You know you are losing brownie points when a fanboy at the Daily Beast exposes your lack of follow-through. Richard Wolfe writes a breathless article Obama Briefed in April on How Bad the BP Spill Was, basically stating that the administration had been fully apprised of the potential devastation of the spill, and decided to become Calvinists instead of Pentecostals. A pull quote:
“What has not been previously disclosed: The president was not only briefed on the real-time events of the spill, but also on just how bad it would be—and how hard it would be to plug the hole.”
“The fact that Team Obama was warned of the extent of the disaster so early on suggests that White House officials were aware of the environmental challenge long before they decided to demonstrate concern via presidential visits to the Gulf.”
This is after the May 27 press conference where President Obama insisted, “The American people should know that from the moment this disaster began, the federal government has been in charge of the response effort.”
In charge, but moving like the sludge that is the spill. This from the Houston Chronicle: 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.”
Moving into Day 54 of this unmitigated disaster, apparently the O-Administration had a change of heart:
“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?
The uncoordinated response to an offer of assistance has become characteristic of this disaster’s response. Too often, BP and the government don’t seem to know what the other is doing, and the response has seemed too slow and too confused.”
Also shedding light on that singularity statement President Obama made, Kevin Kristy at PolitPage put together an indicting photo display on just how focused our President really was. Someone else kindly put it in video form, with heartbreaking images of the increasing damage on the Gulf Coast. This video is now going viral–I hope I help it along:
Realizing just how much this poor handling of the crisis has affected his approval ratings, President Obama is now making plans to meet with BP’s CEO, after stating in a Today show interview that he has not even talked to the man. He also launched an independent commission to investigate, and is headed for his fourth trip to the Gulf Coast. Even AP isn’t covering up on this one–note my emphasis:
“Struggling to show leadership in a crisis, President Barack Obama is embarking on a three-state tour of Gulf Coast states tainted by oil before speaking to the nation about the country’s worst environmental disaster and what to expect in the weeks ahead.”
Therein lies the problem with assuming charisma, pretty words and panache automatically add up to leadership abilities. With an abysmal approval rating of 44%, if our President does not alter his course and quickly learn some leadership skills, this blog title will be what people think about his Presidency. Making history, indeed.