Richard Wolffe reports that Obama was told how bad things were going to be with the BP oil well disaster more than 6 weeks ago:
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.
Little that has happened since has changed their mind-set. Now six weeks later, the president’s top advisers expect the oil spill–and the negative stories–to continue through August.
The fact that Team Obama was warned of the extent of the disaster so early on suggests that White House officials were aware of the environmental challenge long before they decided to demonstrate concern via presidential visits to the Gulf.
The Anchoress reacts… and speaks for me:
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.
What Obama has instead done is act in large part as if nothing calamitous has happened. Instead he’s participated in White House parties, sing alongs with aging crooners, numerous vacations as well as more than a handful of meaningless press events, all of which is not going unnoticed. See this CBS News piece:
The Obama White House is offering no apologies for the light-hearted events on the president’s schedule even as he faces “the worst environmental disaster of its kind” in U.S. history.
It was an easy target for mocking last Thursday – and some pundits couldn’t resist taking swipes — when on Day 38 of the oil spill crisis – President Obama hosted a Rose Garden reception for the Duke Blue Devils and a North Portico photo op with the U.S. World Cup Soccer teams.
Later on that same day, he presided at an East Room social event marking Jewish American Heritage Month. And that evening, he flew his family to Chicago for a getaway back home over the Memorial Day weekend.
The White House says not to judge Mr. Obama’s level of engagement to the oil spill calamity by a few unrelated events on his schedule.
It’s tough not to harken back to the campaign and to think of the starry-eyed who were fainting at the feet of Barack Hussein Obama and who, with tears in their eyes, spoke in awe of how America might be transformed by the man and the hope and change he would manifest during his administration.
The narcissism, the detachment, the aloofness, the radicalism that many of us saw during that time is now being seen by those blinded by his candidacy.
We have an ecological disaster on our hands, an economy that teeters on the brink of collapse, jihadists emboldened by our treatment of Israel, North Korea feeling their oats after getting away with sinking a South Korean war ship and countless other problems too numerous to mention… and at the helm, we have a President who has little respect for America’s momentous past and who diddles while America faces an uncertain future.
We are in deep kimchee people. So very deep.
I’m trusting that leaders will rise from these events, that we as Americans who’ve faced and overcome such grimness before will do so again. And that we will cast aside and leave behind those who instead define America by what she has done wrong.
Crossposted at Brutally Honest.
UPDATE: Instapundit reader provides, given this President, a most plausible reason for Obama inaction:
Reader Martha Hearron writes:
I hate to be a cynic, but have you looked at how the affected states have voted? How many of them did Obama carry? Also, at least 3 of the 4 governors are Republicans, although Charlie Crist is questionable.
I bet if it was California it would be all hands on deck from day 1.
It rings so true with this bunch in power.