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Monday, May 31, 2010

"Bush administration gave aggression a bad name, but sometimes it’s ok to be aggressive".

So a law professor, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, and an oil executive walk into a bar…Stop me if you’ve heard this one. It’s the story of President Obama, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and Big Oil.

On Friday, a host on CNBC and a senior White House official personally reminded me that President Obama consulted with numerous advisers before deciding on his response to the oil spill. These advisers included oil company executives, leaders of environmental agencies, and many scientists—including the Nobel laureate, Dr. Chu.

It was important to bring the environmental agencies to the table so that the White House could mitigate this ecological Chernobyl with a strong, coordinated effort.

It was smart to bring the Secretary of Energy to the table for political and regulatory reasons.

It was right to bring the oil companies to the table, too, because the U.S. government does not possess the oil-related equipment and expertise that countries like Venezuela and Brazil control within their nationalized deep-water oil industries.

But there was one person missing from this A-list of extraordinary advisors: Joe the Plumber. Where was the pragmatic, no-nonsense blue-blooded American who could look President Obama and Chu in the eye and tell them to stop over-thinking this underwater plumbing problem, and furthermore, not to trust BP? Would you send a lawyer and a physicist to fix your plumbing? And would you trust an oil company executive to give you a fair deal?

We should have demolished this well with explosives over a month ago. And yet we watch in excruciating suspense while BP fumbles through plan after plan to recover its oil and cover its asset.

The president has set up an independent commission for investigating the accident before the spill is even stopped. How can we be so far-sighted as to miss the obvious things right before us? Establishing a commission before stopping the spill is like calling an attorney to file a lawsuit the moment after being run over by a truck. (Continues here)

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