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Mickey Edwards
Political leader

Mickey Edwards

Former U.S. Congressman, Mickey Edwards is vice president of the Aspen Institute, where he directs the Institute's Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership.

Make this about our energy-crazy lifestyle

Q: President Obama finally meets this week with BP chief Tony Hayward on the Gulf oil spill. From a leadership perspective, which man has been the less effective in his handling of the crisis? What should he have done differently?

BP, with oversight by federal agencies, will continue to try to stem the leakage of oil into the Gulf and, hopefully, its executives will learn to talk less and focus more. But for all his walk-on-water acclaim, all the president can do is ensure that the federal agencies responsible for working the disaster are doing so with a singularity of purpose and drawing upon the best expertise available. Herbert Hoover was the last American president with a background in science, and he's long gone; Mr. Obama's skill sets are very impressive, but underwater drilling was not his major.

So where has the president fallen down on the job? By failing to use this episode for a larger purpose. Democrats have had great fun lampooning those who urged "drill, baby, drill," but the fact is that the desire for drilling is a direct result of our unbelievable demand for more and more energy -- to meet the needs of mansion owners (Al Gore and many of the Hollywood celebrities who support him come to mind) and the untold numbers of Americans (some of them quite critical of BP and the president) who drive around our cities in F-150s, Escalades, Silverados, etc., for their dangerous treks to the grocery store and shopping mall. We keep drilling because we cannot stop demanding more and bigger. Well, if a president has any ability to persuade, and this president certainly does, perhaps he should worry less about railing at BP and more about addressing the underlying problem.

By Mickey Edwards

 |  June 15, 2010; 2:21 AM ET
Category:  Crisis leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Absolutely 100 per cent correct.

The fall out from this will mean less drilling for oil in the US (the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf and California's response so far). The vilification of BP will have registered with other oil companies who will say "do we really want this to happen to us if something goes wrong so let's not bother" The net result will be shortages of oil in the US. When this happens you can blame the White House for poor leadership in not planning ahead.

Posted by: 11OAKHAM | June 15, 2010 9:12 AM
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