Politics

Why, Oh, Why Doesn't Obama Save Us?

Why a president who does too much is far more dangerous than one who does too little

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Not long ago, Barack Obama was pilloried for being too activist, too meddlesome, and too inclined to see himself as the messiah. He was forcing health care reform down our throats, running General Motors, wrecking the financial system and promising to make the oceans recede.

But that was a different guy, from a parallel universe. The President Obama we all know is a passive, detached do-nothing. Or so we have been hearing since the British Petroleum oil spill gained our attention.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican who once denounced Democrats for scheming to "increase dependence on government," now demands that Washington do more for his state.

Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who recently called on Congress to zero out the Environmental Protection Agency, challenges the administration to "save the Louisiana coast, save the fisheries, save the wetlands."

Funny how nobody said that at the 2008 Republican national convention, where the chant was "drill, baby, drill." Back then, real men didn't protect sea turtles.

"For 35 days, he hasn't used the full force of our government," Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), complained of the president last month. That's right: a conservative lamenting that Obama is being too cautious and prudent in his deployment of federal power.

What's next? Griping that he's not enough of a socialist?

It may not be a surprise to find Republicans damning Obama when he does and when he doesn't. But it is novel for them to act as though the president is an omnipotent national father, without whose tender care we are all lost.

"America wants a leader, not a politician," proclaims former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, writing in USA Today. He says Obama should emulate former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who after the 9/11 attacks "camped out at Ground Zero" to lead the response. "There is no substitute for being there," Romney lectures the president.

This is part of Romney's ongoing campaign to make sure no one ever again takes him seriously. Obama is not a mayor. He is commander in chief at a time when we are fighting two major wars, confronting a North Korea that recently sunk a South Korean naval vessel, trying to prevent Iran from getting nukes, and grappling with an international crisis involving Israel.

He is also responsible for directing policy and making budget decisions involving numerous federal departments and agencies that exist because the GOP, after all, didn't abolish them during its time in power.

To suggest that Obama should devote his full attention to fixing a single problem (a leaking oil well) that the federal government has no competence or responsibility to fix is not leadership but childish fantasy.

Making rules for deepwater drilling is a legitimate function of government, and so is holding polluters accountable for the damage they cause. Plugging oil wells is the function of oil companies.

The federal government does have a responsibility to help mitigate the harm done by the leaking petroleum. But Obama does not need to be on hand for it to carry out that mission, any more than the chairman of Toyota needs to be carrying a wrench on the factory floor. If the president cannot formulate a policy and direct those under him to carry it out, he has no business being president—because there is no other way to be president.

When his critics accuse Obama of being detached and passionless, they are really faulting him for being calm, rational, and realistic. Those qualities, a contrast to the cocky style of his immediate predecessor, are what got him elected. If Americans had wanted a leader to channel rage or grief, they would have chosen someone more demonstrative.

Obama has gone wrong—as conservatives have often been correct in pointing out—when he has pressed against the limits of his rightful powers, taking on responsibilities far greater than the federal government should assume. A president who does too much is far more dangerous to life, liberty, and property than one who does too little.

So if Obama is erring on the side of circumspection, more power to him. When he was running for the White House in 1968, Democrat Eugene McCarthy was asked if he felt he would be a good president. "I think I would be adequate," he replied. Here is a goal for Obama that conservatives as well as liberals should be willing to endorse: Just be adequate.

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  1. British Petroleum hasn’t been called that for a long time. For a magazine named reason to miss that. Wouldn’t happen when Virginia Postrel was running things.

    Good morning reason!

    1. You are DRINK baiting.

      It doesnt matter either, because I’m already drinking.

    2. You are DRINK baiting.

      It doesnt matter either, because I’m already drinking.

      1. And apparently I suffer from echolalia

  2. In other news: the king of sausage, Jimmy Dean died, aged 81.

    Mineral riches found in Afghanistan. Left fears “Corporations” will turn it into Pandora. No comment from James Cameron, yet.

