Herman Cain's Commentary Archive 2009-2012

June 13, 2010

Nobody’s in charge – Part 2

June 13, 2010
By Herman Cain

American’s number one expectation of its president is to keep us safe from our enemies. Our number two expectation is for the president to provide effective leadership in a crisis.

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill has gone from an ecological crisis to a human crisis for the families and businesses affected, and now a national crisis because of the consistent mishandling of the disaster, and the ripple effect of this disaster for decades to come.

I believe the mishandling of the oil spill is the combination of an ineffective management structure put in place by the president, as written about earlier, the standard bureaucracy when dealing with federal agencies, and now a blatantly obvious leadership void in the president’s abilities.

Byron York of the Washington Examiner pointed out that six administration agencies debated for three weeks the best approach for dealing with the disaster. A good leader would have been in the middle of the debate with all agencies involved to bring about a much earlier conclusion, which still has not been identified as the disaster is now in day 56.

Kirsten Powers, a self-described Democrat (for now), explained in the New York Post on May 27, 2010 that there was a plan developed in 1994 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for dealing with such a horrific disaster in the Gulf. The administration was unaware or chose to ignore the plan.

Peter Ferrara believes the presidents’ mishandling of the crisis, and his administration’s indecision in not allowing Governor Bobby Jindal to build temporary sand barrier islands off the coasts is malfeasance (misconduct and abuse of power). The administration wants to study it and do an Environmental Impact Study.

Sand in the ocean does not kill anything. Oil does. What is there to study?

David Axelrod, the president’s top senior advisor, told NBC’s Meet the Press that the president is going to demand that British Petroleum (BP) create a special account with “substantial” reserves to pay oil spill-related claims. Accounting standards require BP to do this anyway, and the BP Board of Directors is the only entity representing BP’s stockholders that can demand BP to do anything.

Oops! I forgot. The administration has a severe lack of business experience (less than 10 percent of administration personnel have any) in addition to the unfolding tragedy of no leadership.

Axelrod also said on Meet the Press that the president is going to give an Oval Office address on Tuesday night after his return to Washington, and then meet with BP executives, including the oil company’s chairman, on Wednesday.

One would think that a speech to the American people might tell us more after his meeting with BP executives instead of a speech before he meets with them. One would think that a direct conversation with the BP CEO real early in the disaster might have yielded some better coordination in the Gulf. We know there’s no leadership, but a little coordination would have been a great start 56 days ago.

And then there’s the blame game. I thought President Obama would have at least waited until the oil disaster was under control before blaming George W. Bush and the Republicans, but he could not resist.

While trying to console some families of the people killed during the initial explosion of the oil rig, the president said “So I can’t dive down there and plug the hole. I can’t suck it up with a straw. All I can do is make sure that I put honest, hard-working smart people in place … to implement this thing.”

Mr. President, this thing is a disaster. Those smart people are not looking so smart, because nobody’s in charge.