54 thoughts on “Not Ready For Prime Time”

  1. The MUCH bigger problem for the US concerning Obama is that he’s a corporatist.
    He should have frozen BP’s assets a month ago, so they couldn’t start handing them out as dividends (which is what they’ve been doing), before the bill comes around for clean-up and damages.

  2. So exactly how is one suppose to handle a busted Oil well a few miles under the sea? The only experience for fixing this is with the oil companies and they have been given a wink and nod to since the beginning of the time. Funny how the government can do nothing right but now all the conservatives are clamoring for Obama to take over for BP where the government has no experience. Our bill has come due on the our oil company friendly policies.

  3. The reason they are drilling in 5000 feet of water, where we can’t get divers or manned subs to is that they have been banned from drilling on many areas on land and in shallower waters nearer the coastline.
    So no the problem has not been caused by “oil company friendly policies’ , but rather caused by and exasperated by the usual short sighted policies of lefties and environmentalists.
    BTW- I don’t blame Obama or the Admin for basically anything that has occurred, its an accident and they have very limited options. What I do blame them for is not telling people from day one that this was going to take months to cap (they were briefed on this) and for the recent demagoguery. ” I am going to kick someones ass”-this from the ass clown that can’t say the term “Islamic terrorism’ and who speaks in all these lawyerisms when we arrest terror suspects.

  4. Bush and Cheney neutered the Minerals Management Agency and EPA for 8 years; you reap what you sow.
    And the notion that the blithering idot from Wasilla would have the first clue about what to do would be funny if so many seemingly sentient people did not actually believe it.

  5. How many deep-water oil spills has Sarah Palin been in charge of cleaning up? Oh, right. Zero.

  6. That anyone would give two craps what Palin says about anything is a serious indictment on our political culture. It’s like asking Britney Spears what she thinks about the oil spill. God help us all.

  7. @Berto, I hate to stick up for BP but you don’t know what you are talking about. The company last declared it’s REGULARLY SCHEDULED quarterly dividend in late April, same time they always do.
    I doubt very much whether the company will pay the NEXT one, which will be voted on by the board in July.

  8. They are drilling at 5k b/c that is where the oil is! Nothing to do with regulation or environmentalist, they found a way to drill that deep that was cost effective. Problem is they were allowed to drill that deep without proper oversight.
    The one thing I would like to see is the Oil companies fund and provide technology for the equivalent of a deep sea oil spill fire department. They fund and it then operates separate from them and respond to major problems. The reason this is need they are the only people in the world with the technology to work that deep in the oceans.

  9. As if environmentalists held any sway in convincing Washington to do anything. Does anyone really think we are drilling in the middle of the Gulf because of what the Sierra Club thinks? They never got the password to Dick Cheney’s super-double-top secret energy commission. Bush administration didn’t care what environmentalists thought. Nice finger pointing at people who had nothing to do with this disaster. Sounds like something that moron Sean Hannity would say.

  10. I don’t think his lack of executive experience has anything to do with this. No one knew, including the oil companies, what to do with this kind of event, and it’s impossible to coordinate a response when you aren’t exactly sure how long it’s going to last and where it was going to spread. What was he supposed to do – order an oil boom to stretch along the entire Gulf coast at the onset of the crisis??
    Now Obama is being criticized for not visiting the affected regions. I’m not the kind of voter who cares whether politicians “feel my pain.” I care what they are doing about it, and I’d prefer to have Obama coordinating a response rather than viewing an oil splotch from a helicopter or shaking hands with people toweling oil off birds. I don’t see how him going down there is going to have any impact on his management of the problem.
    The same goes for Bush in Katrina. I could care less how often he was down there. It may make for good politics, but not necessarily for good crisis management.

  11. I don’t get it, Steve. Are you denying that there are moratoriums on coastline drilling? Because I assure you that’s very badly mistaken. And the moratoriums are exactly the result of pressure from environmentalists as well as tourism commissions and wealthy beachfronters.
    This doesn’t make them bad people, but their decisions do come with a price. I fail to see why the Left would even attempt to minimize their successful efforts to join with others to keep drilling away from our coastlines.
    Is this just an about-face full-tilt scamper away from any responsibility whatever? Or is the situation you’ve caused so gawd-awfully bad here that you’ll say any dumb thing to disassociate yourself from it?

