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Inside story of how Obama bungled oil spill

Dick Morris's picture

It’s one thing to say that President Obama’s administration showed its ineptitude and mismanagement in its handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. It is quite another to grasp the situation up close, as I did during a recent visit to Alabama.

According to state disaster relief officials, Alabama conceived a plan — early on — to erect huge booms offshore to shield the approximately 200 miles of its coastline from oil. Rather than install the relatively light and shallow booms in use elsewhere, the state (with assistance from the Coast Guard) canvassed the world and located enough huge, heavy booms — some weighing tons and seven meters high — to guard its coast.

But ... no sooner were the booms in place than the Coast Guard, perhaps under pressure from the public comments of James Carville, uprooted them and moved them to guard the Louisiana coastline, instead.

So, Alabama decided on a backup plan. It would buy snare booms to catch the oil as it began to wash up on the beaches.

But ... the Fish and Wildlife Administration vetoed the plan saying it would endanger sea turtles that nest on the beaches.

So, Alabama — ever resourceful — decided to hire 400 workers to patrol the beaches in person scooping up oil that had washed ashore.

But ... OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Agency) refused to allow them to work more than 20 minutes out of every hour and required an hour-long break after 40 minutes of work, so the cleanup proceeded at a very slow pace.

The short answer is that every agency — each with its own particular bureaucratic agenda — was able to veto each aspect of any plan to fight the spill with the unintended consequence that nothing stopped the oil from destroying hundreds of miles of wetlands, habitats, beaches, fisheries and recreational facilities.

Where was the president? Why did he not intervene in these and countless other bureaucratic controversies to force a focus on the oil, not on the turtles and other incidental concerns.

According to Alabama Gov. Bob Reilly, the administration’s “lack of ability has become transparent” in its handling of the oil spill. He notes that one stellar exception has been Obama aide Valerie Jarrett, without whom, he says, nothing whatever would have gotten done.

Eventually, the state stopped listening to federal agencies and just has gone ahead and given funds directly to the local folks fighting the spill rather than paying attention to the directives of the Unified Command. Apparently, there is a world of difference between the competence of the Coast Guard and the superb and efficient regular Navy and military.

Now, the greatest crisis of all looms on the horizon, as hurricanes sweep into the Gulf. Should one hit offshore, it will destroy all the booms that have been placed to stop the oil from reaching shore. And there are no more booms anywhere in the world, according to Alabama disaster relief officials.

The political impact of this incompetence has only just begun to be felt. While administration operatives are flying high after a week in which the president’s ratings rebounded to 49 percent in Rasmussen after his firing of Gen. McChrystal, the oil is still gushing and the situation is about to worsen.

The obvious fact is that Obama has no executive experience, and neither do any of his top advisors. Without a clear mandate from the top, needed efforts to salvage the situation are repeatedly stymied by well-meaning bureaucrats strictly following the letter of their agency policy and federal law.

The result, ironically, of their determined efforts to protect the environment has been the greatest environmental disaster in history. But some turtles are OK!

[Dick Morris, former political consultant and pollster, writes a nationally syndicated political column and provides commentary for Fox News.] COPYRIGHT 2010 DICK MORRIS AND EILEEN MCGANN; DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM


There is no country or person in the world whom possesses the ability to deal with the Oil spill disaster perfectly. There is no easy answer and to blame a sitting president for a BP issue shows your ignorance or maybe your political side. This is not politics this is American soil and American people. This is the best you can do for the American people who are suffering from this disaster sit here and blame this and that. Can you not help with better ideas than the blame game.

Citizen Bob's picture

You've gotta be kiddin, T-man- defending the Community Organizer's failure to advance a single solution to the oil leak after it's been gushing for some 80 days?

You do know this guy has hiring/firing/directive authority over every single cabinet and department head, sets the overall agenda for the entire executive branch (that's Dept.s of Trans, Interior, Defense, Commerce, State, Labor, Agriculture, Justice, Education, Energy, Treasury, Homeland Security, HUD, HHS), but still hasn't demonstrated the requisite leadership to organize & focus those vast resources on a single well that continues gushing oil off our own coast? And you're satisfied with that?