    Government oil continues to spew into government water and is beginning to arrive on government beaches.

    1. Please tell me they found 35 lbs of undigested sausage in Jimmy Deans colon? That’d be hilarious.

      1. Check with Judge Reinhold on the new average.

  3. Obama is not a mayor.

    If Obama was mayor he’d be sleeping in during a blizzard rather than driving a snow plow on the early AM local news.

  4. The Bizarrow President is not qualified to be mayor. The Feds are telling the people in Pensacola that they can not clean up the oil on their beaches. Why did Obama not allow the Danish skimmers to assist in the clean up? Every skimmer in the world that is available should be there. Obama is dictating what can and can not be done. It is Obama’s spill.
    http://www.suckitupcrybaby.com

    1. Because I liked your handle, I actually went to your website.

      I must remember to not do that.

      I quote:

      There are way to many Mama’s boys in this country. We are running short on real men.
      Mother’s boy, also mummy’s boy or mama’s boy, is a term for a man who is excessively attached to his mother at an age when men are expected to be independent (e.g. live on their own, be economically independent). A mother’s boy may be effete or effeminate, or might be perceived as being macho, or might have a personality disorder, such as avoidant personality disorder, or might be schizophrenic, so that the mother acts as a caretaker. In any case, a mother’s boy cannot maintain a healthy partnership with a woman (Carruthers, 1998)

      I appreciate the source-citation. It is like a cherry on the pile of creamy stupid. Fortunately I am so manly that I have to shave the hair off my cock every morning. But I deplore the fact that the author both refers to himself as “John the Baptist” and also has no idea how nouns are pluralized. The whole “just throw an apostrophe+s on top” thing is really embarrassing.

      1. “…cherry on the pile of creamy stupid”. Love it!!

  5. What horseshit, Chapman. Could we get maybe one Republican quote about how Obama is being too caution and prudent? The knock hasn’t been that, its been that he is too detached, distracted, and negligent.

    C’mon, he and his team see this whole thing as just the crisis they need to jam cap and tax through. I’m willing to say that they have been obstructing the cleanup (what, no Jones Act waivers>) more through ignorance and incompetence than because they are trying to make it just that little bit worse to advance their agenda. For now.

    1. Curses!

    2. Their agenda being transitioning to an energy paradigm that won’t result in coastlines being destroyed or the planet heating up. Eeeevil!

      A normal person sees oil destroying the Gulf and says “hm, are there perhaps alternatives to this?” Not you though. It’s obviously a conspiracy. Those poor oil companies, they just can’t compete with the omniscient power of that incompetent, negligent community organizer.

      1. You aren’t capable of judging what a “normal” person would do Tony.

        You’re a liberal.

        The categories of normal and liberal are always mutually exclusive.

        1. Spoken like someone that has watched too much Hannity and Beck…

          1. …or oberman.

    3. Wow, yes. Haven’t seen this much open Presidential cocksuckery since I stopped watching MSNBC even in airports. Frankly, it was a little gross and slobbery.

      Not to mention Chapman brainlessly neglects to distinguish between Presidential duties. Here’s a hint: the President is supposed to do a few things — one of them would indeed be to coordinate national response to a disaster that threatens multiple states that originates in international waters — and those things he is, indeed, supposed to do vigorously and effectively.

      Chapman seems to imagine that one has to either approve of the President doing everything vigorously or doing nothing at all. A Caesar or a total figurehead. A pretty goofy view of limited-government ideals. We don’t think government should do the few things with which it’s tasked ineffectively, y’know. Yeesh.

      Not to mention he glides over the fact that what people hammer Obama about is not that he hasn’t capped the well, but that his coordination of efforts to defend the shoreline and mitigate the influence of the oil on Gulf fisheries has been pathetic.

