The American media didn’t take Sarah Palin seriously during the campaign, so even when she said something worth listening to, it was immediately discounted as just another crazy idea from the funny lady up north. But when she made a distinction between managing and organizing, she was foretelling the current crisis.
What Mr Obama learned about community organizing is that it’s hard to get people excited about a problem taken care of quickly. It has to escalate into a crisis to be solved, so the organizer can be the one to offer the solution. You have to keep the workers from talking to management until the situation gets out of hand, until the point when an outside mediator is needed to come settle the issue.
Perhaps that’s why Mr Obama did nothing about the BP oil spill for the first week. It was not a national priority to enforce an environmental impact study before authorizing drilling. It was not a crisis yet when the rig caught fire. It still was not a crisis when the rig first sank.
Indeed, on Earth Day, April 22, two days after the rig started to burn, Mr Obama gave a speech on the importance of off-shore drilling, hearkening back to a speech given April 2, when he had confidently declared “oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills.”
The next day, Friday, April 23, the president affirmed there was nothing to worry about, and left Washington for a vacation in North Carolina. But by the time he returned home Wed night, the well was already leaking, and the White House was starting to look around at who to give the blame to.
Not until May 3 did the Coast Guard send out the cutter Oak to start the skimming operation. The day before, the President had made a hastily arranged visit to the Gulf, but bad weather kept him standing on the Louisiana beach, promising to do something, to spend as much of the national treasury as needed to clean up the spill.
Rather than managing the accident, he’s organizing an excuse to spend someone else’s money to fix a massive problem that could have been prevented, had the nation had a Chief Executive. That’s why I call him an Empty Suit, only able to organize disaster.