It’s interesting that President Obama thought a hand’s on approach to the Gulf crisis was important enough for him to send Attorney General Eric Holder to the area for a tour, but he doesn’t think it is important enough for him to pick up the phone to talk with the CEO of BP.
Ironically, the existence or lack of same of evidence of criminal activity will not be affected by the presence in the Gulf of the Attorney General, who can hardly be expected to do the detail work involved in prosecutions in any case. Direct communication between the heads of the two biggest institutions involved in recovery — BP and the U.S. government — is another matter entirely. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has repeatedly expressed frustration with the federal bureaucracy’s slow response to his requests. Jindal and Obama have spoken by now. Are there ways the U.S. government could be working more effectively with BP? Maybe not, but the best way for Obama to be sure is to have the White House phone operators get BP CEO Tony Hayward on the phone. Or in the same room.
As a postscript, Robert Gibbs’ excuses for why the President is avoiding direct communication have become farce. On Wednesday, Gibbs claimed there was no point in such communication because Hayward is elected by a board of directors and boards of directors approve what corporations do. That’s like Hayward saying — which he didn’t — that he won’t talk to Obama because Obama can only execute the laws approved by Congress.
The President has now famously used a rude word to try to convince the public he actually cares about what’s happening in the Gulf beyond how it affects his poll numbers. It rings hollow when the man won’t pick up the phone.