It's pretty clear at this point to all except the most partisan that the Obama administration is failing on almost all levels, the lackluster response to the Gulf oil spill being just the latest failure. President Obama is in over his head, his advisors appear unequipped and disengaged, and there's no evidence to suggest that anything is going to get any better anytime soon.
During the presidential campaign, much was made of President Obama's lack of executive experience, lack of experience in the private sector and somewhat questionable views on the role of the federal government. Yet 52 percent of Americans thought such things weren't important. The liberal media told us such things weren't important. We now know otherwise. Unfortunately, a career as a community organizer with a short stint as a senator doesn't prepare someone to lead a nation. Organizing 13 people on a street corner is not the same thing as organizing an international response to an environmental disaster. Reading about private companies in the newspaper, or organizing protests against private companies, is not the same thing as leading or working in a private company, and it doesn't give a person the same insight into what makes the private sector click. Clearly, the private sector is not now clicking.
On the economic front, the news is bad. May retail sales numbers just released indicate a drop of 1.2 percent, an eight month low, adding yet more evidence that the outrageously expensive Obama/Reid/Pelosi stimulus package has been a dismal failure, adding nothing but mountains of debt to the financial picture. The latest jobs report shows that a scant 41,000 private sector jobs were added in May, a rate at which it will take 30 years to find jobs for America's 15 million unemployed. As bad as the private sector economic outlook is, it may get even worse. The Obama administration along with radical Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, is targeting job-killing cap and trade legislation this week and has already imposed a moratorium on off-shore drilling that's going to decimate the Southern coastal economy. Hence, two more blows to businesses already struggling to overcome misguided health care mandates and other corporate tax increases already imposed by the new administration.
New reports show that the extent of the Gulf oil spill, by far the worst environmental disaster in American history, is even worse than first imagined. The amount of oil spilled may be as high as 100 million gallons, some of which has already invaded Gulf Coast marshlands. Things would certainly have better if the administration had gone into action immediately following the spill, instead of going into "blame BP" mode for a month. While it's clearly BP's fault and responsibility to stop the spill, the Obama administration failed miserably in organizing containment and clean-up efforts. In what can best be termed a stunning failure of leadership, the administration failed to use all of the federal resources available, failed to remove the regulatory burdens that would have permitted international assistance and stood in the way of Gulf Coast border state governors who themselves were rebuffed in their efforts to take clear, concise action to keep the oil off the shore and away from the marshes.
As every Marylander knows, when the Rockfish are too numerous, the crab population suffers. Likewise, when the federal government is too powerful and too overreaching, private industry suffers. Despite the multitude of warnings we were handed down from our ingenious founding fathers regarding the importance of limited government, we appear to have reached the point of no possible near-term turnaround. Many CEOs appear content to sit on their hands, not hire anyone, and wait out the end of this administration.
When Ronald Reagan took the helm of the presidency, he used to say that it was "morning in America." Americans had the sense that things were looking up and were only going to get better with the new man in charge.
Today, the ranks of the unemployed swell, the shrinking middle class is struggling to pay everyone else's bills, children are being born with a mountain of debt on their heads, the earth is spewing 30,000 barrels of black death into the Gulf each day, CEOs are sitting in their country clubs not hiring because they feel under attack by the federal government, and distracted politicians are jet-setting around the country trying to keep the jobs they've failed so miserably at.
Millions of Americans feel that it's midnight in America, the electricity is out, there's oil running down the street, everyone is broke, the terrorist's are trying to kill us, illegal immigrants are flooding across the border through neighborhoods of foreclosed houses and nobody is in charge.
Of course, there's always a silver lining. Americans for generations will consider this a teachable moment in politics. Executive experience and private industry knowledge must be key considerations for any candidate for the White House, as must a pragmatic understanding of the role of the government. Good speeches don't create jobs, good looks aren't a replacement for good experience, and well-worded teleprompters aren't a substitute for real knowledge. American voters will certainly take this teachable moment to the polls for years to come, and our nation will survive and grow stronger as it always does.
Michael P. DeCicco, Severn