The depth of a politician’s leadership instincts reveals itself on the ability to step into the breach in a crisis. Putting yourself second takes pushing your ego aside and jumping into a crisis, consequences to the hits you might take for any unknowable error put off the table. It’s not about you at a time of national calamity. That is until it becomes about you, because you failed to provide leadership as soon as it was needed.
To give you an idea of how childish the White House political team is on criticism where it’s due, the ultimate Obama insider Richard Wolffe has an anecdote the proves what has become very apparent, which is that Pres. Obama needs more grownups around him.
Obama’s aides have grown increasingly frustrated with the public criticism that the president has failed to express sufficient anger. As Gibbs put it at a recent briefing, “If jumping up and down and screaming were to fix a hole in the ocean, we’d have done that five or six weeks ago. We’d have done that the first night.” [...]
Carville recently chanced upon Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen eating dinner with BP CEO Tony Hayward at a New Orleans restaurant, the senior White House aide says. Allen had called Carville after his first TV outburst to talk about the administration’s response, but Carville failed to return the call. When Allen asked why, Carville said he had been busy, the aide says (Carville did not reply to requests for comment). That does not sit well with administration officials who suggest that Carville’s readiness to go public with his criticism is not matched by his private willingness to offer concrete suggestions about what they could do differently.
Yeah, because it’s James Carville’s responsibility to dig Pres. Obama out of a whole he knew was coming and should have been prepared to fight aggressively, especially on the political front where he had a chance of controlling the messaging.
There was no way Obama shouldn’t have known what was coming his way, which is why after the first call Com. Thad Allen gave, then waiting weeks, I finally unloaded on Pres. Obama and the administration, who responded pathetically to a crisis they knew was only going to get worse. More from Mr. Insider:
What has not been previously disclosed: The president was not only briefed on the real-time events of the spill, but also on just how bad it would be–and how hard it would be to plug the hole.
You’d have to be in a bubble made of rubber not to know what was headed your way. Any oil expert could have told the President this. I had veterans of the oil industry saying it was going to be about how Obama ended up managing the crisis, because it was going to be a bad one. So what did he do? The political shop inside the White House advised him to stay quiet, because they were doing all they could below the radar, calculating that they didn’t to alarm the public before you they had to. It’s insufferably naive.
Meanwhile… an entire ecosystem began dying, wildlife and birds were left to fend for their own innocent lives amidst unstoppable flowing oil, while the lives of people were destroyed waiting for federal action.
The public got more information from Dylan Ratigan’s show than the feds, who were being purposefully opaque, following BP’s lead to keep as much information away from the public as possible.
The public has weighed in and it’s not good news, because the cumulative impact is going to continue as more stories like the email from a Grand Island resident surface.
Sixty-three percent of those surveyed said the Obama administration should be doing more in response to the spill, while 28 percent believe the government is doing all it can. BP scored slightly worse – 70 percent feel the company should be doing more while 24 percent believe it’s doing everything possible to contain the crisis. – CBS
The good news for Pres. Obama is that BP scores worse than he does; 63% believe the Obama administration should be doing more, with 70% believing BP should. The bad news is that his political team has totally failed him (yet again), and you only get one chance out of the gates on crisis management.
It took 46 days before BP’s incompetent, lying CEO Tony Hayward was pushed out of the U.S. limelight. It should have been done on day one. BP could have continued working underneath the water, with a larger task force publicly in place, which I have already written about, without being on point. It was political malpractice that this didn’t happen weeks ago. That it didn’t lands on the White House doorstep.