Jun 10 2010

The Verdict Is In – President Obama Is A Failure

Published by at 7:58 am under All General Discussions

Updates Below!

Three amazing articles are out that portend a lot of trouble for President Obama and the Democrat Party this year. It seems left, right and across the Atlantic Ocean people are concluding President Obama is just not up to the job. Let’s begin with the left, and this long, informative and damning piece in Rolling Stone regarding Obama’s handling of the Gulf oil spill:

Even after the president’s press conference, Rolling Stone has learned, the administration knew the spill could be far worse than its “best estimate” acknowledged. That same day, the president’s Flow Rate Technical Group – a team of scientists charged with establishing the gusher’s output – announced a new estimate of 12,000 to 25,000 barrels, based on calculations from video of the plume. In fact, according to interviews with team members and scientists familiar with its work, that figure represents the plume group’s minimum estimate. The upper range was not included in their report because scientists analyzing the flow were unable to reach a consensus on how bad it could be. “The upper bound from the plume group, if it had come out, is very high,” says Timothy Crone, a marine geophysicist at Columbia University who has consulted with the government’s team. “That’s why they had resistance internally. We’re talking 100,000 barrels a day.”

Most troubling of all, the government has allowed BP to continue deep-sea production at its Atlantis rig – one of the world’s largest oil platforms. Capable of drawing 200,000 barrels a day from the seafloor, Atlantis is located only 150 miles off the coast of Louisiana, in waters nearly 2,000 feet deeper than BP drilled at Deepwater Horizon. According to congressional documents, the platform lacks required engineering certification for as much as 90 percent of its subsea components – a flaw that internal BP documents reveal could lead to “catastrophic” errors. In a May 19th letter to Salazar, 26 congressmen called for the rig to be shut down immediately. “We are very concerned,” they wrote, “that the tragedy at Deepwater Horizon could foreshadow an accident at BP Atlantis.”

The administration’s response to the looming threat? According to an e-mail to a congressional aide from a staff member at MMS, the agency has had “zero contact” with Atlantis about its safety risks since the Deepwater rig went down.

And instead of putting the brakes on new offshore drilling, Salazar immediately throttled it up to record levels. Even though he had scrapped the Bush plan, Salazar put 53 million offshore acres up for lease in the Gulf in his first year alone – an all-time high. The aggressive leasing came as no surprise, given Salazar’s track record. “This guy has a long, long history of promoting offshore oil drilling – that’s his thing,” says Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “He’s got a highly specific soft spot for offshore oil drilling.” As a senator, Salazar not only steered passage of the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which opened 8 million acres in the Gulf to drilling, he even criticized President Bush for not forcing oil companies to develop existing leases faster.

Let me stop here and relay a lesson NASA learned when they tried to do more missions under the banner of ‘faster, better, cheaper’. The idea was to develop many small focused missions with a few instruments instead of the behemoths like the Galileo mission to Jupiter with lots of instruments and immense power needs. The idea was you can spend $1 billion on one mission or on 4-5 missions. It also meant you would not lose everything in one mistake or accident.

At a glance this seems obvious, except there is one problem. When you create 5 times the missions you need five times the number of engineers, accountants, program managers, safety experts, etc, etc, etc. You need a larger pool of experienced hands to run all the mission developments and operations in parallel. What NASA learned was you only get two of the three goals no matter what. You can be faster and cheaper, but not better. You could be faster and better, but not cheaper. It was a hard lesson to learn.

What BP, the oil industry and the US government just discovered with the failure of this well and its back up systems is clearly the same lesson. If Salazar expanded the number of wells in the Gulf of Mexico then he opened the flood gates to some of the wells being understaffed and below quality and safety standards. You cannot just increase the pool of experienced, safe hands in a year. It takes decades to groom the pool of skilled labor required to take on these massively complex, edge of the envelope type challenges.

It seems clear the industry expanded exploration in this area too fast, and did not have the people (industry or government side) needed to expand safely.

Nowhere was the absurdity of the policy more evident than in the application that BP submitted for its Deepwater Horizon well only two months after Obama took office. BP claims that a spill is “unlikely” and states that it anticipates “no adverse impacts” to endangered wildlife or fisheries. Should a spill occur, it says, “no significant adverse impacts are expected” for the region’s beaches, wetlands and coastal nesting birds. The company, noting that such elements are “not required” as part of the application, contains no scenario for a potential blowout, and no site-specific plan to respond to a spill. Instead, it cites an Oil Spill Response Plan that it had prepared for the entire Gulf region. Among the sensitive species BP anticipates protecting in the semitropical Gulf? “Walruses” and other cold-water mammals, including sea otters and sea lions. The mistake appears to be the result of a sloppy cut-and-paste job from BP’s drilling plans for the Arctic. Even worse: Among the “primary equipment providers” for “rapid deployment of spill response resources,” BP inexplicably provides the Web address of a Japanese home-shopping network. Such glaring errors expose the 582-page response “plan” as nothing more than a paperwork exercise. “It was clear that nobody read it,” says Ruch, who represents government scientists.

