Obama’s Oil Spill Speech

That was … underwhelming.

If I was in a snarky mood, I might say that the legislative strategy seems to be prayer. But that would be fair.

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12 Responses to Obama’s Oil Spill Speech

  1. mfr24 says:

    He somehow managed to not discuss the last 50+ days at all or give us any more details about what happened. I actually thought he was about to go Dubya on us there for a second earlier on.

  2. Vic says:

    It’s entirely political to him. He hasn’t even bothered himself to actually meet with the company’s executives yet. The speech, like his sudden flurry of visits to the region, is not a response to the spill, but a response to people’s response to HIM.

    Unfortunately, OPA90 controls here, civily and criminally, and BP knows it. In the end, any amount they pay over the OPA90’s (relatively low) limits of liability is going to be solely because BP wants to have good publicity. Obama’s got little to nothing to say about it. Unless were planning on repealing the Constitution again…

    What is truely shocking in all this is that little to nothing is being done to prevent the oil from reaching shore and cleaning it up when it does. I understand that the feds lack the technology to actually deal with the spill source, but they don’t at all lack the technology, and they can get the resources, to handle the effect. But he won’t even give Jones Act* waivers to allow foreign vessels in to help! It’s THERE that Obama has shown a complete lack of leadership – displayed again last night in his student council presidential manner, yet again.

    * the Jones Act, among other things, was originally passed because foreign-flagged ships were doing U.S. coastwise trade at a much lower cost than U.S. flagged vessels. The intent was for taxpayers to subsidize U.S. ships, lowering the cost of that trade, while blocking the foreign flagged ships from doing coastwise (U.S. port to U.S. port) trade. It’s why cruise ships have to go to the Bahamas before they can go to Key West, from Miami. It’s applicable in this spill because, presumably, foreign cleanup vessels would be working out on U.S. ports day in and day out, without visiting Mexico in between. AS IF THAT SHOULD BE THE HOLDUP!!

  3. mfr24 says:

    Underwhelming to say the least. I’m left with the same expression today after watching last night. Yikes. Not assuring at all and only confirmed what we knew all along: Obama and the government have no idea what’s going on, no control of the situation, we’re addicted to oil, and we need to transition to clean energy.

    We didn’t need an oval office address for that and one has to wonder if this is beyond a chink in the armor for him at this point and is really starting to illustrate a lack of executive skill and command. He was like a bad actor attempting to seem genuine but while saying nothing at all and knowing it the whole time. A sad and weak display for one of the all-time rhetoricians.


  4. “But he won’t even give Jones Act* waivers to allow foreign vessels in to help!”

    It’s worse than that: Oil booms left in storage in Maine, the feds simply not getting back to local authorities asking for permission to build levys to keep the oil out of wetlands… We’d actually be further ahead at this point if the feds had no involvement at all, and yet the Congressional response is almost certainly going to be to INCREASE federal power in this area.

    This is a man who saw the Presidency as a position, not a job. He wanted the office to BE President, not to do the work. I hear he’s holding lots of parties, though…

  5. michael says:

    Look, I’m as unimpressed with the spill response as the next guy, but above is both petty and silly. The health care bill is an achievement; not what I wished for, but arguably the most that was politically feasible.

    And the ‘parties’ line is ridiculous. I dare you to find any evidence for the proposition that Obama has had more parties/year than any modern President (Jimmy Carter excepted). Why descend to this sort of cheap shot?

    More generally, it’s quite striking that when George Bush delegated, the media wrote fawning accounts of the MBA president and his businesslike approach to government. That got us the Minerals Management Service. When Obama delegates — which seems to have been the a piece of the problem here — we don’t hear that, do we?

  6. Vic says:

    Once again, you seem oddly oblivious of something that seems to be common knowledge elsewhere.

    Google is your friend:

    “In fact, according to the Chicago Tribune, the stylish Ms. Rogers and the party-hearty First Couple hosted no less than 170 parties and social events through December 3 of 2009. And that does not even include the 17 parties and 11 open houses – feting more than 50,000 guests – ABC News reported the Obamas hosted throughout the Holiday Season.

    For those not counting, that means by January, 2010, Ms. Rogers had staged one gala White House event every three days throughout the first year of the Obama Administration, making the once austere Executive Mansion look more like party central.”

    Elsewhere, I saw that 28 parties were planned for December ’09. Lists of them are everywhere.

    And this is the old news. God only knows how many he’s had this year. When you consider the shape of the economy, and that all of this money being lavishly spent by our Government is taken from us, the silliness is in thinking this is OK.

  7. michael says:

    I’m having some trouble finding comparative data in what you quoted; without context I have no idea what to make of that number. The issue isn’t whether Presidents use the White House to bedazzle people. Every President does. The question (raised by the earlier post) is whether this White House is doing more of it than its recent predecessors. (And when was the White House ‘austere”? In the John Adams administration?)