      Oh and then there’s this really teenager-in-love goofy bit about how very very busy Obama is “fighting two wars” and “coping” with the Korean crisis. As if! His leadership has been entirely absent in both situations. Indeed, one might be inclined to give him a break if he were pulling off brilliant coups in foreign policy. But he’s fucking that up just as thoroughly, and pretty much in the same way, by generally phoning it in and a preference for yap-yap posturing over any actual substantive bargaining.

      1. Good points C.P.

        I think Obama is too busily trying to manufacture the world’s vision of himself as one who only tackles the greater interests of the world, and not the mundane work-a-day leadership on petty issues like oil spills.

  6. Part of this is legitimate criticism of the Obama admininistration not having much of a clue of how do deal with the cleanup issues beyond making vague authoritarian threats against the corporations involved. Part of the criticism is payback from the GOP based on how the Dems and the media criticized Bush during the aftermath of Katrina.

    On the other hand, Obama’s campaign rhetoric had imputed to Government nigh supernatural omnipotence. The oil spill provides practical evedence that it does not have such capabilities.

    1. “The oil spill provides practical evedence that it does not have such capabilities.”
      Huh, what a surprise!

  7. Agree with RC Dean. A bunch of horseshit.

    The magnitude of this disaster was known early on and it appears that it is being milked (if not created) by ppl with an agenda.

    Are mass evacuations next, martial law to be implemented as a pretext to the looming/impending financial crash at the end of this year?

    There is some motive to how and what is happening (there always is). This POTUS Administration measures and calculates everything to be used for its agenda (just as all admins do).

    Something far more sinister lurks. Mark my words.

    1. Yep, we have ourselves a full-fledged Cloward/Piven administration, and it really sucks.

    2. If I were a Machiavellian presidential adviser I’m not sure I’d have “destroying the beaches and economy of Florida” as a part of any plan.

      1. Which is why you are not a Machiavellian presidential adviser..

  8. Maybe Obama is using the Russian play book from a nuclear accident for the oil spill?

    I sort of remember them dragging their feet like this about something when I was a kid.

  9. It’s also not really fair to call out Gov. Jindal, the discrepancy in royalty revenue between LA and the other states is shameful. 49 states split royalty money with fed 50/50, LA, however receives 9% while fed takes 91%. All because of a pissing contest between President Truman and Judge Perez. Louisiana is missing out on billions of dollars. It’s unlikely they would spent it prudently, but that’s another issue.

    1. Agree. I also think that since the Feds wont let them clean up/protect their own beaches its more than OK for the Governor to be upset they aren’t doing enough.

  10. There’s nothing Obama really could or should do, but the bastard is all about lining himself up to take credit for the good and pass the buck on the bad. Regardless, I love watching his ass get chewed and his balls hammered – the sorry, lying, two-faced son of a bitch bastard president.

    1. http://blog.heritage.org/2010/…..ry-harder/

      Five weeks ago Escambia County officials requested permission from the Mobile Unified Command Center to use a sand skimmer, a device pulled behind a tractor that removes oil and tar from the top three feet of sand, to help clean up Pensacola’s beaches. County officials still haven’t heard anything back.

      And when the federal government isn’t sapping the initiative and expertise of local governments, it has been preventing foreign governments from helping. Just three days after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the Dutch government offered to provide ships outfitted with oil-skimming booms and proposed a plan for building sand barriers to protect sensitive marshlands. LA Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) supported the idea, but the Obama administration refused the help. All told, thirteen countries have offered to help us clean up the Gulf, and the Obama administration has turned them all down . . .

      The major stumbling block is a protectionist piece of legislation called the Jones Act which requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens. But in an emergency this law can be temporarily waived as DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff did after Katrina. Each day our European allies are prevented from helping us speed up the clean up is another day that Gulf fishing and tourism jobs die.

      And then there are the energy jobs that the Obama administration is killing with its over-expansive ban on offshore energy development. Experts?who were consulted by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar before he issued his May 27 report recommending a six-month moratorium on all ongoing drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet?now tell The New Orleans Times-Picayune that they only supported a six-month ban on new drilling in waters deeper than 1,000 feet.

