I've Got A Little List...There's more. Go read it here.
It seems everyone's reading "Avertible Catastrophe," the Financial Post's amazingly analysis of the BP oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico. As I read it, I started putting together a list of the identifiable errors and mistakes the Obama administration made. And as I made that list, I noticed that they had hit so many of the classic categories of blunders that it could almost serve as a textbook example of how NOT to do things.
1) The Perfect Is The Enemy Of The Good.
The Dutch government owns quite a few oil-skimming vessels that have tremendous capacity. They can suck up huge amounts of oil-laden water and remove most of the oil.
But the EPA won't let them work on this disaster. The Dutch ships don't meet US standards. According to those rules, water returned to the sea must be 99.9985% clean. The Dutch ships fall short of that metric, and don't have the capability to store and carry that water ashore for more thorough cleaning.
Let's say that the Dutch ships remove only 95% of the oil in the water. Isn't that still a hell of a lot better than nothing?
2) We Are The Smartest In The World.
Also known as the "NIH" syndrome -- "Not Invented Here." To acknowledge that others might have good ideas -- even, possibly, better ideas -- would be to acknowledge that the Obama administration does not have all the answers, and that others might have a good idea or two. And if those outsiders are part of the oil industry, that's even worse.
4) Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste.
There's a school of thought that every crisis is also an opportunity. Indeed, there's an old urban legend that the Chinese word for "crisis" is formed by combining the characters for "danger" and "opportunity."
The Obama administration has indeed seized on this crisis as an opportunity to push its own agenda. It's trying like hell to impose a ban on all offshore drilling in the Gulf, which will throw thousands and thousands out of work and seriously bone the US economy.
UPDATE: So just after posting this, I ran into this from AJ Strata in Stratsphere:
Incompetence Writ Large: Obama Puts Top Donor In Charge
Go read it, too. Be sure to follow the links.