Three months before the massive BP oil spill erupted in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration proposed downsizing the Coast Guard national coordination center for oil spill responses, prompting its senior officers to warn that the agency’s readiness for catastrophic events would be weakened…
Accidents happen, “but what you’re seeing here is the government is not properly set up to deal with this kind of issue,” said Robbin Laird, a defense consultant who has worked on Coast Guard issues. “The idea that you would even think about getting rid of catastrophic environmental spill equipment or expertise at the Department of Homeland Security, are you kidding me?”
“Cutting a strike team is nuts,” said Stephen Flynn, a former Coast Guard commander and now president of the Center for National Policy, a Washington think tank. “Whether it’s an accident of man or an act of terrorism, it requires almost the exact same skill set to clean it up.”…
“The elimination of the national command element could well lead to a reduction in core competencies in capabilities needed in a crisis,” said Cmdr. Tina Cutter [in February]. The absence of large spills in recent years has “degraded” the skills of responders, making it more critical to maintain technical experts, particularly in catastrophes, she said.
Tell me, my lib friends, where is the competence?
Peggy Noonan floats back into reality for a few moments with her latest column, but she misses something extremely important, which I will get to in a minute:
This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president's political judgment and instincts.
There was the tearing and unnecessary war over his health-care proposal and its cost. There was his day-to-day indifference to the views and hopes of the majority of voters regarding illegal immigration. And now the past almost 40 days of dodging and dithering in the face of an environmental calamity. I don't see how you politically survive this.
The president, in my view, continues to govern in a way that suggests he is chronically detached from the central and immediate concerns of his countrymen. This is a terrible thing to see in a political figure, and a startling thing in one who won so handily and shrewdly in 2008. But he has not, almost from the day he was inaugurated, been in sync with the center. The heart of the country is thinking each day about A, B and C, and he is thinking about X, Y and Z. They're in one reality, he's in another.
Peggy, he doesn't care about his countrymen. He cares about his agenda, and he would say or do anything to get elected. Now that he is elected, he doesn't care. He is the One. It is not that he doesn't have the acumen, he doesn't care. This oil spill is an opportunity to stick it to the Oil and Coal industries, as well as the mostly red states that support them. He thinks he IS competent, the smartest guy in the room, and everyone else just doesn't understand. It is the height of megalomania and the level of groupthink with this admin is perhaps unprecedented. But, back to Peg:
The American people have spent at least two years worrying that high government spending would, in the end, undo the republic. They saw the dollars gushing night and day, and worried that while everything looked the same on the surface, our position was eroding. They have worried about a border that is in some places functionally and of course illegally open, that it too is gushing night and day with problems that states, cities and towns there cannot solve.
And now we have a videotape metaphor for all the public's fears: that clip we see every day, on every news show, of the well gushing black oil into the Gulf of Mexico and toward our shore. You actually don't get deadlier as a metaphor for the moment than that, the monster that lives deep beneath the sea.
In his news conference Thursday, President Obama made his position no better. He attempted to act out passionate engagement through the use of heightened language—"catastrophe," etc.—but repeatedly took refuge in factual minutiae. His staff probably thought this demonstrated his command of even the most obscure facts. Instead it made him seem like someone who won't see the big picture. The unspoken mantra in his head must have been, "I will not be defensive, I will not give them a resentful soundbite." But his strategic problem was that he'd already lost the battle.
Again, Peggy, he doesn't care. He wants to do as much damage as possible to capitalism. he is a megalomaniac idealist.
She does get one thing right. Government cannot solve every problem. In fact, as some former actor said once....Government is the problem!