      Sounds like getting out of the way is asking too much of some people when there are political agendas that need stoking.

  11. Why, Oh, Why Doesn’t Obama Save Us?
    He’s too god damn dumb.

  12. Excellent point. Obama must be seething because he can’t seize BP like he did GM, AIG, etc. because BP is a British company. If Deepwater Horizon had belonged to Exxon, Obama would certainly have seized control of the company.

    1. Hold on, hoss. BP has substantial assets in the U.S.

  13. The GOP is highly hypocritical. This isn’t an example of it. The government dealing with natural disasters is much different than the government deciding to regulate everything that walks. If you view the government as a “defender of last resort” and little else, it would be perfectly reasonable to blast Obama over being too proactive in regulation but not proactive enough in disaster situations like this. Seriously, before you blast people’s political beliefs, try to understand what they are first. Just because they seem hypocritical to you doesn’t mean they are hypocritical. They’re probably just operating off of a different set of assumptions. It’s disappointing to see hack work like this. It’s something I’d expect from Sean Hannity or Rachel Maddow, not a writer for Reason.

    Of course, all this could be solved if Obama just came out and said, “No, this is impossible for the government to deal with. It’s simply not anything we’re equipped to handle.” Good luck getting a progressive to admit that, though. Hell, most of his rhetoric revolves expressly around denying this. Hence his “inaction”.

    1. It would only not be highly hypocritical IF the republicans came out and said “this happened on federal property, so it’s the fed’s responsibility”, like what Reason did. But they aren’t. Because they are too dumb.

    2. “No, this is impossible for the government to deal with. It’s simply not anything we’re equipped to handle

      Pretty fair, Nino.

  14. but what he does is bad, like the health care bill, not to take effect until after the next election because it took effect before he would have no chance of being reelected.

    right now, dems are trying to get control of the internet and talk radio. The FCC is trying to boost newspapers because they are liberal and the fear is that if people don’t read print media, they wont’ get liberal propaganda (an unwarranted fear).

    He has increased the size of government. Fear of what he might do stops people from taking steps that would create jobs and investment.
    If this trend continues, the US will be like a third world nation where getting a government job is the way to get rich, which means that the country has to be poor, since the wealth comes from taxpayers.

    In foreign affairs, from the start, the president has showed disdain to our allies all over the world and hinted he wants a closer alliance with Islam. This is causing serioius re alignments and heartburnings all over the world and having a major impact on human rights. Many who took risks to support the american or western position have been left high and dry. The chances of some anti government person being killed in China or Syria or Iran is higher because of obama. What matters is not just what the US does, but what it says, every word counts. When obama bows to a Saudi prince, it sent a message around the world. When he sat smiling fondly as Chavez put down the US, it told those who did not like Chavez that they had to be careful. Brazil has turned to Iran because obama showed them less friendship that the US has in the past. he seems to be trying to make the US part of the non western bloc. all this is just for starters in terms of obama doing way too much.

  15. I think it’s about time you guys came to terms with the fact that this oil spill pretty much puts the final nail in the coffin of the idea that if the government just stays out of the way, we can trust big corporations to act responsibily.

    In other words, your philosophy is stupid.

    1. Government was not even remotely out of the way in this case, so please explain how you reached your conclusion. At this point, my only question is why the government doesn’t simply blast the well closed since it’s clear that BP is causing harm to others.

    2. Why do you think they were drilling in DEEP water rather than on land, for example, in ANWAR?

      Think about that.

      A spill on land would be far easier to deal with.

      1. This is idiotic. Ever consider the idea that maybe we shouldn’t be drilling in ANWR or the deep ocean? This is a battered spouse attitude.

        1. So do you walk everywhere I take it? Does all of your food come from the garden behind your house? How did you the computer you are using come into being?

          1. The fact that I can’t escape using some fossil fuel energy in my daily life despite being against it is only evidence of how small a role choice plays in the matter.

