Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Miss me yet?"

For some reason I feel a need to run screaming down the street while tearing my hair out.
Federal regulators responsible for oversight of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico allowed industry officials several years ago to fill in their own inspection reports in pencil and then give them to the regulators, who later traced over them in pen before submitting the reports to the agency.
Wow.  This seems like a good time to reference Jonathan Bernstein's excellent post on presidential competence.  I understand that the post could be interpreted as a partisan slam on President Bush.  Really, it's not.  When assessing politicians, it's easy to just say that one is bad because she does things with which you disagree.  That's not what Bernstein is doing here.  Beyond issues of left/right, greater/lesser role of government, war/peace, etc., there are matters of basic competence.  The president, as Bush used to say, is the decider -- the question is how he is making those decisions.  By most accounts, it appears Bush had no interest in developing his own ability to analyze information and make informed decisions.  He went with his gut.  He deferred to advisors he liked.  The consequences were disastrous.

You may legitimately feel that petroleum producers are already over-regulated by the federal government.  I feel safe in saying that the appropriate remedy for that is not to have regulators let the companies write their own inspection reports.  But that's the sort of oversight you get from an executive branch that literally doesn't care.

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