I first raised the analogy a week ago. Then again earlier this week. Then I suggested the concept might be more appropriately described, per Donny Deutsch, as a “Sputnik moment.” Last night, Timothy Egan returned to Apollo 13 to again consider the underlying question: When, where, why, and how did we lose the ability to inspire, organize, and unleash the unflappable power of American ingenuity?
This line, early in the President’s remarks last Tuesday, went to the heart of the questions I’ve been asking off and on for three weeks now.
Because there has never been a leak this size at this depth, stopping it has tested the limits of human technology. That’s why just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge — a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s Secretary of Energy. Scientists at our national labs and experts from academia and other oil companies have also provided ideas and advice.
It might have been helpful to hear about such an effort much earlier in the process. Granted, hearing about it in April versus last week would not have a made any difference in the outcome. We’d still be where we are today. But just knowing that this team had been assembled could have gone a long way toward soothing a nation’s frazzled nerves, toward boosting our collective confidence that everything possible was being done.
Perhaps that information was communicated earlier and I missed it. If so, I was apparently not the only one.
Regardless, while I can’t say I was particularly inspired by the President’s remarks last week, he seemed to hit the right notes and I think reasonable people, including certain die-hard critics, will give him the benefit of the doubt going forward; a concession that can only be amplifed by incidents like Joe Barton’s two-step dance.