[Update:] The company applied the same deadly cost-cutting mentality to its oil rig in the Gulf. BP, it is important to note, is less an oil company than a bank that finances oil exploration; unlike ExxonMobil, which owns most of the equipment it uses to drill, BP contracts out almost everything. That includes the Deepwater Horizon rig that it leased from a firm called Transocean. BP shaved $500,000 off its overhead by deploying a blowout preventer without a remote-control trigger – a fail-safe measure required in many countries but not mandated by MMS, thanks to intense industry lobbying. It opted to use cheap, single-walled piping for the well, and installed only six of the 21 cement spacers recommended by its contractor, Halliburton – decisions that significantly increased the risk of a severe explosion. It also skimped on critical testing that could have shown whether explosive gas was getting into the system as it was being cemented, and began removing mud that protected the well before it was sealed with cement plugs.

[Update:] Scientists were stunned that NOAA, an agency widely respected for its scientific integrity, appeared to have been co-opted by the White House spin machine. “NOAA has actively pushed back on every fact that has ever come out,” says one ocean scientist who works with the agency. “They’re denying until the facts are so overwhelming, they finally come out and issue an admittance.” Others are furious at the agency for criticizing the work of scientists studying the oil plumes rather than leading them. “Why they didn’t have vessels there right then and start to gather the scientific data on oil and what the impacts are to different organisms is inexcusable,” says a former government marine biologist. “They should have been right on top of that.” Only six weeks into the disaster did the agency finally deploy its own research vessel to investigate the plumes.[end update]

And these bureaucrats assigned to monitor the wells and prevent disasters like this are the same ilk now poised to take over your health care decisions for you. Government solutions are not all they are claimed to be. Read the whole article, it is disturbing and fascinating. H/T to Ed Morrissey, who rightfully notes the attempt to blame Bush for this fiasco falls way short, given all the key decisions and mistakes made on Obama’s watch.

Now to the right, and a devastating observation in the Wall Street Journal by Dorothy Rabinowitz:

The deepening notes of disenchantment with Barack Obama now issuing from commentators across the political spectrum were predictable. So, too, were the charges from some of the president’s earliest enthusiasts about his failure to reflect a powerful sense of urgency about the oil spill.

For it was clear from the first that this president—single-minded, ever-visible, confident in his program for a reformed America saved from darkness by his arrival—was wanting in certain qualities citizens have until now taken for granted in their presidents. Namely, a tone and presence that said: This is the Americans’ leader, a man of them, for them, the nation’s voice and champion. Mr. Obama wasn’t lacking in concern about the oil spill. What he lacked was that voice—and for good reason.

A great part of America now understands that this president’s sense of identification lies elsewhere, and is in profound ways unlike theirs. He is hard put to sound convincingly like the leader of the nation, because he is, at heart and by instinct, the voice mainly of his ideological class. He is the alien in the White House, a matter having nothing to do with delusions about his birthplace cherished by the demented fringe.

President Obama is losing all connection to Americans. He never had the right of course. But since taking office and ramming through a failed stimulus bill which is bankrupting us under $2.5 trillion dollars of new debt in 2 years and ramming through a liberal health care destruction act, the President lost the center of the nation. This fact is clearly indicated in the elections of NJ and VA governors in 2009 and the MA Senate sear held by the late Ted Kennedy in 2010. They were landslides due to mass migration of independents from Democrats.

Now, with the Gulf oil mess he has lost the far left! And don’t think he has the international community either. This Gulf oil disaster is going to challenge one of our longest held international partners – the UK. And they are not very impressed with President “Kick Ass” at the moment either:

Neither the executive branch of the U.S. government nor BP PLC can be proud of the way they have handled the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Barack Obama’s escalating tough talk against BP, in particular, is a weak political manoeuvre that only magnifies his administration’s inaction on the big questions that have arisen from the oil spill.

Things are going badly – oil is still gushing and washing ashore, birds are dying and an entire fishery and way of life is at risk – so the public is looking for someone to blame. In a television interview, Mr. Obama said he wanted to know “whose ass to kick” – better it be someone else’s than his own – and directed his foot at BP CEO Tony Hayward, saying he “wouldn’t be working for me.”