    If it were the case that the claim of “more parties” was justified, and that the Obama folks were using the power of the WH party more than their predecessors, I for one would be prepared to celebrate this as a rare and welcome sign that these guys know how to lobby. But that’s another issue…although somewhat more related to the original post, perhaps.

  8. Vic says:

    Well, unlike your students, I’m not going to do the work for you. Suffice it to say, there is evidence all over the internet for you to find about the stepped up party rate at the WH. And “austere, referred to Bush. You won’t look anyway though.

    But the mind-boggling part is that you’d apparently think it was a GOOD thing that while Rome burns Ceasar is having parties every couple of days? You’d think it’s a sign that someone knows how to lobby!? And you’d think THAT was a good thing!? And even assuming it was skillful, what has all this lobbying gotten us? And I take it you are now claiming NOT to have been among those that accused the Bush WH of being too cozy with lobbyists?

    The mind reels…

  9. michael says:

    Any President, to achieve his aims, must get his program through Congress. In ordinary times, that requires lobbying — both directly of Congress, and indirectly through pressure groups.

    The problem with the Bush administration’s coziness with lobbyists wasn’t that the alliance lacked effectiveness, but rather that it had, from my perspective, the wrong priorities, and indeed that the wrong partner was setting the priorities. By adopting the lobbyists’ goals as their own, the Bush-Cheney cabal produced such wonders as oil rig deregulation. They were very effective at this.

    As regards Obama my concerns are different. I am less concerned that the administration gets its marching orders from lobbyists; those ideas, with all their flaws, appear to be their own. And while Obama’s domestic priorities differ in substantive ways from mine, the distance is significantly less than it was with Bush-Cheney (one begins to fear that the international dimension is not so different). The issue I was alluding to above, however, goes to competence in translating the agenda into legislation, rather than the influencing of its content. I am not convinced that the Obama administration is especially good at handling Congress.

    The idea the the President should somehow be disconnected from politics has always struck me as naive and unrealistic. LBJ is the model here: in the right hands, politics is a powerful tool in the Presidential arsenal. And I for one see nothing wrong with that.

  10. Vic says:

    All complete speculation based on nothing but what you’d like to be true. You have absolutely no idea what the origens of ideas the Obama administration has any more than you did for Bush. What you DO have is an opinion of what YOU think is good and what is bad, and how the policies of each government either diverged or converged from your ideas.

    Based up that, and SOLELY that, you’ve decided that lobbyists (in some number) + Obama = mostly Good, while lobbyists + Bush = mostly bad, as if that formula is based on anything other than your opinion!

    I don’t at all suggest that presidents should be lobbied, or that they aen’t political (indeed Obama is only rivalled by Clinton in his politicisation of everything). But don’t pretend that you can have anything other than an uninformed opinion in this.

    The important issue should be whether Obama is giving the appearance of fiddling while Rome burns. It’s hard not to see that as true. Lobbyists don’t need WH parties to have access to power. And American taxpayers should be paying for the excessive costs of parties every day or two at the WH, while 10-20% of them are out of work with no prospects. The president should be at least pretending that he sees himself as one of us – clearly he’s incapable of that, and clearly some folks seem to think he’s NOT one of us.

  11. michael says:

    We are fairly well informed about the actions of the Bush administration — it started with VP Cheney’s secret meeting with oil company executives and took off from their.

    I don’t know how well informed we are about this administration. It said it would release logs of who visited the White House, but it’s absolutely correct that I’ve made no real effort to get into the nitty gritty of how they make decisions, preferring to look at the outputs.

    I personally do not agree with the very widespread opinion that “The important issue should be whether Obama is giving the appearance of fiddling while Rome burns.” You hear this a lot. But shouldn’t the important issue be what they are DOING? In other words, I don’t care how many parties they have, I just want the fire (well, leak) put out. And I don’t see the two as having much to do with each other, although as I said before, if only the parties were part of a political strategy to achieve some goal, I might be for them.

  12. Vic says:

    “We are fairly well informed about the actions of the Bush administration — it started with VP Cheney’s secret meeting with oil company executives and took off from their.”

    Which says absolutely nothing informative. I’m not saying it was all very good and innocent, just that we don’t actually know what happened – which is the meaning of the word “secret” and what they fought about.

    And I agree 100% that what Obama is DOING is what matters. But here at day 50-something of the spill, and the Feds are turning away help being offered from all over the world, and are stopping the Governor of La from self-help – leaving it all in the hands of BP… Doing?

    So far this President’s handling of the worst environmental disaster we have ever seen here has been reprehensible and irresponsible. In an effort to save face on his part, it has now become illegal.

    A President should recognize that his job is part being President, and part being Presidential. Appearing to stand in the way of helping with the spill (appearing that way, rightly or wrongly), while the economy and so many Americans are out of work, while having big party events at the WH and going on lavish vacations with his family, is not appearing Presidential. It’s appearing Royal. And I seem to recall that our Government used to have something to say about acting royally.

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