and MMS. However, as the man in charge, the buck stops with him and as such not only is he responsible for their actions because he hand picked most of the department heads, he was fully apprised every step of the way. The insight here is President Obama’s management style of decision by committee, where he, the President gets the credit for all the correct decisions and anytime a wrong decision is made someone gets thrown under the bus. Hence Elizabeth Birnbaum (hand picked by Obama) of MMS falls on her sword, resigning because she was responsible for the lack of monthly inspections of the oilrig that never took place while Obama was in office. Yes apparently inspections didn’t occur under George W Bush’s watch either, however, missing 15 months worth is still way too many to claim Bush did it when Obama’s hand picked leader was running the show.

Over two weeks ago, the governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal asked the Army Corps of Engineers for immediate permission to dredge up sand to pile as berms to protect the estuaries of the Mississippi delta. The Army Corps responded they had to study the long-term environmental impact of doing this. In other words, President Obama decided to dither and think about which was worse, having millions of gallons of crude oil wash up into the estuaries in short order fouling birds, mussels fish and plant life for years to come OR how much potential damage dredging and piling sand at the edge of the estuary may do at some uncertain point in the future on the barrier islands. Let’s think about that for a moment, sand that can be easily scooped away when the emergency is over with minimal impact on the estuary versus billions in damage to the estuary by letting the crude oil soak on everything taking years to clean up. Let me put a fine point on that, even though it might take many months to protect the entire potential area of the Gulf Coast meaning some crude oil will get through where the berm wasn’t built yet, most of the Gulf Coast will be sacrificed because they couldn’t do it all on an ALL or NOTHING premise. Two weeks of berm building that would have saved some of the estuary now has been lost and will continue increasingly to be lost while President Obama dithers.

Moving on to the trifecta, the EPA told BP they shouldn’t use so much of the kind of dispersant that was most effective in dealing with the oil because it was toxic. Let’s think about that shall we? The dispersant in question is only toxic for a short period of time and breaks down, while the oil left to it’s own devises takes…months to break down. Any marine life that potentially would have been harmed were already done in by the oil and would continue to be harmed as long as the oil were left to float freely in the Gulf of Mexico.

Of the few personal insights we have of Barack Obama, none speaks more volumes about his management style than his daughter’s, “Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?” From the mouth of babes, gems come forth as such was this gem Obama so self righteously shared with us thinking this somehow connected the public with his frustration in dealing with the massive oil leak. What he didn’t realize was in reciting this observation was that even his daughter pointed out the obvious failing of President Obama’s leadership skills. Now this shouldn’t come as a surprise but as a disappoint since for a year and a half President Obama has supposedly had on the job training to be a chief executive of one of the largest bureaucracies in the world. Let’s step back for a moment and ask the question that was ignored totally by the MSM and actively covered up during the 2008 election campaign. What qualifies Barack Obama to be president of the United States? He had zero executive experience, no business leadership, no government leadership as in governor or mayor, nor military leadership experience of any kind to prepare him for one of thee toughest JOBS in the world. Please stop insulting our intelligence by claiming he “ran” his own political campaign. We know better, that’s the campaign manager’s J-O-B. One of the chief skills learned and honed by years of experience is that of the chain of command and the second hot on it’s heals is delegation. No executive worth their salt can run a bureaucracy without realizing anything that gets accomplished is done by the front line people with ONE person responsible for the outcome. That one person responsible in order to be effective must have both the authority and means to accomplish the task given to them. It is clear no such person was appointed by President Obama to perform this task much less given the authority or means to reign in on conflicting myopic agendas by various agencies involved in dealing with spill. President Obama, the man supposedly in charge certainly didn’t exercise it.

To top off President Obama’s egg on the face moment, the man supposedly in charge didn’t even know whether the director of MMS had resigned or was fired by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. He claims he was busy with other things. What other things? More important than dealing with an incompetent nonfeasant director making the government partly responsible for the biggest oil spill in the world’s history? You think honoring a basketball team is more important? Didn’t think so. As a leader, an executive, this was an epic failure to take responsibility. Let’s clear the air here about taking responsibility, don’t conflate responsibility with accepting fault or wrongdoing. A leader takes responsibility such as this oil clean up because they are dealing with the consequences of some negative action. The origin of that action may or may not be self-inflicted. A leader recognizes when a one time event threatens great harm if not dealt with in a timely and focused manner; they need to have someone tasked in a full time way to focus on resolving the problem and not carp or whine or finger point but get the J-O-B done. What should have happened here was a person who is experienced with large logistical tasks should have been appointed and given the power to deal with the situation much like the manner George W Bush did with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when he appointed Lt General Honoré. The General was all business, took names and kicked butt when he needed to get the J-O-B done. America felt a great sense of pride when Lt General Honoré got to work on New Orleans and we owe him a great debt of gratitude.

