In today's world it is difficult, if not impossible, for many of us to know all the details of the issues facing the nation. We try to be informed, but at times we just have to rely on common sense - and there is nothing wrong with that. There is great merit in having the ability to make sound judgments.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, "I can never fear that things will go far wrong where common sense has fair play."
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another."
President Obama should keep the common sense quotation in mind, especially the words, "If it fails, admit it frankly." An increasing number of people, even those who voted for Obama, are disappointed in his continuing to campaign with an arrogance and ego suggesting he is infallible. There are a number of areas where the president has shown a lack of common sense or good judgment. The oil spill and the immigration problems are good examples of poor decision-making.
Following the April 20 explosion, 11 days passed before the president took any significant action concerning the nation's worst environmental disaster. Immediately after the explosion, more than 30 countries offered help. It was 69 days after the explosion before there was any indication we would accept the help of those nations. How's that for crisis management?
Tuesday, June 29, the State Department announced the United States is accepting help from 12 countries and international organizations. The Associated Press reported, "The State Department said in a statement Tuesday that the U.S. is working out the particulars of the help that's been accepted. ... The State Department hasn't indicated why some offers have been accepted and others have not."
Archie Thomas is a guest columnist.
BP has been beaten to a pulp about the oil disaster, but it has guaranteed to pay for all damages. Little or nothing has been said about the failure of the Minerals Management Service of the Department of Interior to do its job. The Minerals Management Service is completely in charge of issuing drilling permits, establishing safety rules and enforcing them. It was well known that BP had serious violations in 2001, 2004 and 2007. There had been scandals in the Minerals Management Service and Elizabeth Birnbaum was appointed as the Director of the Mineral Management Service.
One would think that the director of the Minerals Management Service would have a scientific background and some experience in being on the cutting-edge of science and be an expert in management techniques. Birnbaum had no experience whatsoever with the oil and gas industry. She has a law degree from Harvard and has served as a congressional aide and an attorney for the Department of Interior.
Birnbaum was fired and was replaced by Michael Bromwich. He, too, has a Harvard law degree and has experience as a federal prosecutor and former Department of Justice inspector. I have been unable to find whether he has any scientific background or experience with the oil industry.
I must be missing something, but this just doesn't make good common sense to me. We have some excellent technical schools, such at Cal Tech and MIT. It seems logical that such schools might be as fertile ground to find a director as the Harvard Law School.
The second problem concerns immigration. One of the major tasks of our federal government is to keep the nation safe from outside forces, especially from terrorists who have vowed to destroy the United States. What have we done to protect ourselves? Many U.S. citizens have had the experience of going through airport security. The total cost of keeping us safe in the air is $6,959,791,440 for fiscal year 2009 as administrated by the Transportation Security Administration. The Port Security Grant Program keeps our ports safe at a cost of $388,600,000 for fiscal year 2009. The total for both organizations is $7,348,391,440.
Does it make any sense to spend more than $7 billion to protect us from terrorists and allow our borders in the southwest to go unprotected? Does it make sense for President Obama to spend many days at fundraising events for Senator Barbara Boxer and the Democratic National Committee, but not a single day for visiting Arizona concerning our border problems.
We have a president who is commander in chief of words without action and appears far more interested in his political survival than in solving the nation's problems. President Obama has surrounded himself with advisors who are mainly interested in remaining in office, even though it is sending us on a spiraling journey into bankruptcy.
Mr. President, try to "frankly admit" you have made mistakes and seek to correct them.
Secretary Salazar advocates keeping a "boot on the neck of BP." Taxpayers would like to see the other boot placed on the fuel line of Air Force One. Mr. President, the country is hoping you will stay at your desk and get some work done - on time.