May 28th, 2010

Obama’s oil spill response should come as no surprise

Peggy Noonan is deeply disappointed in President Obama’s response to the oil spill:

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.

Noonan, who liked Obama during the campaign, seems not to have noticed many of the realities about him that were amply demonstrated long before his inauguration. And she still seems to thinks Obama more fool than knave.

I beg to differ, of course—I believe he is a combination of both. And Jules Crittenden nails it in his response to the Noonan column:

The big surprise with the current president is not so much that he is incompetent, inexperienced and divisive, but the extent to which he is all of those things, and the extent to which anyone is surprised. It’s not like there weren’t enough warning signs on the way in, all of which were summarily dismissed.

26 Responses to “Obama’s oil spill response should come as no surprise”

  1. Bill West Says:

    I’m embarrassed for Noonan –

    “He hasn’t called. He hasn’t written.”

  2. Ray Says:

    We’ve had affirmative action in employment, education and mortgages. You know how well that works. We now have an affirmative action president. Why is Noonan expecting better results? Obama has a resume that would easily fit on a post-it note and it shows.

  3. Cubs_Fan Says:

    Competence can be gauged by following one’s stewardship of responsibilities for identifiable job assignments overtime.

    A constitutional scholar with no published works, whose previous litigation experience included slip and fall, and unpaid babysitter cases.

    No management or executive experience in the private or public sector.

    An amorphous cloudy past. (Actually, not really. It’s full of leftists, radicals and burnouts who retired to suburbia).

    And a legislative record in the Ill. state legislator that models that of a member of the British Labour Party, or some other Western European socialist group. But after championing far-left issues, when it came down to a floor vote, he voted “Present”.

    We know he was counsel for ACORN, but why not list that on one’s resume?

    In short, Peggy, along with the rest of the “intellectual” conservative class, was hypnotized by the “pants creases”, and have been trying to save face since. True, Obama is elegant. But prior to coming to the WH, he has never had to stay up late at night because a weighty issue rested on his shoulders alone. And that much was known before November 2008.

  4. Pablo Says:

    Y’all have to see this one…NRSC Hits Obama on Gulf Oil Spill using words from mostly left-leaning critics, who are dealing not just with the tragedy of the spill itself but with a painful ideological realization about the fallibility of Obama and the federal government as saviors.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVehAAwh0gY&feature=player_embedded

  5. vanderleun Says:

    Everybody who can’t think still thinks getting elected was the culmination of Obama’s career and ambitions.

    What we’re really seeing is the period before he publishes “On Beyond Zebra.”

  6. CV Says:

    Yes, it would have been nice if Noonan had noticed this and said something back in fall, 2008.

    What’s amazing is that she is now “startled” at all.

    I think part of Noonan’s problem is that she seems to have immersed herself into the world of the upper East Side and greatly enjoys those invitations to appear on MSNBC in the morning. I used to read her regularly. I don’t anymore.

  7. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    CV: Amen. I greatly respected Noonan when she took a six-month leave of absence from her WSJ job to campaign for GWB in 2004. She admitted that there were things she didn’t like about him, but that she felt it was important we have him as President and not John Kerry… and she was willing to put her money where her mouth was.

    I was disappointed when Obama hypnotized her as thoroughly as any star-struck Obama Girl. I’ve read her since mostly to see if she’s managed to come to her senses or not.

    President Obama is all shine, no substance. He has no more actual experience than a sophomore Political Science major… and sure enough, his foreign policy ideas sound like they came out of a sophomore bull session. “Why don’t the idiots in Washington ever try talking to our enemies? What have they to lose?” Well, you’re finding out now, aren’t you? What we had to lose was credibility, and the ability to talk tough to our enemies in the future (as an alternative to warfare).

    Cubs_Fan: I agree completely. And ironically, President Obama’s Secretary of State called this during the campaign: “Barack Obama is not ready to be awakened at 3AM.” She was absolutely right.

    So far he has not had that 3AM phone call, except for the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico… and he muffed that one completely. He demanded a recommendation for troop redeployments from his hand-picked top general, got it, and dithered for MONTHS before making his decision.

