Oil Spill Leadership Crisis

Everyone is looking for someone else to blame…and someone to follow.

America’s chief executive is acting tough. He’s talking about kicking someone’s derriere. He says BP chairman Tony Hayward “wouldn’t work for me,” as if he knew what he was talking about. Obama is a former community activist and law professor. What does he know about running a multinational oil company? Or about employing someone?

The Obama team has taken to calling the company “British Petroleum.” That hasn’t been the company’s name for 12 years…but it puts the blame on the other side of the Atlantic, where they want it.

The news out yesterday was that the leak was allowing 1 million gallons of oil to escape into the Gulf every day. Some commentators say Hayward will lose his job. Others say BP will declare bankruptcy when the full costs of the damage become known. Analyst Matt Simmons says “there’s not enough money in the world,” to pay the clean up costs.

Several commentators, including Simmons, suggest that the Gulf disaster be put entirely in the hands of the US military. We laughed when we first heard that suggestion. After all, the pentagon knows no more about deep water drilling than Obama.

But they’ve already put a military man in charge – tough-talking Adm. Thad Allen. He probably has no idea what he’s doing either, but people take him seriously.

People want leadership – especially in a crisis. “The man on the white horse” always seems to come along, just when people need him. He sticks out his jaw. He takes charge. He leads. Only later do people realize that he was a jackass.

Bill Bonner
for The Daily Reckoning

The Daily Reckoning