Obama Knew Spill Scope from Day 1


AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Wait, what?

Critics have bashed President Obama for being slow to seize the political initiative in combating the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast, now widely believed to be the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. The White House has battled back, releasing a timeline of events showing that Obama was briefed—and deploying the Coast Guard—within 24 hours of the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

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.

Carol Browner, director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, told Obama at one of the earliest briefings in late April that the blowout would likely lead to an unprecedented environmental disaster, senior White House aides told The Daily Beast. Browner warned that capping a well at such depths had never been done before, and that they ought to expect an oil spill that would continue until a relief well was drilled in August, the aide said.

That early briefing on the scope of the spill—and enormous technical challenges involved in fixing it—might help explain the sense of fatalism that has infused Obama’s team from the start.

Publishing this at 8:46 PM on a Friday night, when it is least likely to be noticed, Richard Wollfe sends out a trial balloon, to see if it will float some sympathy toward the White House: Hey, America, Obama knew it was going to be really bad, and there was nothing he could actually do about that, so he did nothing about anything.

Hey, America, I knew it was hopeless, and I couldn’t change anything, so I couldn’t see the point of accepting the help of 17 nations offering their technology and their expertise in attempting to contain the damage as much as possible; no point in even attempting to use supertankers to try to remove as much oil from the surface as possible, even if they have to do it for months.

Hey, America, I knew it was bad, so there was no sense in telling you anything, or in helping Governor Jindal try to protect the marshlands and coasts of Louisiana.

President Obama surely cannot be blamed
for (or personally do anything about) “the damn hole,” that–even “capped”– is still gushing oil into (and beyond) the Gulf of Mexico, and that’s why reasonable people have not been the ones insisting that the president play superhero, or display reassuring “concern” by doing a public freak-out. In a crisis, you want the president to be calm and collected.

But Obama just as surely could have informed the nation that we were facing a long-term assault on our environment that would have wide repercussions.

He could have put his legendary oratorical skills to work, communicating an appreciation of the gravity of the situation, and an assurance that everything that could possibly be done to protect the environment was being done.

That was his fundamental job as president: clear communication of the struggle ahead, and reassurance that all possible efforts at collection and containment were operational. That is what he could have done, and did not; six weeks into it, he still has not really managed it.

We’ve just spent years listening to ungenerous, miserable people excoriate President Bush for calmly taking 7 minutes, after learning of the attacks of 9/11, to allow his Secret Service to do their thing and to–with a great deal of composure–take his leave from a classroom without managing to scare the children or give an impression of fear that would be put before the nation and the world.

After watching President Obama take six weeks to process the terrible news he was given–pressing forward with golf, vacations, parties and fund-raisers in order to not scare the nation–even if that it meant he seemed a little disengaged from the BP Oil disaster, I never want to hear another sneering, idiotic My Pet Goat joke, again.

A president needs to be calm and deliberate in the face of crisis, and he even needs to say puzzling things like “go on vacation, go shopping” or “go to the beaches” when it is clear the crisis has precipitated a long, hard slog.

But he also needs to promptly stand on a pile of rubble with the firefighters, or in a marsh full of dead wildlife and a slick, red tide, and say, “we’re going to respond; we’re going to protect and we’re going to rebuild and restore. We are going to get through this long hard slog, together.”

And he has to be able to convince people that he means every word he has said.

Wolffe writes:

“. . .Obama’s team is focusing on the options at their immediate disposal—methods of news management and presidential communication.”


There will be a slow but continual drip
of bad-to-worse news about this issue, coming out of the White House. President Obama needs to shake off the fatalism and show the nation that he is willing to try things, fight back against the rising tide of suffocating red death.

The president who rose to office riding the notion of hope cannot be the guy who meanders around, wishing things were not so damned hopeless.

Allahpundit: “. . . if he really did know right away that this was the oil equivalent of an asteroid strike, he didn’t scramble some sort of all-hands-on-deck emergency operation to protect the coastline. Remember, Jindal reportedly requested five million feet of hard boom back on May 2, long after Obama (according to Wolffe) knew about the magnitude of the disaster. By May 24, not even 800,000 feet had arrived. What happened?”

