Mad - Get Even by Frank Rich
Obama can't even hear such words
Obama's excessive trust in his own heady team
is all too often matched by his inherent deference to
the smartest guys in the boardroom in the private
sector. His default assumption seems to be that his peers
are always as well-intentioned as he is. The
single biggest mistake he has made in managing the gulf disaster
was his failure to challenge BP's version of
events from the start. The company consistently understated the
spill's severity, overestimated the progress
of the repair operation and low-balled the environmental damage.
Yet the White Houseís designated point man in
the crisis, Adm. Thad Allen of the Coast Guard, was still
publicly reaffirming his trust in BP as recently
as two weeks ago, more than a month after the rig exploded.
In the last three years, according to the Center
for Public Integrity, BP accounted for "97 percent of all flagrant
violations found in the refining industry by
government safety inspectors" - including 760 citations for "egregious,
violations (compared with only eight at the two
oil companies that tied for second place). Hayward's predecessor at BP,
ousted in a sex-and-blackmail scandal in 2007,
had placed cost-cutting (and ever more obscene profits) over safety,
culminating in the BP Texas City refinery explosion
that killed 15 and injured 170 in 2005. Last October The Times
uncovered documents revealing that BP had still
failed to address hundreds of safety hazards at that refinery in
the four years after the explosion, prompting
the largest fine in the history of OSHA. (The fine, $87 million,
was no doubt regarded as petty cash by a company
whose profit reached nearly $17 billion last year.)
They told us Obama was from South Chicago, a really
tough place to grow up.
You'd think it would be almost impossible to be
naive and be from the hard streets,
but I think Frank Rich might have a point - Obama
is far too trusting - even after getting bitten.
He seems to still trust Boner and Mitch the Bitch,
even after they've done everything possible
to torpedo every good idea Obama has had.
What will it take for Obama to wake up?
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