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Obama’s big speech: He came, he saw, he failed

By DOUG THOMPSON
June 16, 2010

President Obama's Oval Office : The leadership stops here (Reuters)

President Obama’s speech to the nation Wednesday night had all the trappings of a game-changing address on a major crisis.

He used the Oval Office, a setting reserved for Presidential pronouncements on war. He tried to look stern as he issues a few weak diatribes against BP and declared a pseudo-war on the 58-day old Gulf Oil spill that threatens is both the greatest environmental crisis in American history and the biggest test of leadership of his floundering Presidency.

Both supporters and opponents waited for Obama to deliver one his great speeches.

He didn’t. Even his staunchest supporters admit the President fell flat.

Obama failed to offer any specifics on how he would “fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long as it takes.” He failed to unveil any detailed battle plan. No offered no specific commitments or strategies.

Even Obama cheerleader Keith Olermann of MSNBC came away unimpressed.

“I thought it was a great speech,” Olbermann said, “if you’ve been on another planet for the last 57 days.”

Asked Chris Matthews of MSNBC: “Is there a specific direction we’re going in?  He didn’t even tell us.”

Roger Simon, writing on Politco.Com, offered this observation:

Uh, yeah. Nobody is more impressed than I am in the president’s ability to inspire. But I am not sure his speech was all that inspirational.

Maybe the location was wrong. Maybe using the Oval Office – – and it was the first time the president has used it for a speech – – upped the ante too much. Maybe we expected too much.

Like details.

Details. That’s where Obama falls short. The Presidential candidate who mesmerized a nation with dazzling rhetoric has a real problems when it comes to details.

Like doing his job.

Let’s face it. The candidate who many saw as a messiah is a utter and complete failure as a President. He’s in over his head, floundering in a sea of indecision, uncertainty and insulation from the realities of leadership.

Obama is not up to the job. Increasingly, the evidence points to the sad fact that he never will be up to the demands of the Oval Office.

While he ponders, promises and panders, the oil continues to gush, the black of sheen on the Gulf continues to grow and the public’s awareness that they have a bumbling amateur as a leader continues to increase.

America looked to the Oval Office for leadership Wednesday night.

We’re still looking.

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29 Responses to Obama’s big speech: He came, he saw, he failed

  1. Senegoid

    June 16, 2010 at 7:30 am

    It would appear words failed him; his perceived strength but noise signifying nothing – but hopelessness. How sad, how very sad.

  2. angellique

    June 16, 2010 at 7:56 am

    The speech wasn’t unexpected. I never get moved by these things and this lived up to my expectations (or lack of any).

    I can’t say he has failed though; he’s turned around a lot of what the past administration screwed up and despite 100% opposition from the right he pushes toward the change he promised.

    Everything may not be working but it’s not due to lack of effort it’s due to the same thing we faced in kindergarten where one person convinced the whole class not to talk to someone because they had cooties and soon the whole class was against them. It’s a shame to compare our heads of state to five year olds.

  3. Keith

    June 16, 2010 at 8:20 am

    As I’ve said, there is precious little the President (or any other gormless government bureaucrat for that matter!) can do at this point other than to get the hell out of the way and let the engineers try and solve the problem.

    To me, the reason Mr. Obama offered no details in his speech last evening is that he has (and will continue to have) absolutely NONE to give.

    Stronger government regulations MIGHT have prevented this disaster. But, then again, when have government “rules” ever gotten in the way of greedy corporate types and their profits? What’s more, such horrifically risky undertakings as deep-water oil drilling are never “idiot proof”.

    Such activities rank right up there with “rocket science”…and are equally as unpredictable.

    The bottom line here is that, all the while we continue to consume more than 20 percent of the world’s oil, we had better damn well get used to such periodic disasters happening along our shores. We also need to get used to spending precious blood and treasure in the “oil wars” our government bureaucrats continue to initiate and underwrite to help insure our continued unfettered access to same.

    Right now, we in the United States are sitting on one of the world’s largest sources of natural gas and coal to the point that we have MORE than enough of both to last us for hundreds of years…that is…IF we wanted to more fully embrace the use of those fuels.