Mr. Obama’s rhetoric is unbecoming and ineffective. His apparent anger is rising in direct proportion to demands that he must appear angry. That Mr. Obama has yet to even pick up the phone to speak to Mr. Hayward shows the extent to which the comments are damage control, albeit not of an environmental kind.

We have not witnessed incompetence at this level in living memory. The inexperienced junior senator from Illinois is demonstrating why you cannot elect someone who spent their entire life avoiding executive responsibilities to an executive position. The country – from left through center to right – is increasingly aware something is horribly wrong. It is so bad even the  people of the UK can detect the problem from a continent away.

So what event can turn this growing tide of failure into a success? Nothing. There is absolutely nothing Obama and his young team of yahoos can do to change these results now. The best they can hope for is no other problems crop up for them to fail over. There is no success in their future this year. None.

Update: It seems BP and the US Government are now conspiring to hide the extent of the destruction:

A pilot wanted to take a photographer from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans to snap photographs of the oil slicks blackening the water. The response from a BP contractor who answered the phone late last month at the command center was swift and absolute: Permission denied.

To some critics of the response effort by BP and the government, instances of news media being kept at bay are just another example of a broader problem of officials’ filtering what images of the spill the public sees.

Scientists, too, have complained about the trickle of information that has emerged from BP and government sources. Three weeks passed, for instance, from the time the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20 and the first images of oil gushing from an underwater pipe were released by BP.

If this had been George W Bush the media would be screaming bloody murder. Hypocrites one and all.

Update: Can it be true the Obama administration TURNED DOWN resources to help clean up and contain the spill?

Three days after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, the Dutch government offered to help.

It was willing to provide ships outfitted with oil-skimming booms, and it proposed a plan for building sand barriers to protect sensitive marshlands.

The response from the Obama administration and BP, which are coordinating the cleanup: “The embassy got a nice letter from the administration that said, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’” said Geert Visser, consul general for the Netherlands in Houston.

Now, almost seven weeks later, as the oil spewing from the battered well spreads across the Gulf and soils pristine beaches and coastline, BP and our government have reconsidered.

Sadly yes it is true. Inexperience in all it glory.

31 responses so far

31 Responses to “The Verdict Is In – President Obama Is A Failure”

  1. kathie says:

    MSM is now blaming the perception that Obama has problems on “whiteman’s” racism. If you don’t like “ass kicking” as a phrase the President of the United States uses to describe his anger, you are a racists. MSM just can’t bear to think their man is totally incompetent.

    What a difference a “governor” makes! Obama could ride on Bobby Jindal’s coat tales and look good!

    Dorothy Rabinowitz was right on.

  2. ivehadit says:

    The response to the oil explosion and cleanup looks strikingly like Mayor Nagin’s response to a pending hurricane heading straight to a city that knows it takes 72 hours to evacuate due to it’s location. A city which had a hurricane plan in place. Response: Nothing! (remember the school busses parked…and under water)And one of Nagin’s answers to this was that he didn’t want any legal problems with a mandatory evacuation. MEmeMEmeMEmeMEme! Same with the oil disaster, imho. “What can we get away with so this won’t rub off on us and become our problem”…All flash, no substance whatsoever, imho.

    Imho, it’s hard to love a country in which you didn’t grow up…or were taught to hate/distrust.

    As an aside, I feel there are many here in America who don’t necessarily love America, they just hate what is happening in their own countries…using us to escape the despotism and tryanny of their homelands. A big issue, imho.

  3. dhunter says:

    We were warned and many of us were aware that this would be the result of electing an unaccomplished, affirmative action, do nothin for president.

    Unfortunately Pinnochio was sheilded from the uninquisitive masses by the mainstream media and John McCains’ sense of false honor.

    John McCain and the MSM were derelect in their duty to expose this fraud from day one and neither should be rewarded for their lack of honesty, integrity and perception of the human condition!

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Free To Prosper, AJ Strata. AJ Strata said: new: Verdict In – President Obama Is A Failure http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/13551 […]

  5. dbix says:

    It is refreshing to know that reality is sinking in for people other than conservatives. We knew he didn’t have the shoes for this job from the beginning.
    Someone put forth a theory that Obama would dump Biden and put Hillary on the ticket in 2012. If she has any political instincts she will resign after the midterm elections and get ready to run against Obama in 2012. He’s a loser.
    Your conclusion that the Obama team needs to hope that nothing worse befalls them for the rest of his term is funny. Even little things that come up now will be disasters for him. It is right about now that his spins on reality stop working, even in the liberal press. Without them buying his ridiculous “saving and creating jobs” explanations anymore, he will be finished.

