I haven't said anything about Obama and the oil leak because I'm not sure there's anything he could have done differently. But his recent press conference raised more questions than it answered.
But make no mistake: BP is operating at our direction. Every key decision and action they take must be approved by us in advance. I've designated Admiral Thad Allen -- who has nearly four decades of experience responding to such disasters -- as the National Incident Commander, and if he orders BP to do something to respond to this disaster, they are legally bound to do it. So, for example, when they said they would drill one relief well to stem this leak we demanded a backup and ordered them to drill two. And they are in the process of drilling two.
Obama also took blame/credit for the containment and cleanup of spilled oil.
The criticism, mostly from the left, has been interesting. There have been panicked shrieks for the government to get more involved, "take over", even "nationalize" the effort. Obama thinks he's defending himself from criticism of inaction, but really he's setting himself up for criticisms of incompetence. Does he really mean to say that the government has been intimately involved from the get-go? Really?
Again, I don't know if there's anything in particular that Obama could have done differently. Such allegations may come out in the future, but right now there's not much to go on, particularly for a non-engineer commentator like myself.
But it's interesting to me to see the amazing faith some have in the government's capacity to make the situation better. If only The One would take over, maybe the oil would recede!
Did people not see the incompetence in the stimulus? Still barely more than half-spent, we have media reports that the money is running out, and official calls from the likes of Larry Summers for some additional mini-stimulus. Fifty years hence, I imagine the Obama stimulus will be looked at as the worst possible reaction to the financial crisis, having exacerbated an already horrible situation. Future generations will think we had lost our collective minds for passing that stinker.
Did people not see the incompetence with the health care bill, which in addition to its purposeful missteps accidentally de-authorized Congress' own health benefits?
Did people not see the incompetence of government with various foreign affairs blunders such as the "reset"/"overcharge" button, the botched reaction to the Honduran non-coup, and dawdling on the Afghan surge? The hopelessly misguided financial regulation bill? "The system worked?" Gitmo's continued existence? The plan to try KSM in NYC in a civilian trial?
No, it takes an event where Obama has little to no actual control in order for certain people to see incompetence.