  12. Steve,
    Sponge is right about this:
    “I don’t get it, Steve. Are you denying that there are moratoriums on coastline drilling? . . . And the moratoriums are exactly the result of pressure from environmentalists as well as tourism commissions and wealthy beachfronters.
    This doesn’t make them bad people, but their decisions do come with a price.”
    I’m sure the oil companies eventually would go after the deep water stuff anyway, but you really can’t argue that environmentalists and the left aren’t responsible for off-shore moratoriums. In fact, they are doing their best to have wind farm blocked off of Cape Cod for the very same reasons.

  13. I would like to see evidence that environmentalists held any sway with the Bush administration. My sense is that any moritorium took place in spite of the environmentalists, not because of them. Cape Cod is one thing, but Gulf of Mexico and other areas are another story entirely.

  14. The “logic” old-sponge is using is this:
    There are moratoriums on coastline drilling therefore utter lack of MMS oversight, a lack of thorough preventative measures, a complete lack of crisis-level planning on the part of BP (and associates) in conjunction with the largest (on-going) oil spill in history is all the fault of environmentalists.
    Throw in some stuff about Nazis and you’ve got Glenn Beck.

  15. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the moratorium is responsible in any significant way for the Gulf crisis. Also, to clarify, I don’t think the left isn’t *solely* responsible for the moratorium, and I don’t think that is what Sponge is saying either – he added tourism commissions and wealthy beachfronters.

  16. “Is this just an about-face full-tilt scamper away from any responsibility whatever? Or is the situation you’ve caused so gawd-awfully bad here that you’ll say any dumb thing to disassociate yourself from it?” –Sponge
    Doesn’t seem like that leaves much room in the blame category. Perhaps, but it definitely reads as the disaster is a direct result of environmental policies.

  17. Responding to a bunch of the comments here:
    javaman – I’m not saying the govt should take over for BP. I do think there are reasons to think the govt hasn’t done its own part well and hasn’t really been effective in leaning on BP, either. There is definitely a role for govt here for the same reason there’s a role for govt when your house is on fire (and that doesn’t mean you want firemen living in your kitchen).
    If you read the York article, York cites some examples of the federal response not functioning well, and this is another.
    magrooder – “Neutered” MMS isn’t consistent with the facts. MMS clearly is not a well-run bureaucracy and hasn’t been for some time, but of course that’s the exception, not the rule, for bureaucracies and why only fools want to keep expanding them, making new ones, and preserving the legal/civil service/collective bargaining powers that insulate their employees from accountability.
    jim – This spill may be the first of its kind, but if you can’t admit that Palin’s experience with energy regulation in general and drilling and spills in particular is vastly superior to Obama’s and Biden’s, you’re just unable to ever embrace reality. More generally, it’s hilarious how many of you guys go into shrieking fits over the idea that anybody would ever listen to Palin. She’s a woman of reasonably ordinary intelligence who has spent more than a decade and a half in government, regularly in positions with significant responsibilities.
    On the issue of environmentalists, clearly their lobby and political support has blocked drilling in both ANWR and shallower water. If you block cheaper sources of oil, more expensive ones will be pursued. I’m not arguing that deep-water drilling shouldn’t be allowed, but it’s unrealistic to deny that the selection and economics of drilling points is influenced by where the government allows companies to drill.

  18. I should add that if Obama had been serious about improving MMS’ supervisory and cleanup capacity, he would have appointed someone to head it with experience in the industry and running things, not an environmentalist lawyer with no oil and gas background.

  19. Just to footnote one point — House and Senate Democrats effectively blocked drilling in ANWR all the way through the Bush Administration. I would imagine environmentalists take credit for that.
    My personal take is that disasters are inevitable, whether financial, industrial, or political. The great failing is not in lack of regulation, but in perception of risk. Given the risk, the real blame in this episode goes to the failure — by government and industry — to have contingency plans in place.
    I think it’s also telling that both the financial and energy disasters of the last decade happened in highly regulated, but still commercial industries. My suspicion is that there is a toxic combination that results from regulatory intrusion by government, regulatory capture by industry, and the haphazard deregulatory and reregulatory schemes that result.