President Obama has had over a year to get up to speed with learning to be an executive, clearly 15 months wasn’t enough time and based on his current behavior the next two and half years won’t bring any improvement. It’s time to fish or cut bait with President Obama, it’s time he leads, follows or gets out of the way. For the sake of the country and environment something has to be done by someone. Someone in the Democrat Party has to have a heart to heart with Obama, get him to appoint Lt General Honoré or someone of his stature to reign in on the agencies to make them pull in the same direction and get the J-O-B done before this catastrophe becomes manifestly worse by continued inaction and misdirection. President Obama isn’t listening the opposition party much less the public these days, so it falls upon the Democrats. While seeing Obama flounder and fail may bring an “I told you so” to my lips, as a human being seeing the ecological devastation brings me to say we can’t afford failure and it’s past time for Obama to do the proper thing. If he cannot rise to the occasion he needs to resign immediately because the price of inaction and misdirected action is immense.

Which brings me to the second culpable party in the failure to respond properly to this crisis, namely, the MSM. It was the MSM who repeatedly told us that we were being racist for criticizing President Obama. It was the MSM who repeatedly covered up and refused to deal with his mis-steps and as a result he never learned from his mistakes. Like an over protective and permissive parent, the MSM coddled and enabled President Obama not to become the chief executive he needed to be, we needed him to be. In fact, the MSM failed miserably in their journalistic efforts to perform the necessary due diligence on Barack Obama when he was a candidate. Had they done so maybe Obama would have dropped out early on leaving room for General Colin Powell to run against Hilary Clinton? I may disagree with General Powell’s politics but I can confidently assure you he would not have made such amateur mistakes of incompetence as made here. In one sense, the MSM is equally responsible for turning a containable oil spill into an ecological catastrophe because had they held Obama accountable from day one in January 2009 he would have been forced to acquire and hone those skills he needed, we needed for him to succeed. As such now we are stuck with a thin-skinned ideologue that actually had the nerve to take the MSM to task for asking so many questions about BP! Obama is your creation and you got what you wished for, a spoiled insecure incompetent politician who is now more interested in saving his hide by finger pointing than dealing with his failures and growing into the person the country needs him to be. Thanks a lot guys. So you in the MSM now need to face up to your failures affecting the nation and the environment, get Obama to appoint a point person as suggested or call for his resignation. The rest is on you otherwise get out of the way, let the bloggers hold Obama accountable and follow our lead.


Lt General Honoré (retired)

Obama’s first press conference

Head of Minerals Management Service fired, sources say

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

Avoiding the slick spots: Agency more adept at blowing hot air

Jindal to Obama: We’re tired of waiting for the feds to help with the spill

Sand barrier idea faces bureaucratic delays, ecological questions

President Obama under fire for BP spill response

Gibbs Scolds WH Reporters for Asking So Many BP Questions

Officials: Leaks spewing more oil into Gulf

Dan Scott calls himself a “Member of the Global Capitalist Cabal preaching Capitalism and personal responsibility as the economic solution to world poverty.” He is also a member of the 14th Amendment Society — victimhood is a liberal code word for denying the civil rights of others. He is also a proud member of the Global Warming Denier Cabal, insisting that facts not agendas determine the truth.

Dan can be reached for comments at dscott8186@yahoo.com.

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2 thoughts on “
Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way”

  1. UPDATE:

    What did Obama know and when did he know it? He knew the extent and duration of the problem and knew it from the very beginning!!!!

    As the president visits the Gulf anew, Richard Wolffe reports that he was first briefed in April on how bad the spill would be. Plus: the real reason the White House is so mad at Carville—and why Obama would rather talk about the economy.


    A must read by everyone. What more confirmation can one possibly have on my article posted at Publius Forum????

  2. Growing Incompetence:

    Steffy: U.S. and BP slow to accept Dutch expertise


    Three days after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch government offered to help.

    It was willing to provide ships outfitted with oil-skimming booms, and it proposed a plan for building sand barriers to protect sensitive marshlands.

    The response from the Obama administration and BP, which are coordinating the cleanup: “The embassy got a nice letter from the administration that said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’” said Geert Visser, consul general for the Netherlands in Houston.

    Now, almost seven weeks later, as the oil spewing from the battered well spreads across the Gulf and soils pristine beaches and coastline, BP and our government have reconsidered.

    U.S. ships are being outfitted this week with four pairs of the skimming booms airlifted from the Netherlands and should be deployed within days. Each pair can process 5 million gallons of water a day, removing 20,000 tons of oil and sludge.

    At that rate, how much more oil could have been removed from the Gulf during the past month?

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