Whatever else he does in dealing with the Deepwater Horizon/Macondo oil spill, Obama shouldn’t ask himself, “What would Jesus do?” Jesus would walk out to the well and have a look around.
He would tell the workers trying to plug the leak that they’re doing the Lord’s work.
He would tell BP to go and sin no more (after paying all legitimate claims, of course).
Then he would change the spilled oil into wine (or at least beer), cleanse the sea birds of crude, and prepare a great feast of shrimp and roast pelican on the beach for the clean-up crews.
Obama, on the other hand, only thinks he knows how to walk on water, thinks the way to behave in a crisis is to diss the people trying to solve it, and (I’m guessing here) doesn’t know how to change the oil in his car.
Sarah Palin, on the other hand, (I’m also guessing here) does.
Which is why Obama should ask not “what would Jesus do?” but rather, “What would Sarah do?” Sarah Palin? The redneck knuckledragger in lipstick?
You betcha. Sarah knows a lot about the oil business and about BP in particular. As governor of Alaska, she spent seven months negotiating with BP over a proposed natural gas pipeline to the lower 48. Chances are BP CEO Tony Hayward’s phone number is in her computer. Chances are it wasn’t in Obama’s.
Sarah has a lot of real world knowledge and experience regarding oil, oil companies and oilmen — crude and refined. Obama has almost none.
She also knows a lot about oil dudes, and about BP oil dudes in particular. She’s married to one. Todd Palin worked in the North Slope oil patch for 18 years. For BP. It’s a pretty sure bet that over those 18 years, table talk and pillow talk in the Palin household sometimes turned to oil, and that as a result Sarah knows more about what goes on around an oil rig, and about what goes on in BP, including the seamy underside, than, say, the average Harvard Law Review editor.
She also knows something about what oil-spills can do to a state’s shoreline and fishing industry — something about the Exxon Valdez and she and Todd being in the fishing business.
In short, Sarah has a lot of real world knowledge and experience regarding oil, oil companies and oilmen — crude and refined. Obama has almost none.
So what would Sarah do — and, just as important, what wouldn’t she do? I’d bet she’d do the following:
She wouldn’t wait eight weeks to talk to the CEO of BP. She would be on the phone with him within 24 hours — to offer government help and support instead of a kick in the ass.
She wouldn’t leave Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal waiting for three weeks for a decision on whether or not the state of Louisiana could build temporary sand barrier islands to keep spilled crude out of estuaries.
She wouldn’t talk trash about BP or threaten it while it was working frantically to plug the leak anymore than she would talk trash about a mechanic trying to fix her car. She’s hung around enough mechanics to know
that that when you talk trash about the guy who’s working on your car,
you’re apt to have it returned to you with the engine in the back seat.
She wouldn’t claim to
be responsible for things over which she has no control — like plugging
the leak. She would take responsibility for things she could control,
like protecting the shoreline and cleaning up the mess.
She wouldn’t declare a
six-month moratorium on drilling in deep water and put 30,000 people out
of work — and then try to stick BP with the bill for their lost wages.
But chances are she
would order a two- or three-week stand-down on all rigs, during which
the crews would check and certify that all their equipment is
functioning properly and review their safety procedures. The military
does this sort of thing regularly if it experiences serious accidents.
She wouldn’t sit
around wondering why some of the world’s most advanced oil-skimming
ships are sitting idle at the dock because they needed a federal waiver
from the Jones Act, which says only American-made vessels can operate in
U.S. coastal waters, before they can start skimming. She would issue
the waiver and kick the butts of those who had failed to do so.
She wouldn’t demand that
pay for the cleanup after it has already said it is going to. And so
In short, Sarah
would do the things virtually every elected official with a lick of
common sense from Chicken Inspector on up would do.
Granted, in situations
this common sense will get you only so far. Still, Obama’s performance
in handling the oil spill has been one of jaw-dropping ineffectiveness
and bumbling incompetence, and after watching the smartest guy in the
room make one amateur’s mistake after another, common sense looks like a
pretty good alternative.