  20. Crank,
    You’re laughable about your undying love for Palin. BP cannot figure out how to stop and/or contain this volcano of oil. Palin has never worked for an oil company, has no technical training in drilling, geology, physics, engineering or any other field that would give a person insight on how to effectively stop the oil from gushing out of the bottom of the ocean. Why would you talk to her? She has no more (and likely less since it is not as if she is getting briefed on the specifics of this) insight on this than Obama. Her ability to comment on this is limited in the exact same way everyone else’s is who is not schooled in the fields (at minimum) that I mentioned. Why not ask the mayor of some small town in Louisiana for their ideas on how to stop it? She’s a grandstanding publicity hound who could offer exactly zero to a productive solution. This has nothing to do with what I think of her as a politician or personality. It’s simply factual. What, because she has had contract negotations with oil companies she knows how to fix a problem the solution to which has eluded the presumably PHD heavy fleet of BP personnel on the job? What a ton of crap. Tell her and anyone else like her to stay the hell out of the way.
    Yes, and since drilling has been limited in supremely environmentally sensitive, fishing-intensive, tourism-driven areas it only makes sense to drill in super complex situations without regulation, forethought or crisis-management. The argument that easier drilling would have prevented this crisis is a non-starter. They were drilling here (would they have been with coastline drilling available? Maybe so.) without proper ways to prevent and manage this situation. That is so painfully clear yet y’all’s response is to blame anyone else you can. Nice job.

  21. jim, it’s ridiculous to suggest that having experience dealing with an industry doesn’t matter, and you can’t paper over that hole in your argument just by raising the rhetorical temperature. And you’re ignoring the fact that the President’s job here is about more than just coming up with an engineering solution, which is indeed a technical matter; it’s about organization and management. Heck, Obama admitted that he wouldn’t meet with BP’s CEO because the CEO would just say what Obama wanted to hear and he wouldn’t know how to get useful answers from the guy. (Why he doesn’t recognize the same dynamic with Ahmadenijad is beyond me). If he’d had more experience dealing with oil-industry executives, he’d be better suited to ask the right questions and apply the proper pressure points.

  22. Crank,
    When you go to the grocery store to buy apples do you sometimes buy oranges instead ’cause it’s basically the same thing? Let’s see, I go to the bank, I have numerous business loans, a few personal loans, several accounts of different natures, etc. How come no one has contacted me about dealing with the banking crisis? Frankly, I think Obama has done a bad job at dealing with this whole mess but I’m pretty sure the answer to it ain’t coming from Palin.

  23. No, but that would be a closer fit to any relationship she had with the oil industry than what you are ascribing to her. Please list all oil spills in Alaska during her long tenure as governor.

  24. Crank writes:
    “She’s a woman of reasonably ordinary intelligence who has spent more than a decade and a half in government, regularly in positions with significant responsibilities.”
    This is ridiculous.

  25. Its really amazing how no one on the left ever notices that every 4 years either the Republican President or VP candiate is designated by the media as an idiot/senile person or evil-Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Quayle, Dole, Bush 43, Cheney,Palin and the Democratic presidential or VP candidate is a philosopher king of limitless intellect and total moral purity Kennedy (its Camelot!), Mc Govern, Carter, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Edwards, Obama.
    Basically, you have to be actually as stupid in reality as you imagine people like Palin are in your little political dreams. Do you guys realize how idiotic you sound by arguing that she isn’t qualified to be VP when you have the most unqualified person EVER in the White House? He accomplished nothing at any stop before being elected, I am sorry that you guys are so deranged and incapable of logical thought to actually reason.
    In 2 years, you will be frothing at the mouth and making the same arguments against whoever the new Republican candidates are and when people like me bring this issue up again, you will do what you are doing now and just pretend that you don’t do the same thing every 4 years.

