Originally published on BuzzFlash
SteSteven Jonas, MD, MPH
With his usual magnificent rhetoric, Frank Rich, Op-Ed columnist extraordinaire of The New York Times, recently laid out a grand agenda for President Obama and his administration, in order to deal with the mass disaster left behind for our nation by eight years of Bush-Cheney. Frank said, in part:
"[T]he debate over how to raise the president's emotional thermostat is not an entirely innocuous distraction. It allows Obama to duck the more serious doubts about his leadership that have resurfaced along with BP's oil. Unlike his unflappable temperament, his lingering failings should and could be corrected. . . . The plugging of an uncontrollable oil leak, like the pacification of an intractable Afghanistan, may be beyond the reach of marathon brainstorming by brainiacs, even if the energy secretary is a Nobel laureate. Obama has yet to find a sensible middle course between blind faith in his own Ivy League kind and his predecessor's go-with-the-gut bravado. By now, he also should have learned that the best and the brightest can get it wrong -- and do. . . . No high-powered White House meetings or risk analyses were needed to discern how treacherous it was to trust BP this time. An intern could have figured it out.
"But the credulous attitude toward BP is no anomaly for the administration. . . . BP's recklessness is just the latest variation on a story we know by heart. The company's heedless disregard of risk and lack of safeguards at Deepwater Horizon are all too reminiscent of the failures at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and A.I.G., where the richly rewarded top executives often didn't even understand the toxic financial products that would pollute and nearly topple the nation's economy. . . . If Obama is to have a truly transformative presidency, there could be no better catalyst than oil. . . . This all adds up to a Teddy Roosevelt pivot-point for Obama, who shares many of that president's moral and intellectual convictions. . . . If he is to wield the big stick of reform against BP and the other powerful interests that have ripped us off, he will have to tell the big story with no holds barred. That doesn't require a temper tantrum. Nor does it require him to plug the damn hole, which he can't do anyway. What he does have the power to fix is his presidency. Should he do so, and soon, he'll still have a real chance to mend a broken country as well."
Frankly, Frank, nice thoughts.
Certainly, if such changes in direction were to be made, there might be some measurable possibility that our nation might be able to make its way out of the multi-level mess in which it finds itself, both at home and abroad. And we faced the bulk of this mess even before the occurrence of the BP Gusher Disaster (which may be on its way to being the BP Gusher Uber-Disaster, if the projections of a possible giga-ton methane explosion and resulting supersonic-speed tsunami are correct).
But --- it ain't gonna happen, Frank.