    What will he do when a genuine 3AM phone call comes in — say, news of an act of war from Iran or North Korea, or an attack on the United States?

    He doesn’t have the guts of steel needed to stare an impossible situation in the eye, make a firm decision, and go forward committed. (How could he? That’s something you can only learn on the job, and he’s never had a job like that before.) And unfortunately, that IS what we hire a President to do.

    respectfully,
    Daniel in Brookline

  8. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Adm. Bull Halsey’s observation comes to mind, “There are no great men. Just great challenges which ordinary men, out of necessity, are forced by circumstance to meet.”

    I don’t entirely agree with Halsey, in that I think in order to meet great challenges, the internal resources which compose greatness must already be present.

    That said, it seems certain that Barack Obama lacks those resources.

    Perhaps we’ll get lucky and be as wrong about Obama as, on 9/10/2001 many of us were about G.W. Bush.

    Then again, isn’t there a folk saying that lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same spot?

  9. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Daniel in Brookline. We were very advanced at William and Mary – we had those discussions freshman year. But the analogy to Obama’s supporters’ thinking, and even, sadly, to his, is quite apt.

  10. Curtis Says:

    Ironic that the ocean gusher illuminates Obama to those who were spelled by him. There is no soul in Obama for anything other than Obama. They thought there was. They thought he loved the same things they did. They were wrong.

    Obama could give a whit for anything other than himself. That he can be at once plastic and unchanging should be the canary in the mine shaft signaling that something is very amiss. He might as easily endorse conservative ideas–and would have if that would have been the milieu of his forming, but then, hopefully, a conservative forming precludes what Obama is: evil.

    The opposite of love is not hate but selfishness. We have this time to learn love, which is selflessness. Not a loss of self but a giving of self. A road that travels at least some ways in that direction is good. A road which travels the opposite is evil. Obama has shown a complete antipathy to any way, religion, thought or expression where his will might be encumbered.

    (Further ironies on the appeal of Islam–but that is for another day)

  11. Richard Saunders Says:

    Okay, sure, but he looks SO COOL!

  12. Bob from Virginia Says:

    America’s curse is that Obama is a charismatic presenter-speaker. He is reassuring unless one is familiar with what he is talking about.

    I am reminded of a classical Greek who was going before a jury. His lawyer wrote a defense which the Greek read and liked. Then he read it again and began to have doubts. When he read it a third time he realized it was no defense at all. The lawyer told him not to worry, “the jury is only going to hear it once.”

    Most people only have time to listen to his presentations once and therefore accept his conclusions without review.

    That approach will not work in the gulf Coast with regard to the oil industry. Apparently he is unaware that the entire Gulf Coast, gun loving rednecks that they are, knows more about the oil industry than he does, including what went wrong with Deepwater Horizon (apparently the Company man and toolpusher both had plenty of warning that they were taking a “kick”, but for some reason did not “shut in” the well, read human error, the fat cats were not responsible, in spite of Obama’s railing against them). Nor is he apparently aware that the entire Gulf is very dependent on the oil industry. Attack the industry and you attack thousands of wage earners. Everyone remembers the bust of ’82 with 28% unemployment. (How do you get an oil man out of a tree? Cut the rope.)

    I get the impression that he is running for office again.

    BTW did anyone else find that story about his little girl worrying about the spill patronizing?

  13. expat Says:

    Obama revealed himself when he quit his community organizing job, which was not successful in helping anyone, to attend law school. He didn’t question whether his whole approach was wrong; he assumed he needed more power to get it to work. Well, Noonan and co. gave him more power and we can all see how effective that has been.

  14. Gringo Says:

    NObama’s attempt to place all the blame on BP will not work, because it appears that MMS had approved a permit to remove the dense drilling mud with much lighter seawater before setting the plug. Which is a recipe for disaster. As a previous commenter at the WSJ stated, it was like popping the cork on a bottle of champagne. (The dense drilling fluid held the gas down. Replacing the dense drilling fluid with seawater about half the density of the drilling fluid being used apparently enabled the gas to rise. It is no accident that the more practical-minded Transocean drilling people disagreed with what BP was doing.)