  26. I really doubt Palin would have done any better with this crisis. First, I think her oil & gas experience was oversold – she’s no national expert on oil. To say she had more experience than Obama on energy isn’t saying much. Second, given the novelty of this accident, no one knows the solution, so experience doesn’t count for much. As I said, I really wouldn’t blame any administration for what is going on.

  27. Read my initial post-I am not blaming Obama or piling on. Actually, I have been defending him. A leak 5k feet below the surface, not really much he or the Feds could do. Don’t appreciate his demagoguery, but they have generally done what they can do. The Palin Derangement Syndrome demonstrated by posters here is just really entertaining and a whole other kettle of fish. They don’t even realize how funny they are just going from calling Bush an idiot for 8 years to saying the exact same things about Palin-they are beyond parody.

  28. dch, I am no fan of the Dems, but the Republicans are much much worse. For you to defend Palin, Quayle and Bush II says all I need to know about your intellect and judgment. Say hi to Sean Hannity for me.

  29. dch – my post wasn’t really directed at yours; we are on the same page on this one, for the most part.
    Part of the problem is that the electorate has unreasonable expectations of what the federal government can do to prevent major disasters and quickly contain their damage. Apparently, the federal government has to have contingencies and action plans for any type of major disaster that could possibly affect the United States. No party wants to take the blame, and surely no party is going to tell the voters how unreasonable they are.
    I mean, really, was any political party particularly concerned with the Materials Management Service before this year? How many voters actually knew it existed before the crisis?
    Now the whole thing has become a political hot potato and no one wants to be pinned with the blame. I’m not saying the government shouldn’t learn from crises and fix what needs to be fixed, but it would help to have a little perspective.

  30. hey steve, if you can’t see the 24/7/365 media pimping whenever a Dem is in power vs the 24/7/365 media attacks when a Republican is on- I don’t know what to tell you. What I have found over and over again when I question people about stuff is what they “think” is really not what they think but what ever the media has told them. Selective amnesia coupled with facts and things that never happened is what I find everytime I speak with a liberal-EVERY TIME.
    As Obama and the Dems reauthorize the Patriot Act, pile up deficits never imagined a few years ago, make the same legal arguments about GITMO detainees, military tribunals, etc that the Bush Admin did. Refer to Iraq as a great success like Biden did, etc, As the Dems finish their 4th year in power in Congress and 2nd year in the White House and none, repeat none of the Michael Moore lefty fantasies are proven correct, maybe, just maybe its time for people to reevaluate what they “knew” about Bush. Maybe when every 4 years the same exact no nonsense is said about about republican candidates people open their eyes and finally figure out the game. Watch 2 years from now the same nonsense will be said about yet another Republican-I will put money on it.

  31. Crank wrote,” I should add that if Obama had been serious about improving MMS’ supervisory and cleanup capacity, he would have appointed someone to head it with experience in the industry and running things, not an environmentalist lawyer with no oil and gas background.”
    Now Crank, how about a nice long post about how Obama is always being confused (by the MSM and rightwing blogs) as some sort of liberal or marxist. The FACT is that Obama is a corporatist and always has been.

  32. dch at 12;24 am,
    Who can forget how the MSM chased Republican Bill Clinton over WhiteWater for 7+ years, then dropped the Downing Street Memos from the news in less than 48 hours because it would have been an indictment of Democrat, George w. Bush.

  33. DCH,
    I have to expound on your point about the ridiculous characterization of one party’s candidates as always smart and the other side’s candidates as idiots. School grades are not a perfect measure of intelligence, but it is telling that often Dem candidates refuse to release school info including SAT scores. Gore is hailed as a genius because he founded a cult based on a suspect scientific theory. However, that ignored his checkered academic history. Bush is a very well read person, qualified to fly fighter jets and he graduated from one Ivy League school and got a Masters from another yet brainwashed leftists constantly call him an idiot.
    Anyone who speaks in front of a video cameras as much as politicians running for national office will have slips of the tongue and say things they would not if fully rested. The problem we have is how they become the whole story for a guy like Quayle or Bush and tend to be ignored for a guy like Obama. Obama has said many more stupid things than Quayle yet the media has never dismissed him as a doofus.
    My guess is the origin of this mentality is the fact that most in the media tend to agree with leftist policies. After a while, they believe the opposition doesn’t disagree because they look at things differently, but instead it is because they are either evil or stupid or both.
    We would all probably do well to not label the opposition as stupid. Palin is not stupid. Obama is probably not stupid either. We would be better served to address the positions taken by politicians. For example “XXX policy idea is stupid or unworkable because of YYY has shown that LLL is the most likely result.” Problem is ideas are not easily explained in a 30 second TV commercial.

