Sunday, June 06, 2010

POTUS and Public Relations on the Gulf Coast

President Obama visited the coast of Louisiana yesterday in another effort to appear to be engaged in solving the oil spill tragedy. He squeezed the trip in after first stopping by a manufacturing plant in Maryland to boast of the numbers out on the job market. Even the press was puzzled by that boast, since the numbers were in reality quite bad. After analysis, the jobs created were almost solely due to hiring census workers, not real job creation.

But, Team Obama is in serious campaign mode trying to re-sell Barack Obama to the American voter. After 19 months of holding the highest office in the land, turns out the glow is off. He has mishandled most everything that has crossed his path and it is getting difficult for even the slobbering press to cover for him. His complete lack of executive experience is evident.

From talk show host Laura Ingraham yesterday: Obama's visit today will come on Day 46 of the spill. During that same period of time after Hurricane Katrina, then-President Bush had made 8 visits to the Gulf Coast or hurricane-related sites

We are told the president is angry. We are told by his press secretary that the president clinches his jaw during meetings and that is a signal of his anger. We do not hear that anger, however, in his voice. The Mr. Cool persona has backfired on Barack Obama. As his poll numbers continue to sink, even loyal Democrats are publicly instructing him to show some emotion, show some human connection.

President Obama did not attend the memorial service for the eleven men who perished in the oil rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana 45 days ago. He did, however, make quite a show of attending a service for coal miners killed in a mining explosion. Does Barack Obama favor blue states over red states? The coast lines which will be directly affected on the Gulf coast all have Republican governors. Do bare knuckle politics determine which American lives will be honored by our president? Isn't he the guy who campaigned for president after coming into prominence as a good speech reader who told the audience that we are not a country of blue states and red states ... we are the United States?

Now, as many more than just me have recognized the fact that Obama does, indeed, favor swing and blue states, he has invited the families of the eleven dead workers to the White House. Too bad I am far to cynical to believe that gesture anything more than Obama trying to soften his cold image.

The fact is, President Obama and his administration were quite slow off the mark when the Deepwater Horizon exploded and then sank to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. As criticism began to be given voice, they sprang into full overdrive. He sent out administration members who made a point of sounded as tough as possible - Secretary Salazar said he would keep his boot on the throat of BP. Charming. Also, frankly, I would be surprised if Salazar knew much at all about offshore drilling before this tragedy, much less ever been on a drilling rig. And, it was the MMS - under his supervision, that approved the waivers for BP just days before the accident.

Much fanfare was made that Energy Secretary Chu is a Nobel prize winning physicist. Well, that's nice, but he knows virtually nothing of the oil drilling business. He was surprised that even as the leak is capped, oil will still leak from the well. Once again we are reminded that formal education is great but practical work experience in the real world is essential in such fields.

BP was a major donor to Barack Obama and the Democrats in the last election cycle. Candidate Obama received the most campaign dollars from BP than any other candidate. His interior secretary, Salazar, has been in place since Inauguration Day. So, with the flaws in the MMS, why didn't they implement reforms? Is it just easier to wait for something to happen and then look back and point fingers to previous administrations? That seems to be the Obama administration's pattern.

That's not leadership, that is agitation.

From the Washington Times:
Yet Obama's trip was also about him.

He says it serves little substantive point to go around and yell — that people want results, not a show — but presidents face peril if they do not connect emotionally. As the crisis has dragged on — and his poll ratings have slipped — his words for BP's leaders have grown sharper.

"I don't want them nickel-and-diming people down here," Obama said after his latest briefing on the oil response. He promised his government would look over BP's shoulder to ensure it was paying out claims.

His visit amounted to one long I'm-on-your-side passage for reeling communities. Along that same line, he invited family members of the 11 workers killed when the BP rig blew up to visit the White House next Thursday. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the president had written to each of the families.

As for BP, Obama cast the oil company as a corporate giant interested in protecting its image with TV ads and its shareholders with bountiful dividends.

"I don't want somebody else bearing the costs of those risks that they took," Obama said. "I want to make sure that they're paying for it."

Again, that's not leadership, that's agitation. BP continues to say they will pay all costs, though they also qualify that by using the word "legitimate", so that will be a matter for the court system to solve. Why wouldn't BP launch a public relations campaign to let the country know of its remorse and sympathy for the accident? Why wouldn't BP want to let the American people know what the way forward is, as they see it? The president was doing public relations on his trip to the coast, too, let there be no mistake about it.

President Obama, so determined to prove he can handle more than one crisis at a time, has continued on as though there is no oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and that is of concern to everyone involved on the ground. He has allowed the situation to get away from him. It is easy to blame BP - and right to do so - and demand they make the disaster right, but at the same time it is not the time to talk only of 'bad corporations' as liberals do and of lawsuits, as liberal trial lawyers do. The immediate concern is to stop the spill. It is not time to concentrate on his 'commissions' that he is relying on to determine drilling decisions. Something must be done immediately and he can first start by listening to Governor Jindal and providing him with the resources he requests. Stop the nonsense of saying you are waiting on the commission studying the request for birms and just order them to be built, as the governor requests.

The Agitator-in-Chief is ignorant of the ways of the real world. He proceeds to proclaim that he is in charge but his actions indicate otherwise. He should do more in his own public relations campaign. Simply touching down in Louisiana for an hour here and there is not the answer. Stop with the endless parties, golf games, date nights with the wife, vacations, and other publicized fun stuff. A major coastline is suffering and lots of jobs and families have been destroyed.

We intend to keep our boot on your throat, Mr. President.

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