The devastation of our coastline is the worst part of it.
But, oh, the painful lessons of the Gulf oil spill.
Let’s start with the “lessons” to which President Obama is currently being subjected. Hopefully Mr. Obama now understands that it is an “art” (and clearly not a “science”) for a President to know how, and when, and in what circumstances to intervene, and what stance to take with the challenges at hand.
Herbert Hoover and Franklin D Roosevelt responded inadequately to the “Great Depression.” John F. Kennedy mishandled the “Bay of Pigs” incident. Jimmy Carter bungled the Iranian Hostage crisis. And, even by President Obama’s own observations, his predecessor George W. Bush displayed “unconscionable ineptitude” in his response to Hurricane Katrina.
Of course, in order to know these things President Obama would need to have been at least somewhat of a student of American history, and I’m uncertain as to what his interest level is with that subject. But we can hope that over the past fifty-five days or so, somebody has told Mr. Obama about some of the struggles of his predecessors.
We can also hope that our President better understands his inability to simply “speak things into existence.” Powerful as he is, things aren’t always as President Obama clams them to be.
It was about a year ago that Mr. Obama delivered his famous address in Cairo, wherein he stipulated that American values and Muslim values are not in conflict with one another, but rather, are complimentary. Since then, the U.S. has sustained three terrorist incidents on domestic soil (the mass murders at Fort Hood Army base last November, the Christmas Day in-flight “underwear bomber” case over the skies of Detroit, and the plot to blow up Times Square a few weeks ago), all of which entailed adherents of one form or another of “radical Islam.”
Just because President Obama makes a moral equivalency of American culture and the culture of the Islamic world, doesn’t mean that such an equivalency exists. And just because the President and members of his Administration insist that “the system worked” or that they were “ready on day one” in the face of a national crisis, doesn’t mean that a crisis is being managed.
Yet, another lesson – for President Obama, and all the rest of us – is that our President’s disposition towards economic matters is, to put it simply, very destructive. President Obama seems to naively assume that wealth creation is essentially a guaranteed thing, and the big question surrounding the economy is how wealth will be distributed, and to whom. President Obama also seems to presume that, just as is the case with Islamic terrorism and oil spill clean-ups, he need only stipulate that something is true, and it will be so.
Consider, for example, President Obama’s proclamation on May 27th that he would seek a “ban” on all off-shore oil drilling. It is understandable why he felt the political need to say such a thing, given that the initial explosion that touched-off the “spill” had happened several weeks prior on April 20th. The President had a political need to do something decisive, so as to look like he was “taking charge” and “handling things.”
Yet the President fulfilling his political need could cost tens of thousands of jobs in the oil, and related industries, and could cost the U.S. economy – especially in the Gulf Coast states – hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues. Barack Obama’s attempt to “speak into existence” a solution to the oil spill crisis could end up exacerbating yet another looming crisis – unemployment and a sluggish economy – while doing nothing to contain the spill itself.
Similarly, President Obama seems either to be uncaring about the economic and diplomatic tensions he has created because of his, and his Administration’s disposition towards the British Petroleum Corporation. On May 3rd of this year, President Obama’s Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced in his now-famous Press Conference that Washington had a “boot on the throat” of B.P. This, apparently, was yet another attempt by the Obama Administration to appear as though they were “in control,” and “handling things.”
But as of last Thursday, June 10th, the left-wing MSNBC network had estimated that shares of B .P. had lost some $71 billion in value, in no small part because of the U.S. federal government’s threats on the corporation. This, in turn, has engendered a backlash against Obama in the U.K., especially from those whose retirement pensions are invested in B.P. stock.
This illustrates one of the greatest tragedies of the Obama presidency: our President’s harshest, most angry, most aggressive words are usually aimed at free enterprise. It’s difficult to imagine our President ever claiming to have a “boot on the throat” of Islamic terrorists, or Iran, or North Korea. Yet even dating back to his earliest days on the presidential campaign trail, he has often spoken words of vitriol towards American businesses, including pharmaceutical companies, car manufacturers, and – yes – oil companies.
The world is learning a very painful lesson – a lesson about Barack Obama.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.