            1. Do you mean the choice to not obey the laws of thermodynamics?

              1. I didn’t realize it was a law of nature that oil industry shareholders keep seeing a profit.

                1. Tony,

                  I thought your concern was environmental damage. Are you telling me now that your concern is profit?

                  1. First, what laws of thermodynamics am I insisting we violate?

                    1. “First, what laws of thermodynamics am I insisting we violate?”

                      I was insisting nothing. I was asking a question.

                      There are some (you may not be such a person) who seem to think a magic bullet of some sort will enable free energy and this violates the First law of thermodynamics which states “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms. In any process in an isolated system, the total energy remains the same.”

                      Notice my question mark. If this is not the “choice” you want, what choice is it you want and who is depriving you of this choice?

                    2. PIRS,

                      I’m still not getting it. The earth is not an isolated system. It gets many times the energy it needs to support life per day from the sun alone.

                    3. But do you know how much land it would solar panels would take to produce the energy that it takes a power plant to produce?

                      Why do you think this is not being done now? Is there some kind of conspiracy preventing people from buying their own windmills or solar panels? Personally, if you want to buy a solar panel I have no problem with this. I own several calculators with them. No problem. They work fine for calculators. Entire cities? Automobiles? Trucks driving merchandise from one city to another? I am more skeptical about these.

                    4. Actually there is a conspiracy. Oil and coal still receive massive amounts of real subsidies, in addition to them not having to pay for most of the environmental damage their products cause. End those subsidies and we’ll see which tech comes out on top.

                    5. ” End those subsidies and we’ll see which tech comes out on top.”

                      I am all for that!! Can we shake hands and both advocate ACTUAL free market policies? Can we do that?

                    6. Completely agree with you here Tony.

                    7. “Completely agree with you here Tony.”

                      Yea, do you think we converted Tony to the free market?

        2. Tony, why don’t you go freeze your ass to death in the dark somewhere.

          1. Because I’d rather have a smoke and a cocktail, but thanks.

            1. Does it not take petroleum to bring you that smoke and cocktail?

              1. Not after he and his pals enslave the rest of us.

        3. This is idiotic. Ever consider the idea that maybe we shouldn’t be drilling in ANWR or the deep ocean? This is a battered spouse attitude.

          Have you conducted a cost-benefit analysis on drilling?

          1. Just a back-of-the-napkin kind of thing, but I’m not sure a single well’s benefit is worth the cost of the destruction of the Gulf.

            1. “I’m not sure a single well’s benefit is worth the cost of the destruction of the Gulf.”

              Are there people who think that it is? Again, why are they drilling in deep water to begin with as opposed to on land?

              1. Although I’m loath to even address this line of argument, which originated in the flappy jowls of Rush Limbaugh, they apparently lied about how safe deepwater drilling was, and don’t try to tell me they’re only there because they were forced off of safer drillsites. That, to me, is an argument in favor of drilling in neither place, not for caving on shallow water or land drilling. People had good reasons to oppose it and those reasons haven’t gone away in light of the spill.

                1. “and don’t try to tell me they’re only there because they were forced off of safer drillsites.”

                  This is called “poisoning the well” in logic, no pun intended. They were indeed forced off of safer drill sites.

                  “That, to me, is an argument in favor of drilling in neither place”

                  Why? It seems from one of your above posts that you care more about profit than environmental damage. Are you opposed simply because someone might earn a profit?

                  1. PIRS,

                    It’s clear that they shouldn’t have been allowed to drill in deepwater (at least not without more safety systems). That’s a different question to whether they should be allowed to drill elsewhere. This rhetoric is about nothing but trying to blame environmentalists for a giant oil spill. It would be absurd if it weren’t merely another day, another scapegoat in the Limbaughian universe.

                    1. “That’s a different question to whether they should be allowed to drill elsewhere.”

                      I think you are missing the point. This is like a prohibitionist saying “It’s clear that they shouldn’t have been allowed to make bathtub gin.” After someone goes blind after drinking moonshine. Why would this person be making the bathtub gin in the first place?