Kim Priestap says the Obama administration’s “fatalism” looks like “gross negligence”:

He could have ordered the mobilization of as much of the government’s resources as possible and put out an SOS to private companies and organizations with expertise in disaster clean up to try to prevent the oil slick from entering the gulf’s coastal waters. With the advanced notice that he was given, he could have had them ready and waiting.

But he didn’t do anything.

Instapundit and reader note Obama’s weak responses to any disasters that don’t affect a Democrat-majority. And Moe Lane has the chart to prove it.

What did Tony Hayward Know? and when did he know it?

Also writing:
Brutally Honest
The Dawning of the Day of Incompetence
Jim Geraghty
Protein Wisdom
Taylor Marsh
Radio Patriot
Moderate Voice
Gateway Pundit
River Daughter

Related:
Pelicans back in danger
Caught in the Oil
Jesus, Good Pelican
Witnessing the heart at it cracks

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Last Sphere

    (Zachriel wrote – “There was no corruption, and the data was never destroyed.”)

    “Adjustments” IS corruption, and I never said anything about destroying anything.

    And I’ll see your Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz and raise you one George Carlin:

    Content Warning: Adult Language

  • Last Sphere

    My George Carlin link didn’t go through.

    Here it is again:

    link

    Content Warning: Adult Language

  • Joe

    This is not good for Obama, this is bad.

  • Whitestone

    Blue Collar and IamDagney are right….Obama is about using this crisis rather than solving it…anything to further foist his socialist/marxist regime on the US.

    We have a leader who is malevolent toward America, a friend of domestic terrorists and 3rd world dictators.

    Having leaders who hate you is the promised consequence of a nation falling into sin (see Leviticus 26:14-46 esp. verse 17). Throughout Scripture, God has always used Assyria and Babylon to discipline His people. Assyria is now within our gates. Iran’s dictator has been invited to speak at the National Cathedral and by the UN to (O, the irony) defend women’s rights.

    The next terrorist attack on American soil may be even more ugly and silent than a neglected oil spill and more pervasive and terrifying than an attack on mere buildings.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Last Sphere: “Adjustments” IS corruption …

    Adjustments are normal scientific practice, such as when NASA made adjustments due to heat-absorbing paved surfaces and buildings, concluding “that unaccounted for urban effects on global temperature change are small in comparison to the ~0.8°C global warming of the past century.”

    Last Sphere (before): CRU’s “HADCRU3″ climate dataset had been destroyed

    Last Sphere (after): and I never said anything about destroying anything.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    George Carlin: The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are f#@#. Difference. Difference.

    Carlin is correct on this point. Climate change will not cause the Earth to fall into the Sun. But it will cause widespread human suffering. Difference. Difference.

  • Last Sphere

    (Zachriel wrote – “Adjustments are normal scientific practice,”)

    “The different groups have cooperated in a very friendly way to try to understand different conclusions when they arise,”

    Supposedly independent sources of data cooperating in a very friendly way i.e. “adjusting” data and thus rendering the data not so “independent” is normal scientific practice?

    (Zachriel wrote – “Last Sphere (before): CRU’s “HADCRU3″ climate dataset had been destroyed

    Last Sphere (after): and I never said anything about destroying anything.”)

    Ah yes, my mistake Zachriel. Speaking of which, did that data that supposedly wasn’t destroyed ever show up?

  • Last Sphere

    (Zachriel wrote – “George Carlin: The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are f#@#. Difference. Difference.”)

    The people who are claiming the planet is f%*& up ARE the ones who are f%*& up. Same. Same.

    (Zachriel wrote – “Carlin is correct on this point. Climate change will not cause the Earth to fall into the Sun. But it will cause widespread human suffering. Difference. Difference.”)

    Again: The planet is fine. People (i.e. Global Warming Believers) are f%*& up. Same. Same.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Last Sphere: Supposedly independent sources of data cooperating in a very friendly way i.e. “adjusting” data and thus rendering the data not so “independent” is normal scientific practice?

    The source data isn’t modified. Delta adjustments are made as part of the analysis. And yes, scientists often cooperate with one another.

    Last Sphere: Ah yes, my mistake Zachriel. Speaking of which, did that data that supposedly wasn’t destroyed ever show up?

    The data is still available from the original sources.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Last Sphere: The planet is fine. People (i.e. Global Warming Believers) are f%*& up. Same. Same.

    That does not properly represent Carlin’s statement. “People” does not refer to “Global Warming Believers,” but to the human species.