  6. daniel ortega says:

    I hope you and WWS can read and comment,

    this article posits an ending to the Deepwater mess that is far far worse than anyone is admitting,

    here is the link:


  7. WWS says:

    Very good observations, AJ – more on that later. First, for Daniel:

    I don’t believe that writers fears are legitimate – that wellhead is about as open right now as it is going to get. I think the reason the rate was underestimated so far is that this has turned out, ironically, to have been one of the best reservoirs discovered in the gulf in many years. Pathetic that BP screwed it up so badly.

    But the relief well, provided that they can hit the original borehole (I think they will) will indeed work by pumping first heavy mud and then cement into the well. Why do we know that heavy mud can work? Because when they drilled into that formation the very first time, they were able to keep it under control then with a column of heavy drilling mud. Therefore the downhole pressure isn’t greater than that which can be handled, that’s been proven. It was only when they were foolishly ordered to replace the drilling mud (16 lb/gal) with seawater (approx 8.5 lb/gal) that they lost control.

    That’s what this disaster came down to – one incredibly idiotic order at the worst possible time, when all the backup systems had been unknowingly knocked offline by a series of incredibly sloppy and cheap procedures by everyone involved. Not too different from the reasons that Chernobyl melted down, for those who are familiar with that.

    As I said before, very good observations, AJ – what angers me so much is when I read the reports of how it came to this and I keep running across incredibly obvious mistakes that *any* experienced righand (forget education level) who worked back when I was working would have *known* not to make. As you point out with the shortcuts in the cement and casing design, I see BP taking chances that no one would ever *Dare* take on wells that had less than 1/100th of the downhole pressure that this one had! It’s hard to imagine the absolute incompetence that went into the design project – it truly is as if some officebound accountants had designed it and no one with actual safety experience was allowed to have any input at all into the process.

    (Hint: Safety is always Expensive in the short run – it only pays off in the long run. Is that honestly something BP never thought about before now????_

    And the shortcutting goes beyond BP – let me rant on something I noticed in the BOP stack. Back when I saw them on land rigs, every BOP stack I ever saw had big, seldom used but available, manual override screws coming out both sides. This meant that even if all hydraulics failed, they could be cranked closed by 2 guys with 36″ pipe wrenched. Dangerous and difficult, but possible.

    Apparently since this was designed to be used where humans couldn’t go (but robots still could) *ALL* of the true manual override features were cut out of this BOP design. The only override is a hydraulic port that lets a robot try to reactivate the main systems. But there is no way to manually close the valves with brute physical force, the way all BOP backup systems *were* designed until just a few years ago.

    But here’s what that means – all it takes is a single failure in the hydraulic control system – which apparently happened – and ALL activation systems, both primary and secondary, are disabled!!! That’s why even the remote activation system wouldn’t have worked. This supposed “Safety” system was designed so that the entire thing would become useless with a single hydraulic leak in a critical spot. And when will that leak appear? Why, whenever maximum pressure is applied in an emergency setting!!! By the way, Transocean *knew* these BOP’s wouldn’t stand up to a full pressure test, which is why they asked for, and recieved, approval to certify them with only a partial pressure test. Brilliant.

    It’s like all of the real Engineers have been put out to pasture and a bunch of clueless childrent have been allowed to play with the heavy equipment they should never have been allowed to touch! Well, as you point out that applies to our Government today as well.

  8. AJStrata says:

    Thanks WWS.

    I agree Daniel, the scenario is pretty far fetched.

  9. ivehadit says:

    And I want to know who the guy was on the other end of the phone call to BP on the rig at the time of the explosion, the one where the speaker said, “are you @#@&*@* happy now”, I told you so? Anybody hear more about this?

    And AJ, re: the Dutch booms, etc, according to a poster at Lucianne.com: “the retired president of Shell NA has been suggesting this since the first day of the problem. He has been on CNBC several times, and each time has said they should bring in super tankers with skimmers to suck it up.”

    We have been screaming about this for weeks-WHY was nothing done? Environmentalists? Analysis Paralysis? Political maneuvering to get a bill passed? Incompetence?

  10. Mike M. says:

    Inexperience my foot. This was deliberately covering for Obama’s cronies.

    BP was a big donor to Obama’s campaign, Rahm Emanuel lives rent-free in an apartment owned by a BP consultant…it isn’t much of a stretch to realize that BP was simply buying off the Obama Administration.