Actual presidential leadership defeated malaria & built the Panama Canal when the French failed miserably at it. Real leadership & innovation designed and built the P51 Mustang, one of the era's premier aircraft, in 117 days. It developed atomic energy and ended a global war. Real leadership marshaled our many industrial & governmental resources to land men on the moon & safely return them to earth. Several times. And all the current oval office occupant's done is organize attorneys for lawsuits and shake down the company.

Your low expectations and inability to recognize and enforce performance standards is obviously shared by the half of the polled population that's satisfied with nanny state mediocrity and munching government crumbs.

Commercial's over- you can go back to The View & Oprah.

R.J. Ross

Yes, Teddy Roosevelt personally killed all of the mosquitoes in Panama before they killed thousands of "slaves" digging that stupid ditch! But the Luxury liners do get through don't they? But not Oil Tankers and Aircraft Carriers!
It is mazing just how naive some are.
Ending a global war killed hundreds of thousands! Atomic energy killed even more with just two bombs.
Where has it gotten us?

Citizen Bob's picture

A couple of quick responses to your last question, "Where has it gotten us?":

- You didn't have to learn to speak Japanese & German
- The Gestapo was stopped from further genocide in death camps
- France, Poland, Italy, et al were liberated from Nazi rule
- China, South Korea, the Philippines, et al were freed of Japanese occupation
- Hundreds of thousands of Americans and Japanese were spared death due to the quick termination of the war.

The Panama Canal is 110' wide (to accomodate 108" beam battleships at the time). Didn't have aircraft carriers then; the Senate approved the Panama option in 1902 and the Wright Brothers first flew the following year.

Why don't you engage your brain before wasting any more space here...

R.J. Ross

Just what do you want him to engage?

I use mine at least. Yours is asleep!

You just keep on thinking that--what I do know is that I haven't had to change my forum name in more than 3 yrs--can you say the same? And in fact, if you do indeed "use" yours as you say, I would suggest some serious adjustment is overdue.

Of course I knew those things. I helped stop the Chinese in the Korea "thing."My question was, "what has it got for us?" Some of those places you mention would have been better off now if the Germans and Japanese had them!

You mentioned a lot for others. not us! We have spent half our fortune on such endeavours for nothing. There wasn't much "further genocide" to do when we got there.

Panama Canal: what has that got to do with current needs for the thing?
We don't even have any battleships but we do have carriers and tankers!

You are covering up your macho!

Of course we have Battleships and otherws that regularly transit the Canal--you have a startling ignorance of our military capability and and an even more startling willingness to reveal it to all readers.

All Battleships we have are mothballed. Hate to embarrass you but everything that has a missile or a gun on it is not a Battleship.
Most are Destroyers and Cruisers and some Frigates.
"Military capability," my foot!
I suppose they still use horses and mules in battle?

Cyclist's picture

[quote=bonker$]Some of those places you mention would have been better off now if the Germans and Japanese had them!

France, Poland, Italy, China, South Korea, Philippines.

OK bonker$ please enlighten us. Of the above countries which ones would have been better off under German or Japanese rule?

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Too bad Morris isn't washing up on the beach and is picked up with a shovel!
It should be obvious that BP oil has blown this spill if anyone has. Why is it Obama? Would Obama ordering the big booms to stay in Alabama have made Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Florida happy?
I know people like Dick Morris (while lying in bed having his toes sucked on) make a living saying such inappropriate things as he has here making a living doing so, but this is totally senseless and appeals only to Obama haters.
I can't even believe that Alabama paid for the booms----bet BP or the feds did!
Morris's wish that the environment be forgotten again is also just a vote getter for those who pay him. I also doubt that the Coast Guard moved the booms to protect turtles. He is listening to an Alabamian for that info!

How would Morris's executive experience solve the capping of the well and the clean up? It wouldn't no more than would a President's executive experience! Obama has had the best scientists that we have on this from day one. They aren't going around bulling, just working out a scientific solution that even BP can't apparently do.
Maybe President Obama needs to order hurricanes to stay away in the hurricane season also?

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