Of course the President hasn’t any competence in deep water oil drilling, of for that matter in oil spill cleanup. Why should he? No one expected him, or the Federal Government, to know how to plug the hole. What we did expect is some competence in crisis management. At least we had a right to expect that.
We had a right to expect that the President would take this seriously, if not on the first day, at least in the first week. We had a right to expect him to assemble a team of experts to assess the threat and recommend actions. We had a right to expect a plan to plug the hole, and another plan to deal with the oil contamination.
Instead he throws in Stephen Chu, Nobel physicist, as if Chu, a brilliant man, would have any competence in plugging holes a mile under water, or cleaning up threatened marshes — or crisis management.
UPDATE: Mother Jones: Obama and the BP Spill: A Command Gap? “The problem isn’t that the president hasn’t displayed enough anger. He hasn’t shown that he’s in charge.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Frank Tipler on the limited utility of “brightness” in politicians and others. Brightness is an appealing trait in students, and one that is highly rewarded because it makes professors’ lives more pleasant. Any other benefits it provides are largely coincidental.