The Second Version

24/06/10

No Leader in the White House

Following the development of the Macondo Oil Spill, I have seen more or less what I expected.

The Right blaming Obama for everything except causing the disaster itself (but conspiracy theories surface here and there) and for trying to exploit it for his ends; the Left hoping for Obama to rally the nation around renewable energy, maybe even accept the peak oil view, and spank the oil companies for being naughty.

About the first point.
I have no time for conspiracy theorists, so that aspect is dealt with here and now. Blaming Obama for this disaster is as stupid as blaming Bush for the hurricane Katrina. On the other hand, the administration's response is less than brilliant. Although, some details are open to discussion: because of the massive use of dispersants, not much oil can be separated or recovered with skimmers. So, even if propmptly accepted the vessels offered by other nations may not have made any noticeable difference. But it would be nice at least to hear a cogent explanation for the refusal.

About the second point.
Nah, just go and read any of the right-wing blogs in my sidebar: there will be plenty of left-bashing there. Better leave that to the professionals.

My own point, now.
Obama is no leader.
And one should look no further than his long record of voting "present" in the Senate. See, leaders offer a vision and a path to that destination. They lead with example and with taking a stand on important issues; during a crisis they act and wait before blaming one or the other.

Ronald Reagan was a leader; Bush managed to be in the day immediately after 9/11. Obama? He's the postmodern president: he deftly marketed the hope and change image but he has no substance to back it up.

Fianlly, a few words about Peak Oil. There is no doubt that sooner or later oil will end. And it is likely that production will go through a peak. I think that we will recognize the peak only when we are past it, tho. And the Macondo Disaster does not prove much (other than screwups in deepwater drilling have gigantic consequences): a single data point does not make a statistics.

What troubles me is the quasi-religious fervor of many Peak Oil supporters. For them, that is an all-encompassing explanation, a light to shine upon the unbelievers and redeem them. They are true believers, and Peak Oil is their belief.

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