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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Analysis of the President’s Oval Office Address on the Gulf Oil Spill

Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Obama’s Address - Last night, President Obama spoke to the nation about the Gulf oil leak in his first Oval Office address. It was an appropriate setting given the seriousness of the situation. The speech, however, sounded familiar in many ways and fell far short of expectations. Here’s my analysis of the president’s address.
  • Consider this line: “Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries that should be right here in America.”

    Holding China up as an example of “clean energy” is ludicrous. In recent years, China has been bringing a new coal plant online every 10 days. They are buying oil fields all over the world. China is a serious country. The Chinese know they will need carbon based fuels for decades and decades to come to fuel their booming economy. By the way, some of those “clean energy jobs” in China that should be “right here in America” were funded with your tax dollars thanks to Mr. Obama’s stimulus bill.
  • Throughout the whole speech there was not one mention of the things most likely to help us move away from oil – nuclear power and natural gas. Converting the trucking fleet to natural gas alone would be a huge savings in the amount of oil we use. But natural gas doesn’t make the hearts of leftwing ideologues beat faster because you still have to drill for it.
  • Last night, President Obama had the audacity to make this outrageous statement: “We consume more than 20 percent of the world’s oil, but have less than 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.  And that’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean -- because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.”

    We’re running out of places to drill because leftwing politicians like Obama keep putting more and more places off limits! Oil companies really don’t want to do deepwater drilling – it’s expensive and complicated. But one of the first things this administration did within days of taking office was to cancel domestic drilling leases.

    Does anyone think it wouldn’t be better to drill in Alaska, where if a major spill happens it could be more easily contained and where we would be dealing with caribou rather than the lives of millions of citizens on the Gulf Coast? (I’ll be hearing from the PETA folks for that one.)

    As for our supposed lack of reserves, read this 2008 column. The billions of dollars we are sending overseas for oil is completely unnecessary.
  • The one solution the president did offer, cap and trade, is incredibly divisive. He can’t get it through the Senate, even with a Democrat supermajority, because many members of his own party are against it.

    I have to remind you one more time of exactly what cap and trade is: “a great big tax,” “a huge and a regressive tax,” that may lead to $7.00 a gallon gasoline, higher food prices and, in Obama’s own words, skyrocketing utility rates.

    So here we are in the middle of a national emergency and the president decides to push an extremely controversial agenda. Another Washington power grab and a massive, job-killing energy tax won’t “plug the damn hole.”
  • The president spoke of America’s determination to put a man on the moon. I think Obama is the last person to be using “man on the moon” analogies. Because of decisions he’s made, NASA won’t even be able to put a man in low earth orbit next year.
  • The president made this statement: “One place we’ve already begun to take action is at the agency in charge of regulating drilling and issuing permits, known as the Minerals Management Service.  Over the last decade, this agency has become emblematic of a failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility… When Ken Salazar became my Secretary of the Interior, one of his very first acts was to clean up the worst of the corruption at this agency.” He announced the appointment of new leadership at MMS.

    Here are the facts: On May 27th it was widely reported that Elizabeth Birnbaum, director of the Minerals Management Service, was fired. Was she a Bush holdover who had lobbied for Big Oil prior to her appointment? Not at all. Birnbaum is a Harvard educated lawyer who has worked for major environmental groups, Democrat congressional committees and for the Clinton Interior Department. Birnbaum was handpicked by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in June 2009 to be MMS Director. She wasn’t part of the “decade of corruption” that supposedly occurred during the Bush Administration. But Obama just couldn’t help himself from trying to score cheap political points.
The Same Old Script - In short, Obama’s Oval Office address wasn’t much more than his usual stump speech – the same script he reads from when he’s on the campaign trail. There were no answers, just blame. He blamed BP. Sure, BP deserves blame, but now what? He blamed Bush. But Obama’s guys have been running the government for 18 months. He is in charge of the executive branch. Where is the change he promised? Exactly why was Ken Salazar’s handpicked MMS director fired?

He left unanswered the questions being asked all over the Gulf. Where is FEMA? Why wasn’t more oil immediately burned off? Why did it take so long to approve the berms? Why did we turn down ships and other offers of help from our allies? If alternative energy is so important, why didn’t more of the trillion-dollar stimulus bill go toward that and more infrastructure, rather than political payoffs? Where is the presidential leadership?

What would real leadership look like? The former head of General Electric Jack Welch said this morning that when something gets screwed up in a corporation, the CEO does not start by forming commissions and holding inquiries about who is to blame. First they ask, “How do we clean up this mess?” Then they ask who was responsible.

Welch said the first thing Obama should have done was hold a White House meeting with every major oil company and say, “We have a disaster on our hands. Set up shop across the street at the Blair House now and bring in your top people. You’ve got a blank check to solve this problem. We’ll go after whoever caused this later.”

But Obama didn’t do that. In spite of claims that he was “in charge from day one,” he seemed detached, if not uninterested. Instead of going to the Gulf Coast, he frequently went to the golf course. BP was calling the shots. Even now, terrified of being tarred with “Obama’s Katrina,” he seems more interested in deflecting responsibility, creating more commissions and appointing more czars.

I’m Not Alone - I’m sure I’ll hear from a few folks who feel I’m being overly critical. I’m not alone in my assessment. The president’s address has been roundly thrashed today – even by many of his supporters on the Left.

Consider this from today’s New York Times editorial: “We know that the country is eager for reassurance. We’re not sure the American people got it from a speech that was short on specifics and devoid of self-criticism. …[Obama] was less than frank about his administration’s faltering efforts to manage this vast environmental and human disaster.” There’s more.
  • From the Los Angeles Times: “Obama’s speech: There’s a pipe spewing a gazillion gobs of oil into the gulf, so let’s build more windmills.”
  • Liberal economist Robert Reich: “The man who electrified the nation with his speech at the Democratic National Convention of 2004 put it to sleep tonight. President Obama’s address …was, to be frank, vapid. If you watched with the sound off you might have thought he was giving a lecture on the history of the Interstate Highway System. …With the sound on, his words hung in the air with all the force of a fundraiser for your local public access TV station.”
  • From Politico: “President Barack Obama’s Oval Office address on the Gulf Coast catastrophe is being greeted with a barrage of criticism from commentators and political analysts across the ideological spectrum—the most intense negative reaction to any major public appearance he has given as president …and not just among conservatives… ‘Junk Shot,’ blared the headline at Huffington Post. Salon took a similar theme: ‘Just words: Oval Office speech fizzles.’”
  • MSNBC’s Chris Matthews compared Obama to Jimmy Carter, and added, “I don't sense executive command.” Keith Olbermann went further, saying, “It was a great speech if you were on another planet for the last 57 days. … I don't think he aimed low, I don't think he aimed at all. It's startling."
As one pundit noted, “If you’ve lost Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, what else is left?”
Gary Bauer is is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families. He submitted the above in an email to the ARRA News Service Editor. Bauer was a former Republican presidential candidate and served as President Ronald Reagan’s domestic policy adviser.

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Barack Obama, Oval Office Speech, Oil Spill To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 5:09 PM - Post Link

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