Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Quick View At Sarah Palin's New Facebook Masterpiece

Sarah Palin released her newest message on Facebook yesterday, attacking the president and the administration over the handling of the oil crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.  In the note, Palin makes the argument that the president isn't doing enough and that he should look to her as an example of what to do.  I'm gonna break down her letter below.

50 days in, and we’ve just learned another shocking revelation concerning the Obama administration’s response to the Gulf oil spill. In an interview aired this morning, President Obama admitted that he hasn’t met with or spoken directly to BP’s CEO Tony Hayward. His reasoning: “Because my experience is, when you talk to a guy like a BP CEO, he’s gonna say all the right things to me. I’m not interested in words. I’m interested in actions.”

First, to the “informed and enlightened” mainstream media: in all the discussions you’ve had with the White House about the spill, did it not occur to you before today to ask how the CEO-to-CEO level discussions were progressing to remedy this tragedy? You never cease to amaze. (Kind of reminds us of the months on end when you never bothered to ask if the President was meeting with General McChrystal to talk about our strategy in Afghanistan.)
Palin, along with every other pundit from the right, are upset because the president admitted to not talking to BP's CEO Tony Hayward.  I agree that this does not look good, and I believe that Obama should have talked to the CEO, if only for a photo-op to get the conservative monkeys off his back.  That being said, I agree with Obama.  Even without talking to the CEO, BP has been underplaying this whole disaster.  Talking to Hayward wouldn't have amde a difference.  He would have told the president that the leak wasn't that bad and they will have it under control real soon.  Don't forget - BP is a publicly traded company and Hayward has to answer to his shareholders so he is definitely not going to crawl to the American president and tell him things are looking bad.

The second paragraph is also interesting.  Palin attacks the "mainstream media" for not questioning the president on the "CEO-to-CEO level discussions," but Palin forgets that she is a paid employee of Fox News, and not once did she or her coworkers adress that concern, so it would seem that Palin would fall into her own criticisms of the media.  Hindsight is 20/20, you know.

Palin also references General McChrystal.  It is funny that she would reference him in a CEO-to-CEO complaint when referring to the military, because things work a little differently.  In the military, there is a chain of command, and McChrystal opted to air is opinions publicly, outside of the chain, instead of privately and through the right people.
Second, to fellow baffled Americans: this revelation is further proof that it bodes well to have some sort of executive experience before occupying the Oval Office (as if the painfully slow response to the oil spill, confusion of duties, finger-pointing, lack of preparedness, and inability to grant local government simple requests weren’t proof enough). The current administration may be unaware that it’s the President’s duty, meeting on a CEO-to-CEO level with Hayward, to verify what BP reports. In an interview a few weeks ago with Greta Van Susteren, I noted that based on my experience working with oil execs as an oil regulator and then as a Governor, you must verify what the oil companies claim – because their perception of circumstances and situations dealing with public resources and public trust is not necessarily shared by those who own America’s public resources and trust. I was about run out of town in Alaska for what critics decried at the time as my “playing hardball with Big Oil,” and those same adversaries (both shortsighted Repubs and Dems) continue to this day to try to discredit my administration’s efforts in holding Big Oil accountable to operate ethically and responsibly.
Palin now attacks the Obama's pre-presidency experience.  She gives as proof of Obama's unpreparedness an allegedly slow response to the oil spill, confusion of duties, finger-pointing, lack of preparedness, and the unwillingness to allow state governors to do whatever they want.  I guess Palin wasn't aware that the administration was there the day of the explosion and has been working closely with BP.  I'm not sure what she is talking about when she says confusion of duties, and as for finger-pointing, I guess she would rather let BP off the hook then try and find what went wrong, and unfortunately, pointing fingers at the Mineral Management Service was too close to pointing fingers at the previous Republican administration that appointed all these people responsible.  Her last point is just ridiculous - allowing local governments to do whatever they want, ignoring the consequences and impacts their actions may have.  We have a federal government for a reason, and maybe Palin and her secessionist Alaskan friends think otherwise, but there is a way of getting things done, and flying off the handle because of a disaster is not going to do anyone any good.

Palin also references her experience with oil.  She likes to tout her executive experience - you know, her job as governor that she quit halfway through so she can make Facebook posts? 
Mr. President: with all due respect, you have to get involved, sir. The priorities and timeline of an oil company are not the same as the public’s. You cannot outsource the cleanup and the responsibility and the trust to BP and expect that the legitimate interests of Americans adversely affected by this spill will somehow be met.
This advice coming from the woman who wanted to be vice-president who refuses to give interviews to anyone but her conservative friends.  It's easy to think you are a taken seriously when you only consult those in your self defined circles.
White House: have you read this morning’s Washington Post? Not to pile it on BP, but there’s an extensive report chronicling the company’s troubling history:

“BP has had more high-profile accidents than any other company in recent years. And now, with the disaster in the gulf, independent experts say the pervasiveness of the company’s problems, in multiple locales and different types of facilities, is striking.