    Carlin: Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We’ve been here, what, a hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? … We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that.

    Carlin never had much admiration for humanity.

  • Last Sphere

    (Zachriel wrote – “The data is still available from the original sources.”)

    The what is this about:

    NASA Accused Of ‘Climategate’ Stalling

    The man battling NASA for access to potential “Climategate” e-mails says the agency is still withholding documents and that NASA may be trying to stall long enough to avoid hurting an upcoming Senate debate on global warming.

    Nearly three years after his first Freedom of Information Act request, Christopher C. Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said he will file a lawsuit Thursday to force NASA to turn over documents the agency has promised but has never delivered.

    - Washington Times May 26, 2010

    link.

    [Last Sphere, seriously? AGAIN you leave an unembedded url in the comments section after I have specifically asked you to avail yourself of this tutorial so I don't have to do it? It's not hard. If I can do it, anyone can. I don't have time to go into comments and create links for everyone. If your stuff ends up in the spam filter from now on, don't blame me. -admin]

  • Last Sphere

    (Zachriel wrote – “That does not properly represent Carlin’s statement. “People” does not refer to “Global Warming Believers,” but to the human species.”)

    Carlin: “And the greatest arrogance of all, “Save the planet.” WHAT? Are these f&*#$@* people kidding me? Save the planet? We don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven’t learned how to care for one another, we’re gonna save the f%&*$%*# planet?”

    “Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are f*%#&$. Difference. Difference!”

    Not all of the human species is claiming the planet is in danger- only a minority are (Global Warming Believers)

    Carlin most certainly held humanity as a whole in contempt- but he obviously found the Global Warming Believers to be especially ridiculous and repugnant “And the greatest arrogance of all, “Save the planet….. Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet.”

  • http://www.opusonemedia.blogspot.com hdhouse

    And all this time I thought Mr. Bush was trying to figure out the plot line….

    As to the “observation”, what a load of hooey. Day 1 was an oil platform fire in case you don’t remember. Day 2-38 were BP telling the word it was a 1000 barrels a day..remember?

    You can be uniformedly opinionated and dead wrong but try and stick to some semblance of fact.

    [Backatcha -admin]

  • Last Sphere

    [Last Sphere, seriously? AGAIN you leave an unembedded url in the comments section after I have specifically asked you to
    avail yourself of this tutorial so I don't have to do it? -admin]

    I’m sorry. I’ll brush up on the tutorial.

    Again, my apologies.

    [Thank you. I appreciate it! -admin]

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Carlin: The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are f#@#. Difference. Difference.

    Last Sphere: Again: The planet is fine. People (i.e. Global Warming Believers) are f%*& up. Same. Same.

    Your parenthetical changed Carlin’s meaning. It’s not hard to parse in context. Carlin is saying the planet will survive humanity with at most a bit of undigested plastic. He’s right! That doesn’t do anything to undermine the science of climate change, or even illustrate a relevant point.

    NASA Accused Of ‘Climategate’ Stalling

    That’s why they have courts. Let us know if anything comes of it.

  • Last Sphere

    (Zachriel wrote – “That doesn’t do anything to undermine the science of climate change, or even illustrate a relevant point.”)

    Carlin- “Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet.”

    Obviously Carlin didn’t think the planet was endangered by global warming.

    (Zachriel wrote – “That’s why they have courts. Let us know if anything comes of it.”)

    The fact that nothing HAS come of it yet (NASA is stalling) is indicative in and of itself.

    If the data isn’t settled- then the “science” certainly isn’t settled.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Last Sphere: Obviously Carlin didn’t think the planet was endangered by global warming.

    It isn’t that hard to understand. Carlin’s point was that the planet’s not endangered. People are! And if you’re a misanthrope, then that’s not a problem.

    Last Sphere: The fact that nothing HAS come of it yet (NASA is stalling) is indicative in and of itself.

    Have they? Well, let us know when you have something. We’re all in favor of greater transparency. It doesn’t change the fact that the Earth is warming, and that climate change will impact everything from agriculture to the spread of disease.

  • http://www.opaobie.com/promisekept.php Opaobie

    An excellent source of information for your debate on climate change data is the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The following article might provide more grist for your mill:

    Govt-Funded Research Unit Destroyed Original Climate Data

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