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March 14, 2009

More Failure to Lead from Obama

The President and the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, are catching flak for upholding an eleventh hour Bush Administration rule which took gray wolves off the endangered species list in the northern Rockies.

There are some interesting things about the article. First, a Democrat Congresscritter (alas, unnamed) bemoaning the failure to politicize science:

"Making the decision to adopt the Bush administration's flawed delisting proposal the same week that the president pledged his commitment to the Endangered Species Act certainly calls into question whether the Interior Department was coordinating as closely as one would expect to have done with the White House," said Bob Irvin, senior vice president for conservation programs at the advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife. "This was a controversy that did not need to happen."

One House Democrat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, framed it in even more blunt political terms. "I just don't see what this does for us," the lawmaker said. "Here we are alienating people who did the most -- who did a lot to help us in the last election."

And so he or she confirms what we already know. There is no desire to get the politics out of science. That's just a phrase used to bludgeon whichever opponent can be made to look most "unscientific." On creationism in schools or stem cell policies, that would be the Right. On the Endangered Species Act, that is most definitely the Left. Increasingly, global warming is coming to be seen as an "unscientific" belief, something that warms me right down to my fossil-fuel burning core.

The article also lists two of Obama's most recent failures to lead, suggesting that Salazar's delisting of the wolves is another such failure:

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former House member from Illinois, veered off message last month when he suggested that the administration might tax motorists for every mile they drive. The White House made clear that the idea was not under consideration.

And Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a former senator from New York, clarified the administration's commitment to human rights this week after stating earlier that such concerns "can't interfere" with issues on which the United States needs Chinese cooperation.

Of course, this is just a continuation of what went on during Obama's candidacy and during the transition. He fails to communicate a coherent policy or strategy to his subordinates, they go off and craft their own, then get smacked down when Obama (and his handler, Emanuel) finally gets around to noticing.

Don't get me wrong. I'm just fine with Salazar's decision to delist the wolves. And I'm downright tickled that environmental groups are threatening to sue "their president" over it. But the disconnect between what Obama says and what actually happens is all too noticeable and that's a danger for us all.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 03:46 PM

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