‘They are a recurring environmental criminal and they do not follow U.S. health safety and environmental policy,’ said Jeanne Pascal, a former EPA lawyer who led its BP investigations.”
This I thought was interesting.  Now Palin is anti-BP, but before all this, Palin blamed extreme environmentalists and tried to claim she never promoted offshore drilling, despite video showing her specifically mention expanding offshore drilling to crowds during her unsuccessful bid for the vice-presidency in 2008.  Palin is trying to please everyone and now that public opinion polls are increasingly unfavorable for BP, Palin had to jump o the bandwagon.
And yet just 10 days prior to the explosion, the Obama administration’s regulators gave the oil rig a pass, and last year the Obama administration granted BP a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) exemption for its drilling operation.
I think she means the holdovers from the Bush administration gave the oil rig a pass, and she is complaining that the president gave BP a pass for drilling?  Isn't that what she meant by "drill baby, drill?"  And she is complaining about a NEPA exemption yet she wants to drill in environmentally sensitive regions in Alaska?
These decisions and the resulting spill have shaken the public’s confidence in the ability to safely drill. Unless government appropriately regulates oil developments and holds oil executives accountable, the public will not trust them to drill, baby, drill. And we must! Or we will be even more beholden to, and controlled by, dangerous foreign regimes that supply much of our energy. This has been a constant refrain from me. As Governor of Alaska, I did everything in my power to hold oil companies accountable in order to prove to the federal government and to the nation that Alaska could be trusted to further develop energy rich land like ANWR and NPR-A. I hired conscientious Democrats and Republicans (because this sure shouldn’t be a partisan issue) to provide me with the best advice on how we could deal with what was a corrupt system of some lawmakers and administrators who were hesitant to play hardball with some in the oil field business. (Remember the Alaska lawmakers, public decision-makers, and business executives who ended up going to jail as a result of the FBI’s investigations of oily corruption.)
Wait a second.  Now she is calling for increased regulation?  And there is another reference to her half-term served as governor!
As the aforementioned article notes, BP’s operation in Alaska would hurt our state and waste public resources if allowed to continue. That’s why my administration created the Petroleum Systems Integrity Office (PSIO) when we saw proof of improper maintenance of oil infrastructure in our state. We had to verify. And that’s why we instituted new oversight and held BP and other oil companies financially accountable for poor maintenance practices. We knew we could partner with them to develop resources without pussyfooting around with them. As a CEO, it was my job to look out for the interests of Alaskans with the same intensity and action as the oil company CEOs looked out for the interests of their shareholders.
Now Palin is criticizing BP in her home state - criticizing her husband's former employer.  She now admits to expanding government.  What ever happened to the limited government philosophy Palin espoused?  Palin makes another comparison to herself being a CEO, stating that she was responsible to look out for Alaskan interests.  She fails to mention that oil makes up roughly 85% of the Alaskan budget and every Alaskan gets a dividend check from the resources collected, so politically, Palin had to make sure that the money from the socialized resouces never stopped or she would never get elected, although we know now that Palin was a quitter.
I learned firsthand the way these companies operate when I served as chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC). I ended up resigning in protest because my bosses (the Governor and his chief of staff at the time) wouldn’t support efforts to clean up the corruption involving improper conflicts of interest with energy companies that the state was supposed to be watching. (I wrote about this valuable learning experience in my book, “Going Rogue”.) I felt guilty taking home a big paycheck while being reduced to sitting on my thumbs – essentially rendered ineffective as a supervisor of a regulatory agency in charge of nearly 20% of the U.S. domestic supply of energy.
Interesting.  In 2004, Palin gave a statement that a reason she was leaving was because of the controversy surrounding the former AOGCC commissioner, not because she felt unsupported.  I guess it wasn't politically advantageous to blame the governor, but now that everything is said and done, Palin could do some finger-pointing.
My experience (though, granted, I got the message loud and clear during the campaign that my executive experience managing the fastest growing community in the state, and then running the largest state in the union, was nothing compared to the experiences of a community organizer) showed me how government officials and oil execs could scratch each others’ backs to the detriment of the public, and it made me ill. I ran for Governor to fight such practices. So, as a former chief executive, I humbly offer this advice to the President: you must verify. That means you must meet with Hayward. Demand answers.
Palin attacks the president for being a community organizer, but he didn't quit halfway through, and apparently more than enough Americans thought he was qualified for the office of the President of the United States.  Palin makes all these complaints against the president but she hasn't reached out to the president to offer her expertise.  Instead, she runs to Facebook or to Fox News to cry about how bad a job Obama is doing.
In the interview today, the President said: “I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick.”

Please, sir, for the sake of the Gulf residents, reach out to experts who have experience holding oil companies accountable. I suggested a few weeks ago that you start with Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources, led by Commissioner Tom Irwin. Having worked with Tom and his DNR and AGIA team led by Marty Rutherford, I can vouch for their integrity and expertise in dealing with Big Oil and overseeing its developments. We’ve all lived and worked through the Exxon-Valdez spill. They can help you. Give them a call. Or, what the heck, give me a call.
Considering Palin's track record of abusing power, I don't think Palin vouching for one's integrity is a good thing.
And, finally, Mr. President, please do not punish the American public with any new energy tax in response to this tragedy. Just because BP and federal regulators screwed up that doesn’t mean the rest of us should get punished with higher taxes at the pump and attached to everything petroleum products touch.
It wouldn't be a real conservative attack without the threat of new taxes.

Basically, Palin's letter is just a bunch of nonsense.  Palin tries to play to every side of the issue, trying to make herself look like some qualified expert on oil disasters.  If executive experience is what is needed to get the job done, then what was Presiden't Bush's excuse during Hurricane Katrina?

Palin needs to get in touch with reality.


  1. You went over to my site, found Sarah's article posted on the main page, and didn't even bother to thank me for the offering. Shame on you, Kevin. Do you think I don't have your IP address and time of arrival onto my blog? No biggy but if the tables were reversed, you would be writing another silly "Smithson is at it again" article. You are such a heavy weight hypocrite. lol.

  2. Believe it or not, there are other places on the internet that mention Sarah Palin.

    I believe I was on Media Matters when I noticed something about Palin's newest Facebook rant. I then visited Palin's page.

    And don't worry. I'll have another "Smithson is at it again" article within the next 24 hours...


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