BP's unprecedented transparency allowed us all to visually witness the source of the damage. With each plume of oil came greater anxiety that we must cut the flow off at its source. Unfortunately, oil companies are staffed by engineers, not politicians. Their problem-solving approach appeared to be plodding and clumsy, especially when the eyes of the world are looking over their shoulder.
As a world leader who senses he, too, is viewed as a cerebral and passionless problem solver, President Obama has taken this opportunity to prove his mettle. His basketball court trash talking has been taken to the court of public opinion. He, too, has come out looking awkward and clumsy. And, consistent with his over-achieving style, he has compensated by giving the appearance of doing more, not necessarily doing better.
BP is not alone in its ineptitude. Lax government regulations and a too-cozy relationship between oil companies and the Minerals Management Service created an accident waiting to happen. In the days following the disaster, we saw a government decision process that is little improved since Hurricane Katrina. Even the Jones Act from almost a century ago prevented foreign ships from assisting in the cleanup of our shores