  34. dch – These are the same folks who mocked Eisenhower’s intelligence because of his syntax. You think he could manage a large, complex project? They did the same to Reagan and Abe Lincoln, two of the White House’s best communicators ever, because they weren’t East Coast intellectuals. History shows what foolishness this all was.
    Berto, the word you are looking for is “fascist.” In terms of economic policy, fascism entails pervasive state control of the economy, but with ownership remaining formally in private hands. It is a corporatist variant on socialism that puts large corporations in bed with the government, but leaves no question that the government is the senior partner. If you’ve spent any time studying the economic policies of Italian and German fascism, or their modern descendant in post-Deng China, you’ll recognize immediately that Obama is following the same general template, all the way down to the rhetorical justifications used.

  35. “We would all probably do well to not label the opposition as stupid. Palin is not stupid. Obama is probably not stupid either. We would be better served to address the positions taken by politicians.”
    Exactly, I agree. Palin is not stupid. In terms of general intelligence, Bush, Bush II, Obama and Clinton were certainly smarter, but being smart isn’t everything. Crank’s description of Palin of having reasonable, ordinary intelligence is right on the mark. I didn’t think she was qualified to be President or Vice President, but not because of that alone.

  36. As far as Palin’s qualifications, you can’t have an honest discussion of them with anyone who persists in the delusion – lacking any basis whatsoever – that Barack Obama was qualified for the job.

  37. MVH,
    Not sure how you’re able to discern who is smarter than whom among the people you listed. Often people confuse smooth speaking ability with a higher level of intelligence. Beyond that, I’m not sure one needs to be a genius to be president. In that job I’m much more concerned with the person’s judgment than their raw intelligence. In fact, some studies have shown that once you get above a certain IQ level (140+ I think it was) you have a much greater likelyhood of developing certain personality disorders. Not all manifest themselves to the extreme like the guy Nash in the movie A Beautiful Mind.

  38. “As far as Palin’s qualifications, you can’t have an honest discussion of them with anyone who persists in the delusion – lacking any basis whatsoever – that Barack Obama was qualified for the job.”
    A few more years preparing for the nat’l political scene would have made everyone a little more comfortable with Palin, policy differences aside. I have serious doubts about anyone who was actually excited to vote for Obama. I was extremely reluctant. Based on what he’s done so far, on balance, I’m not terribly happy. I’ll have to see who the right puts up in 2012. Right now I don’t like either party.

  39. Largebill,
    As I said, I don’t think intelligence is everything either. I doubt I’m saying anything controversial by claiming that Palin doesn’t have an Ivy-League quality mind. Palin had a number of factors going against her, none of which I blame her for: (1) the lateness of her selection, (2) her relative isolation from national politics, and (3) her lack of what I would call a rigorous academic background.
    None of these are necessarily fatal by themselves, but she had them all at once, which is a tough hill to climb to prepare for the Vice Presidency for anyone. She had to basically “cram” for all these issues during the election, and my impression was that she was incapable of processing all that information on that kind of timeline. Again, nothing that more time wouldn’t have solved, but it didn’t make me very comfortable with her prior to the election, policy differences aside.

