Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sarah Palin & Fran Townsend: Republican Strong Women Not Supremely Competent

Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is marketed as an energy expert. Another supremely competent Republican supermom, Frances Townsend, knows risk management "inside and out".

How would you feel if an energy wonk missed the size of the Exxon Valdez spill by 10.79 million gallons? Would you be disappointed if a risk manager failed to mention the hospital with the largest patient death toll after a record hurricane? Sarah and Fran did just that.

Sarah Palin cited the 11,000 gallons of fuel emptied into Prince William Sound by the Exxon Valdez in her CSPAN-Washington Journal interview. The Valdez spilled 10.8 million gallons of crude, covering 11,000 square miles of ocean. Frances Townsend omitted any mention of LifeCare Hospital and its 24 patient deaths post Katrina. Why would these supremely competent women minimize or outright omit key information?

Palin's is a proponent for more domestic drilling. It helps to gloss over major human misadventures in finding and moving oil. Her characterization of the Valdez spill as 11,000 gallons calls into question her ANWR footprint estimation of 2,000 acres. If Sarah is way off on the Valdez spill size, why would her ANWR drilling estimate be accurate?

When Katrina struck, Townsend worked just blocks up Pennsylvania Avenue from LifeCare's owner, The Carlyle Group. The politically connected private equity underwriter specializes in buying companies, later selling them for a profit. The last decade Uncle Sam has been a major customer for numerous Carlyle affiliates.

I can see LifeCare's risk manager wanting the federal Lessons Learned report to be silent on their patient deaths. I'm confused as to why Fran and the Bush White House felt likewise. No one answered my queries as to why Fran made this basic risk management error. Supermoms making super mistakes, or covering for their super friends?

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