    From yesterday’s WSJ (”BP Decisions Set Stage for Disaster”):
    In documents presented to Congress, BP has hypothesized that gas could have gotten into the inside of the pipe through a failure of the cement at the bottom of the well. BP was planning to set a second, backup cement plug in the well before declaring its work done.
    But workers began removing mud before setting this plug, leaving little to prevent any gas inside the pipe from rising to the rig. That plan was approved by the MMS on April 16, according to the permit reviewed by the Journal.

    From what I have read in the WSJ, my take is that BP did not follow standard industry procedures in many cases- most likely to save time and money on a well that had gone on longer than anticipated. The most egregious was to replace dense drilling mud with seawater with about half the density of the drilling mud, before setting a final bottom plug. The well blew out while they were doing it. Like, duh. As one commenter said in a May 11 WSJ article, that was like popping cork on a bottle of champagne. Replacing the dense drilling fluid with seawater about half the density of the drilling fluid being used apparently enabled the gas to rise. It is no accident that the more practical-minded Transocean drilling people disagreed with what BP was doing. Dumb and dumber, and I don’t mean Transocean drilling people.

    ∅bama’s attempt to place all the blame on BP will not work, because it appears that MMS had approved a permit to remove the dense drilling mud with much lighter seawater before setting the plug. Which is a recipe for disaster. From yesterday’s WSJ :BP Decisions Set Stage for Disaster.

    In documents presented to Congress, BP has hypothesized that gas could have gotten into the inside of the pipe through a failure of the cement at the bottom of the well. BP was planning to set a second, backup cement plug in the well before declaring its work done.
    But workers began removing mud before setting this plug, leaving little to prevent any gas inside the pipe from rising to the rig. That plan was approved by the MMS on April 16, according to the permit reviewed by the Journal.

    Actually, we should hope for no action on ∅bama’s part, lest he stop all offshore drilling. I have read headline claims to that effect from blogs linking to his press conference, though I haven’t seen that in actual text below headlines.

    I don’t know what ∅bama could have done. He is not an oil industry professional, and when he attempts to opine on oil and gas matters, such as the inflated tires incident, he merely shows his ignorance while he stubbornly maintains that to the contrary, he knows the subject.

    BP and the oil industry are those who have the expertise, such as it is, to cap the well. The feds do not have this expertise. Though judging from comments from Louisiana Governor Jindal, the Feds have been slow in getting a cleanup program ready for the coast- which would be in their ballpark, perhaps.

    There may poetic justice in blaming ∅bama for the disaster, just as Bush got scapegoated for ineffectual response on the part of elected officials from Louisiana, such as the Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor (not Jindal). A childhood friend who works for the feds was involved in examining disaster plans in Louisiana. What did a disaster plan in Louisiana consist of, asked my friend. “We’ll deal with it when it gets to us.” Which helps explain what went down in Louisiana?

  15. Gringo Says:

    shows you that proofreading is a good thing to have.

  16. mikemcdaniel Says:

    It’s good to see people beginning to awaken to the reality of Obama, but anyone genuinely surprised should be nominated for the Louis Renault award. They’re shocked, shocked that Obama is incompetent?

    Think for a moment. Do you know anyone whose background is a mystery? Whose resume consists largely of schools he attended, but for which no verification of any kind is available and is, in fact, hidden? Whose only work experience was in a “job” (community organizer) so nebulous and ephemeral that they admitted, in writing and to their closest friends, that they could not explain what they actually did for a living? Who has no actual work experience to list on a resume, yet who apparently lives an upper middle class lifestyle replete with shady political associations? If you knew such a person, wouldn’t you be very suspicious of them? Of their motives? Of their background? Would they inspire trust?

    To be completely fair, Barack Obama did have one significant managerial experience. For several years, he was in charge of a pseudo-educational foundation in Chicago, dispersing tens of millions of dollars provided by the Annenberg Foundation, ostensibly for the benefit of children who were not well served by the Chicago schools. This was something of a joint venture and its two movers and shakers were Obama and Bill Ayers, you remember, the unrepentant domestic terrorist, the man Obama barely knew, a guy who just happened to live in the same neighborhood? The end result? All of the money was wasted, a conclusion reached by an audit of the Annenberg Foundation. What happened to all that money? No one knows and Annenberg isn’t talking.