  40. MVH,
    Agreed that this was not her time. I saw her a year prior to McCain selecting her and thought she had a future, but didn’t expect it so soon and I’d bet she wasn’t thinking of any job outside Alaska’s borders before McCain tabbed her. I think McCain calculated that adding her to the ticket would appeal to females upset about Obama beating Clinton. That sort of mindset really sums up McCain’s problems he has on several issues tried to appeal to both sides and ended up just irritating both sides. It wasn’t just her having to “cram” on the issues. She had to “cram” McCain’s squishy nuanced positions. She was basically only in full agreement with him on national defense. Most other issues they had some degree of difference of opinion. So she was forced to try to defend his stance on things she wasn’t in agreement on. A DC style career politician with no true convictions can manage that a lot easier than an honest person.

  41. I agree that the cramming aspect worked against her.
    You know, I may be getting ahead of a point I’d like to develop further in a post, but one of the key traits of a successful executive, a successful lawyer, a successful communicator is the ability to cut to the core of a problem and explain it in terms people can understand. Reagan was great at that; so are Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia. And so’s Palin. I’m never impressed with people whose response to every problem is to tell me it’s complicated (no kidding; if it wasn’t complicated, it probably wouldn’t be a problem) instead of explaining what’s wrong and how we deal with it. I actually think John Kerry lacked the brains to be President – he’d had ‘good breeding’ and gone to all the right schools and learned to simulate intelligence, but he was never capable of communicating succinctly, in the way Palin does as a matter of routine, what he believed and what he proposed to do.
    Jon Stewart had a great riff the other day on Obama constantly complaining that problems were complicated (the oil spill, healthcare, finreg, Gitmo) as an excuse for not solving them. (Read this Dahlia Lithwick ode to David Souter doing something similar). FDR never did that, neither did Reagan. It’s a sign of not being up to the job.

  42. Crank,
    I see where you’re headed, but you’ll have a tough time attributing it to intelligence. Sure, if you’re not terrribly bright, it’s going to be difficult to understand, much less simplify, a complicated issue. But it’s also true that it’s easy to give a clear, simple answer to something because you can’t fathom why it’s complicated in the first place.
    Also, as you know well, many “complicated” issues don’t get solved because they involve picking winners and losers and balancing tradeoffs. Look at health care – you can easily pin a portion on the blame on any number of factors: technological change, doctors, patients, insurance companies, etc.
    It’s a “complicated” issue if you want to try and craft a policy that balances all those interests and tradeoffs. On the other hand, you can “simplify” the issue by simply making one party bear the blame and the cost of the adjustment. Is that a matter of intelligence, or just a willingness to pick a clear winner or loser? You are going to perceive a person like that to be “up to the job” only if you agree with their choice of a winner or loser.

  43. MVH – I hear what you’re saying, but executive jobs are not an IQ test; the question is whether you have the skills to do the job, including the applied intelligence. (I contrast this to SCOTUS Justices, for whom a narrow set of skills are crucial). The ability to communicate clearly and to have an intuitive grasp of the core of an issue are major parts of that skillset.

  44. “I hear what you’re saying, but executive jobs are not an IQ test”
    I agree – if you mean skills and not intelligence then we are on the same page, but I wouldn’t even use the phrase “applied intelligence.”
    As far as the “intuitive grasp of the core of the issue,” I’d have to see how you develop that.

  45. Reagan was only a “great communicator” because the “liberal” (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha) media, abdicated their job and let him get away with lying to the nation. Did he seriously believe welfare queens driving Cadillacs was ruining the country?
    Would love to have heard him “communicate” his views on Iran-Contra.
    If you think the government runs business in the US, you really need to get your glasses fixed. I think they might be inverted.