                      There is a market for petroleum. When the government makes it imposible to drill in a relatively safe location it will be done in a less safe location.

                    2. That was a pretty good analogy PIRS. The moral hazard of too many regulations applies to many situations.

                    3. Thank you AA!

                    4. PIRS,
                      Thank you for the systematic destrucion of Tony’s flawed logic. I truly enjoyed that.

        4. Idiotic indeed! Have these people really never considered the idea that we shouldn’t power our factories and farms at all? That way we could all starve and everything would stay so clean. These oil addicts will never get it.

    3. …pretty much puts the final nail in the coffin of the idea that if the government just stays out of the way, we can trust big corporations to act responsibily.

      What makes you think government can be trusted to “act responsibly.” So far all I’ve seen this administration do is play politics with the entire matter.

      1. +2

  16. “When his critics accuse Obama of being detached and passionless, they are really faulting him for being calm, rational, and realistic.”

    Calm, rational and realistic?

    Like the knee-jerk move of slapping a six month ban on all offshore oil drilling? How many of the other wells in the gulf have a problem?

    None.

    Like the purely political move of using the oil leak as an excuse to push for the Democrat’s disastrous cap and tax program?

    Obama hasn’t been calm rational or realistic about any of it.

    He was merely asleep at the switch when it started and now he has ramped up his usual spinning to try to deflect any political fallout and use it as a vehicle to further one of his other political ends that has nothing whatsoever to do with solving the leak problem.

    1. Exactly.

  17. I’m trouble that the ultimate athuority on this kind of problem still has not been consulted.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKQ3LXHKB34

  18. Check out this (past) week’s economist cover story for an analysis of how the GOP desperately needs Obama as a foil for, well, something…

    “”What’s wrong with America’s right
    Too much anger and too few ideas. America needs a better alternative to Barack Obama

    http://www.economist.com/node/16321546

  19. Thank you for a rational, reasonable article. I’m not an Obama fan — but listening to Republicans slam him (particularly over the oil leak) is rather hilarious. The my-team vs your-team mentality in politics is so blatant…especially in these other comments.

  20. The Federal Government will not allow the states to regulate offshore drilling in their waters. So simple, common sense policies like requiring that they purchase private insurance for the wells is not done.

    Private insurance removes the need for public regulation. Lloyds, or the chosen carrier(s) will impose safety rules on the oil company just as FM rules get placed on factories that are not self-insured. From experience, I can tell you that the insurance companies are usually more interested in reducing risk that the companies are.

    Obama has portrayed the Federal Government as all powerful and all knowing. It is to be expected that he be held accountable for his failure to place action with words and policy.

    A president who claimed that the Federal Government is too big to execute it’s responsibilities well could be excused. Obama is not that president. Ron Paul was not elected.

  21. Sorry, I should have specified. FM is Factory Mutual. An insurance company for industry. They have published extensive rules and practices that help determine how high the premiums will be, or if they will refuse to issue insurance. Very effective.

    Disclosure, I am not now, nor have I ever been in insurance. I am an industrial control systems engineer.

  22. But it is novel for them to act as though the president is an omnipotent national father

    No, it isn’t.

  23. Chapman has it wrong this time. The Federal Government needs to lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way. Obama has not led, will not follow, and refuses to get the hell out of the way. Suspending the Jones Act and accepting tenders of foreign assistance might have kept a lot of the oil off the beaches and out of the marches. Firing anyone at the Corps of Engineers who dithered over Louisiana’s request to build the berms might have saved billions in cleanup costs. Telling Holder to hold off on a criminal prosecution would let the folks at BP focus on the gusher in the gulf instead of the protecting their keisters.

    Conservatives and Libertarians were properly upset at Obama for expanding federal control where it did not properly belong (taking over GM and healthcare, and screwing Chrysler’s bond holders), but the feds already control offshore drilling. If you control it, then you own the problem and need to fix things when they go wrong. Rather than fix it, he has turned the government into the a stumbling block that is preventing others from mopping up this mess.