    And to be doubly fair, Obama was an Illinois State Senator, but spent his time there running for the US Senate while accomplishing and voting for virtually nothing. And Obama became a US Senator, spending all of his time in that job running for president while again leaving virtually no evidence of doing, well, of doing anything other than running for president, though he did vote just enough during his very short Senate tenure, to establish himself as the most liberal man in the Senate.

    Yes he’s incompetent. The only surprise to be had is why anyone would think otherwise.

  17. Bob From Virginia Says:

    Mike MCd wrote “Yes he’s incompetent. The only surprise to be had is why anyone would think otherwise.”

    It is also amazing that so many refuse to see the obvious about this man.

    We live in disgraceful times.

  18. Trimegistus Says:

    Noonan might actually return to reality.

    But the rest of Obama’s “critics” on the left will scurry back to his bandwagon as soon as election season warms up. They may be a little disappointed in him — but at least he’s not a (shudder) Republican.

  19. david foster Says:

    Take an individual who has no executive experience whatseover and put him in an executive job…why would anyone be surprised to find that he can’t do it very well?

    The real problem here is that the “word people”…the lawyers, the writers, the professors….are so self-impressed that they don’t understand that there’s a huge universe of important skills and abilities that they do not possess.

  20. Tom Says:

    Noonan is a has-been. Baraq is a never-been-never-will-be.

  21. Occam's Beard Says:

    Mike, thanks for your succinct and compelling summary of Obama’s background.

    I asked my liberal friend (rhetorically) if he’d have hired someone as a subordinate with Buraq’s type of “qualifications.” I certainly wouldn’t have.

    And I don’t believe even the Annenberg thing constitutes management experience. Handing out free money, not demanding an accounting for that money, and having no accountability yourself, isn’t managing. That’s a sinecure.

  22. Occam's Beard Says:

    PS: My liberal friend also sputtered that Sarah Palin (that poor woman is like wolfsbane for liberals) had only been mayor of a pissant little town, whereas Buraq had been a state senator.

    I asked him who our state senator is.

    Game. Set. Match.

  23. Gringo Says:

    OB:
    And I don’t believe even the Annenberg thing constitutes management experience. Handing out free money, not demanding an accounting for that money, and having no accountability yourself, isn’t managing. That’s a sinecure.

    I beg to differ. It is management experience, and a total failureat that. If ∅bama had approached the Annenberg Challenge with any attempt at doing a good job, he would have compared research proposals to what research had worked. Etc. ∅bama did not, and just doled out money. What opinion would you have of a NSF committee which had a 100% failure rate on its research monies doled out?

    His “work” on the Annenberg Challenge shows his total ineptness as a manager. Perhaps his time with the Challenge also illustrates a liberal myth that if you throw money at a problem, the problem will be fixed. Perhaps his time with the Challenge also illustrates one of ∅bama’s themes: “words count.” As long as some “researcher” came up with some nice-sounding proposal, with a lot of good buzzwords thrown in, ∅bama threw money at it. Not because the proposal appeared to be something that would work, but because it sounded good.

    One of the biggest failures of the MSM in the 2008 campaign was to ignore ∅bama’s record on the Annenberg Challenge. Without the Just One Minute Blog’s research, it might have gone completely unnoticed.

  24. Occam's Beard Says:

    What opinion would you have of a NSF committee which had a 100% failure rate on its research monies doled out?

    Depends on whether they were doling it out on my research! /g

  25. dr kill Says:

    Observe the disdain with which he treats the MFM. Imagine the contempt he feels for the RINO media.
    The only thing He and I have in common is that Noonan, Brooks, Frum , Buckley etc are dead to us.

  26. IgotBupkis Says:

    > The big surprise with the current president is not so much that he is incompetent, inexperienced and divisive, but the extent to which he is all of those things, and the extent to which anyone is surprised.

    As noted in other threads — no surprise, here.

    I predicted the day after he won the nom that he would make everyone appreciate the mound of quivering incompetence that was Jimmy Carter. He would, in fact, make Carter look good by comparison.

    I stand by that assessment fully and completely.

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