It only took 70 days for the Obama administration to finally accept help from other countries regarding the BP oil spill and its cleanup. More than 30 countries and organizations have offered help, but the administration allowed the gushing oil to reach our shores and continue unabated before deciding that outside help would be accepted.
Perhaps the “crisis” of the oil spill had to be politically squeezed before its damage could be addressed. This administration showed how fast they could bail out financial institutions and ram a hastily-written health care bill through Congress, so procrastination on the oil spill seems purposeful. The current efforts to rush an energy bill through Congress certainly seem to indicate that this administration is putting a political agenda ahead of crisis management.
There is, however, another reason this crisis has not been handled more expediently. Obama had absolutely no executive or business experience before becoming president and he has surrounded himself with others who lack business experience. An administration engaged in on-the-job training cannot respond quickly and does not have the executive decision making capability learned in business.
Bush was lambasted for a lack of “situational awareness” after hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and he was personally blamed for a slow response from FEMA and local government officials. That delay of a few days is a sharp contrast with Obama’s 70-day delay in accepting much needed assistance in the massive clean-up efforts in the Gulf.
Obama has been displaying “political awareness” rather than “situational awareness” because political maneuvering is the only experience he has. If he had experience in any executive position, he would have at least immediately called experts from around the world to the White House for a conference on how best to handle the oil spill. Instead, he waited 70 days to even accept help from those who were offering it.
Does anyone still believe that experience isn’t necessary?
David J. Hentosh