  46. Some comments to the above string:
    1) If you read Palin’s book, the McCain people did not really help her during the campaign. I agree he picked her for publicity value and then did not use her properly during the campaign. This is one of the many mistakes McCain did so he could lose to an amateur. For all he sacrificed for his country before, he failed his country during the campaign.
    2) I work with a lot of very bright people. Quite a few of them are the best in the world at what they do. In my organization we say that being smart is an entrance criteria.
    What separates the really smart people from the rest are the traits Crank mentioned. Cutting to the core of the problem, explaining complicated things in a simple way, formulating workable solutions to problems are keys to differentiating among bright people. You cannot “train” people to have this intelligence. It is there or it is not. That is why we have engineers and scientists where I work. One for the theory, one for the implementation. When they work as a team, we get great results.
    It is one of the reasons that academically bright people don’t perform well in the real world. They cannot use their smarts to focus on results. We joke around there that they are distracted by shiny objects all the time. They are more interested in the journey than reaching the destination.
    Obama is one of those academically bright people (assuming we could see his transcripts to see what grades he got) who have no grasp of how things really work or how to get things done. That is why he never called the CEO of BP-Obama does not understand how a company really works.
    It was known (by those who actually looked into his background) that he never achieved anything or ran anything in his life. So now we are seeing the results of our stupidity for electing him.
    You also judge a leader by who are the people he surrounds himslef with. In Obama’s case it is bootlickers, old Chicago cronies, and uber-liberal academic elitists like himself. People who cannot do anything temselves or lead others to accomplish things. Just talkers.
    Just for the record, I voted for the other guy! I am hoping for change!

  47. Lee,
    I agree and disagree with you. I think it’s important to distinguish intelligence from job skills. Intelligence, as you noted, has nothing to do with it. You have intelligent people with whom you work who are not interested in the journey and not the destination – and that’s exactly right – they aren’t motivated to be executives, and that’s the proper way to think about it.
    Executive-style decision-making are skills that certainly can be learned. Certain personalities are more disposed to it (see the Myers & Briggs personality types), but that’s not set in stone. You do have to motivated, however, and it helps if you have half a brain in the first place.
    Experience obviously helps in learning, and if you want to say Obama doesn’t have much executive experience, then no one is going to disagree with that. But he’s not unmotivated by any stretch of the imagination, and he’s definitely not stupid.
    There are also different decision-making styles – Obama likes to have a lot of information before making decisions. This is either good or bad, depending on the circumstances, but that does not make him a bad executive.
    The BP incident does not say much to me about Obama. I don’t see how him talking to BP or applying pressure points (whatever those are) would make any difference. What do you tell BP – “put that cap on faster?” BP was already sufficiently motivated to clean up the spill.

  48. MVH,
    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I disagree that Obama’s style is as you describe. I observe that he has no approach because he has never had to make important decisions of the magnitude he is now facing .
    I interact with high level executives all the time and am part of critical decisions. The good decision makers quickly get to the core issues and decision points. They know how to do this and do it very well. It is their talent coupled with experience and a willingness to listen to the right advisors.
    The “collect all possible facts” decision makers are really the rookies. They can’t identify the important facts that are critical to the decision. Instead they seem to think if they keep gathering facts that the solution will fall into their laps. It is decision avoidance not decision making.
    As for the Oil Spill, Obama’s real problem is that he approached it as if he was still a Senator instead of the President. Going on TV and blaming people will not solve the problem. A leader helps people solve problems instead of attaching blame and attacking them.
    He should have better delegated things to the right people instead of always getting his face on TV. He needs to stop telling other people how to do their job when he has no clue what to do himself.
    I am sorry, I have no faith in Obama to handle any issue that requires leadership. He has no leadership skills at all. He is just a community organizer who is in way over his head.

  49. MVH,
    I forgot to respond to you question as to what Obama would have to say to the CEo of BP. How about, what can I do to help? That is leadership!

  50. “I forgot to respond to you question as to what Obama would have to say to the CEo of BP. How about, what can I do to help? That is leadership!”
    There has been significant aid and communication between the government and BP since the start of the spill. Do you really think the government hasn’t asked BP what it can do to help? For example, see the chronology:
    I fail to see how the fact that Obama has not met with BP senior officials to date would have made any difference here. He’s obviously been briefed regularly on the situation, and it’s not like BP has been complaining that they aren’t receiving enough assistance from the federal government.
    All of the possible solutions to this, apart from the secondary relief well, were no guarantees at this depth. The strategy is just trial and error, and hope one of them works. BP is sufficiently motivated to solve this without contrived pressure from the US government. I don’t see what this crisis in particular has anything to do with leadership, much less an indictment of leadership.
    As for the high-level talks now, they are pure political theater, as is all this nonsense about butt-kicking.

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