Wasted Barrels: Oil doesn’t stop gushing because President Obama takes a break

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Wasted Barrels are a new measure that The Daily Caller is going to follow from here on during the Gulf spill crisis. Wasted Barrels are barrels of oil that have spilled into the Gulf during the numerous hours of recreational or political activities our president has undertaken since the leak first started. We don’t want to be unfair. The president needs time for rest and relaxation just like anyone else, but President Obama’s actions since this crisis began do not reflect the words that he now espouses. As set forth below, approximately 187,500 barrels of oil, or 7,875,00 gallons, have spilled into the Gulf during the hours that our president has spent recreating. That seems more than a little bit excessive.

At his May 27 press conference to discuss the oil spill in the Gulf, President Obama said that he has been in charge from the start and that “we understood from day one the potential enormity of this crisis and acted accordingly.” Even with every effort to give the President the benefit of the doubt, it’s hard to square these words with the reality of what we have seen.

To give just one example, in the 60 odd days of the crisis the president is only now getting around to speaking with the leaders of BP. Wouldn’t that have been one of the first steps a leader would have taken? There are only two outfits in a position to help the people of the Gulf coast push through this horrible emergency: BP and the federal government.

The absence of communication between the relevant governmental and private officials raises some important questions about the president’s conduct since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20:

  • Aren’t there messages the President should have delivered to the private and public sectors?
  • Wouldn’t there need to be some coordination of relief efforts?
  • Shouldn’t the President have used such a meeting to make clear to BP’s leadership that they must take every possible measure to stop the leak and assure them he would personally cut through red tape impeding that objective?
  • Shouldn’t the President have used such a meeting to find out if BP could use assistance from other countries or companies — then used his office to make sure that happened immediately?
  • Shouldn’t the President have at least used such a meeting to ensure that BP start giving an accurate account of the size of the spill – especially since we now know that the Coast Guard knew BP’s initial spill estimate was probably shockingly low?

The president’s failure to take even these basic steps is exacerbated by the way chose to spend his time in the weeks following the explosion. If, in fact, the president was really in charge and aware of the enormity of the crisis from the start, then his actions during this period make little sense.

To understand the wasted barrel measure, place yourself in the President’s shoes.

If you faced the greatest crisis of your career – an emergency that would likely eclipse any other you would face at work, what would you do? Is that the time you would choose to go on multiple vacations? To see concerts every couple of nights? Go golfing every couple of days?

Set forth below is how our president – the one who claims to have been in charge and aware of the enormity of the crisis from the start – has spent much of his time since the leak. Next to each recreational or political activity is the number of barrels lost during that time. Economists talk about “opportunity cost” as the value of something that must be given up to acquire or achieve something else. In this case, the opportunity cost of a President who seems less than engaged are all the barrels that flow while he’s not working to stop the spill.

Wasted Barrels Since the April 20 Explosion

Date Activity Time Spent Barrels Wasted
April 22 Earth Day reception 2 hours 2,500 Barrels
April 23 North Carolina vacation 2 days 60,000 Barrels
April 26 Golf at Andrew’s Air Force Base 5 hours 6,250 Barrels
April 26 Host the New York Yankees at the White House 2 hours 2,500 Barrels
April 27 Rhubarb pie in Iowa 1 hour 1,250 Barrels
April 29 DNC fundraising dinner 3 hours 3,750 Barrels
April 30 Meeting with Bono 2 hours 2,500 Barrels
May 1 White House Correspondents Dinner 4 hours 5,000 Barrels
May 3 Host Navy football team at the White House 1 hour 1,250 Barrels
May 3 Dinner with CEO’s (except BP of course) 3 hours 3,750 Barrels
May 5 Cinco de Mayo Party 2 hours 2,500 Barrels
May 6 Date Night 2 hours 2,500 Barrels
May 8 Golf at Fort Belvoir 5 hours 6,250 Barrels
May 9 Hampton University Commencement 3 hours 3,750 Barrels
May 11 Golf Lunch with VP Biden 1 hour 1,250 Barrels
May 13 Stop for hot wings in Buffalo 1 hour 1,250 Barrels
May 17 Host the UCONN women’s basketball team at the White House 1 hour 1,250 Barrels
May 25 Fundraiser for Senator Barbara Boxer 2 hours 2,500 Barrels
May 26 Host Duke Basketball and US Men’s soccer at the White House 2 hours 2,500 Barrels
May 29 Vacation over Memorial Day weekend 2 days 60,000 Barrels
June 2 Paul McCartney concert and award 3 hours 3,750 Barrels
June 7 Kalamazoo Central High School Commencement 1 hour 1,250 Barrels
June 8 White House picnic 2 hours 2,500 Barrels
June 11 Date Night to a play 2 hours 2,500 Barrels
June 13 Golf at Andrews Air Force Base 4 hours 5,000 Barrels

All times are estimates – we used an estimated flow of 30,000 barrels/day – please send any corrections and any Wasted Barrels we have missed to

Neil Patel is the publisher of The Daily Caller