I listened to the President the other night when he talked about the BP oil spill and then I listened to members of Congress grill the BP CEO. In the first instance, I said to myself, “what an arrogant person he is.” In the second instance I said, “Who the hell do these people think they are and why are they going through this now while the oil is still spewing into the ocean?”
In the first instance, it is not hard to conclude that we do not have a leader in the White House; we have a politician who will take just about any tact to look good and be popular. We have a person who apparently does not understand the value of the private sector in our world. He is neither a visionary nor an idealist; he does not seek people to follow, he bullies into conquest. His agenda seems to be just passing as much legislation as possible to make good on his “change” promise without regard to the long-term implications of the laws and certainly without considering opposing views.
He surrounds himself with manipulators and those who are concerned with “not letting a good crisis go to waste.” We now have a government that fires a CEO as in the case of GM, but says little about the president of the UAW, who had at least equal culpability in the demise of General Motors.
They circumvent the law and bully a company to create an escrow account, where a government employee will decide who is paid and how much. This administration pushes through a health reform law while telling people nothing bad will happen when in reality millions of Americans will not be able to keep the coverage they have and like. Millions more will pay considerably more for the coverage they do keep. All the while, we expand coverage and do little to change the health care system and its cost drivers. Instead, we do our best to convince Americans that the problem is health insurance premiums.
Members of the House grill a CEO for not knowing every detail involved in drilling one of many oil wells; yet these are the same people who vote for a massive law changing health care in American with few, if any, of them reading each word of the legislation. Who is more irresponsible, the CEO or the members of Congress?
What did we have to do with it?
Congress and the Administration bash banks and financial firms, blame them for the housing bubble and following fiasco, and ignore their part in creating the environment that let all this happen and continue to do so through Fannie and Freddie.
We hear our President rail about the environment, build wind turbines and solar panels all over the land and yet we hear little about the cost of all that on the average consumer. Like the rest of the world, we could stimulate the economy, help the environment and use far less land to do it if we embrace nuclear power (including not backtracking on the disposal of waste).
It is not a matter of letting BP or any other corporation off the hook, if they are liable they pay, they may even go out of business. This Country needs health care reform, but we are still waiting. We need a comprehensive energy policy and we need to do better for the environment. There is no question about the things we need to do. The question is how we do them and about telling the American people the truth and the consequences of what we do.
Yelling, kicking ass, creating scapegoats from Wall Street to insurance companies, diverting focus from the real issues and attacking individuals is not leadership, it is down and dirty street politics. America deserves better. The President would do well to focus his legacy on assuring that the United States retains it world leadership position in all respects and that includes financial integrity and a functioning political system based on the fundamental structure of our democracy.