    And I find it ironic that the “eevill” Haliburton was recommending a much stronger and safer system.

    But the comment about BP basically being an investment firm is very, very interesting. In thirty years in military aviation, I’ve noted that the people who have solid engineering backgrounds are frequently shoved aside in favor of job-hopping managers who have NO idea what they are talking about.

    And cause disaster after disaster.

  11. Frogg1 says:

    AJ, there is another troubling article out there that pre-dates problems with the BP maintaining control of the well. I wonder if the limitations by the Federal regulators were problematic?

    BP Cited ‘Well Control Situation’ Six Weeks Before Blowout

    May 31 (Bloomberg) — BP Plc told regulators six weeks before its well in the Gulf of Mexico exploded that workers were having trouble maintaining control, according to e-mails released yesterday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee investigating the spill.

    “We are in the midst of a well control situation on MC 252 #001 and have stuck pipe,” Douglas wrote, referring to the subsea block, Mississippi Canyon 252, of the stricken well. “We are bringing out equipment to begin operations to sever the drillpipe, plugback the well and bypass.”

    The e-mails shows that as early as the second week of March, BP was enlisting help from J. Connor Consulting Inc., a Houston-based firm that advises some of the world’s biggest energy companies on how to respond to oil spills.

    Federal regulators gave BP permission to cement the well at a shallower depth than normally would have been required after the hole caved in on drilling equipment, the e-mails showed.

  12. Neo says:

    Apparently, it wasn’t just the Dutch. Norway and 11 other countries offered help.
    The excuse is that foreign ships are not permitted to do this type work in U.S. waters, due to the union protecting federal Jones Act. Oddly, after Katrina George Bush suspended the Jones Act to permit foreign vessels to aid in the recovery effort.

    For want of a union, we lost a Gulf.

    Barack Obama … EPIC FAIL

  13. WWS says:

    Frogg – those early problems you mentioned. I hate to say this, but that kind of thing happens a LOT more than you probably care to know.

    It happens to the point that on any deep well, it would just be considered a bit of bad luck, but nothing out of the ordinary. Which probably means that the industry has gotten way too comfortable living on the brink of disaster. You know I’m very pro-industry, but this accident has exposed some huge blindspots, and this is one of them.

    But where BP really screwed up with regard to this report is that this should have been a screaming red flag telling them to beef up their casing design and their cementing program. They did neither.

  14. oneal lane says:

    Having grown up and lived in South Louisiana most of my life, and at one time heavily involved in the offshore aviation industry, I have to say, the President’s call for a moratorium on offshore drilling and exploration will cause greater economic harm than the BP spill.

    His logic is totally flawed. It’s like saying’ well British Airways had a bad crash, so we are going to put a stop to all commercial airline development.

  15. garrettc says:

    Another issue that is not fully appreciated is the cost of these rigs. The oil industry is cannot afford to let 33 hightech rigs averaging $100 million be idled for six months. It is not economically feasible. Each one is morgtaged to the max and must be showing a profit. They are being towed off as we sit here to Brazil, Nigeria, you name it. Never to come back. There may be as much as a 6 year backlog in the crustruction time for new rigs.
    So President KickA$$ has just initiated unfanthomable economic decline for the region. How many direct jobs are lost for each of the 33 rigs, mostly from Louisiana? And indirect jobs, aviation support, food and medical? The impact goes on and on. The other two major industries, fishing and tourism are will not recover for decades.
    Utter devestation. This is what you get when you shoot from the hip.

  16. Terrye says:


    Why blame McCain? I knew what and who Obama was and anyone else who cared to know could have seen it, it was obvious. One of the reasons Republicans lose is that even when Democrats screw up they find a way to blame it on their own. This time that does not work. So, rather than blame McCain for not telling the American people what they already knew but did not want to admit, why not just vote for the opposition and save the circular firing squad for later?

  17. Terrye says:


    That is right, if they call this moratorium those jobs might well leave and not come back. After all, what are they going to learn in 6 months that they do not already know anyway?

  18. Terrye says:


    They still have not waived the Jones Act.

  19. WWS says:

    If I was China I would lease/buy some of these rigs as fast as I could and start drilling off of Cuba as quickly as possible. Almost certainly a lot of great stuff off towards Florida, the spots we’ve declared off limits.

    And you know what Obama would say if that happened?


    That’s what he would say!!!

  20. Wilbur Post says:

    Obama’s failure is reminiscent of the crash of the Hindenburg; a big overblown gasbag going down in flames. Unfortunately, it took numerous innocent souls with it.