    1. If only the dogma of government incompetence hadn’t been festering in the halls of the MMS and other agencies for years prior.

      Don’t tell me government can’t do anything right, advocate policies that enshrine this article of faith, and then bitch when you’re proven right.

      1. “advocate policies that enshrine [the] article of faith” that government can’t do anything right”–Have no clue what you mean by this Tony. The preferred policy would be to have government do as little as possible. MMS appears to have been a cesspool of malfeasance and regulatory capture, and the preferred policy would be to limit its activities to leasing government owned properties to the hightest bidder, while (a) holding all drillers to strict liability for oil spill clean up and containment costs, and (b) prequalifying bids on the sole basis of the ability to meet the financial obligations stemming from such liability–either through their own resoureces or insurance. No subsidies through liability caps, and let people with skin in the game figure out the best way to keep their hide.

      2. Sounds like you don’t like to hear “I told you so.”

        Hey Tony,

        We told you so.

        1. Yeah when you staff government with incompetents, you can expect it to be incompetent. What if we tried not doing that?

          1. The problem is not incompetents – it is the inescapable fact that politicians DO NOT make decisions based on “what’s the best solution to the problem” but “what will get me re-elected?” That is enough of a reason to limit the size and power of government.

            1. Politicians, maybe, but it is kind of their job to represent their constituents. I don’t see why your average government bureaucrat can’t actually be good at her job.

              1. “I don’t see why your average government bureaucrat can’t actually be good at her job.”

                Because they work for politicians. Their decisions must by necessity be political rather than practical or technical.

                1. PIRS,

                  I don’t think there’s evidence that all government agencies are incorrigibly tainted by political calculations. What I’m speaking in favor of are agencies that work correctly. Assuming from the beginning that it’s impossible is pretty cynical, and I wouldn’t want anyone who believes like you in charge of anything. And besides, the private sector is just as political, it just has different constituencies.

                  1. And different incentives.

                  2. “I don’t think there’s evidence that all government agencies are incorrigibly tainted by political calculations.”

                    Really? Ever been to a DMV? The post office?

                    “What I’m speaking in favor of are agencies that work correctly. Assuming from the beginning that it’s impossible is pretty cynical,”

                    It is realism.

                    “I wouldn’t want anyone who believes like you in charge of anything.”

                    Good! I don’t want ANYONE in charge of anything political at all.

                    “And besides, the private sector is just as political, it just has different constituencies.”

                    The private sector is only political to the degree that government sticks its nose in the private sector.

                  3. It’s not cynicism to recognize that by the very nature of the appointments, and the nature of the funding, government organizations are political entities. And your post is ironic, considering “liberal” pretty much equals “cynic”.

          2. Yeah when you staff government with incompetents, you can expect it to be incompetent. What if we tried not doing that?

            So now you agree that it is Obama’s fault?

            He has been running the government for 18 months has he not?

  24. The man does not have an easy job but none the less he needs to step up to the plate and help out on the issues that are necessary not whats on his agenda (i.e. healthcare) he should be in touch with BP’s CEO Tony Hayward every day working towards a solution not puppeteering around.

  25. ?”Oceania has no capital, and its titular head is a person whose whereabouts nobody knows.”

    1. Yay 1984 quote of the day.

  26. Steve Chapman nails it.

  27. This is to all you libs riding Obama’s infinitesimal joint–Were you defending Bush when the media were pillorying him over Katrina? Were you offering up the two wars that HE was busy with as evidence for his competence? And what do you have to say about Comrade Secretary Obama’s handling of the floods in Tennessee??

    *static*

  28. Idiotic article.

  29. I don’t think people are aware about what Obama is up to. He is a smart man, but smart in a Macchivilian way. He wants a crisis, he needs a crisis. Then he can say the time for talk is over, the time to act is now. And before Americans can get a handle on the problem, Obama has already passed a law.

    Poor Americans. The world laughs in the meantime.

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