    Instead, we keep fooling around with such “feel-good” alternative energy sources like bio-diesel and ethanol (as well as wind and solar power)…all of which offer us absolutely NOTHING anywhere CLOSE to meeting our country’s real energy needs. If anything, the manufacture and use of ethanol as a motor fuel is even MORE publicly irresponsible as it removes badly needed foodstuffs from the food chain. This is food that could be put to FAR better use feeding the world’s starving billions.

    Clearly, the inconvenient truth that apparently NOBODY in these “finger pointing” discussions seems to want to talk about is that we, as a nation, remain TOTALLY UNWILLING to even consider weaning ourselves off of “big oil” and start embracing those far more exploarationally safer, alternative petro-fuels we have in abundance right under our noses.

    So, in that sense, I believe we are ALL now to blame for what’s happening in the Gulf of Mexico.

    • Almandine

      June 16, 2010 at 12:25 pm

      “Clearly, the inconvenient truth that apparently NOBODY in these “finger pointing” discussions seems to want to talk about is that we, as a nation, remain TOTALLY UNWILLING to even consider weaning ourselves off of “big oil” and start embracing those far more exploarationally safer, alternative petro-fuels we have in abundance right under our noses. ”

      So, Keith, are you implying that these discussions have reach? That anything you or I say gets much beyond this community? That someone here actually could set matters in motion that would move us to natural gas as the prime energy source for even automobiles? That clean coal would be embraced if only we added our motivational consent?

      I don’t, but at least you include yourself in the mix.

  4. Guardhouse lawyer

    June 16, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Doug:

    Your biases are showing:

    “He used the Oval Office, a setting reserved for Presidential pronouncements on war.”

    This is SO not true. Reagan made 34 addresses from the Oval Office, according to his Presidential Library.

    Kennedy addressed the nation about civil rights on 6/11/63.

    Nixon announced his resignation.

    And if this oil spill isn’t as important in your estimation then something is wrong with your estimation.

    I know this is your web site and I know you can be a hard ass (nothing wrong with that) but the sentence I quoted above is worthy only of a Faux News report.

    You said of Obama, “He’s not up to the job.”

    What would you have had him do? Drag the President of BP into the Oval Office and have him beheaded with a letter opener? What would it take to earn your approbation? What can the President really do about the oil leak in the Gulf?

    If you wre President what would you have said last night?

    • SteveK

      June 16, 2010 at 11:17 am

      GL hit it on the head with “What can the President really do about the oil leak in the Gulf?” The only thing the government can do is mobilize people and resources to clean up the oil. What everyone is complaining about is the President has refused to come out and say it. That is what I would have said if I were president. Honesty. There is no national security issues or top secret information involved in the gulf. The President should have told the nation the limited options at his disposal, what options were being chosen, and when they would be implemented.

  5. Bill

    June 16, 2010 at 9:16 am

    I really like the idea of beheading the pres of BP with a letter opener–a dull one.

    Like the Queen of Hearts always said: “Off with his head! Off with his head!”

    • SteveK

      June 16, 2010 at 11:19 am

      You like the idea of creating another spill that will have to be cleaned up at taxpayers expense. What is your real name, senator?

      • woody188

        June 18, 2010 at 12:59 am

        LOL, good one Steve!

  6. griff

    June 16, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Gee, I’m sorry I missed it.

    • Almandine

      June 16, 2010 at 12:28 pm

      It wasn’t much… he looked like a deer in the headlights.

  7. dvl666

    June 16, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    What specifics? After 2 months no one including Obama has a clue in solving the problem. If BP did the well would be cappped. I guess Doug and the rest wanted a specific plan, I was hoping for the truth no one knows WTF to do. As they said in WWII this is a FUBAR situation.
    When EXXON Valdez occurred GWB never went for a visit. No one called for the ‘Feds” to solve the problem. Why is that all the free marketers etc. only now find their inner FDR’s? When all else fails blame the Prez.
    When the foves are in bed with the chickens, why are you surprised to see a lot of dead chickens?

  8. Cayobo

    June 17, 2010 at 7:22 am

    He came, he saw, he failed?
    No… you listened, you wrote, YOU failed.
    Apparently 20 Billion isn’t a good enough start for CHB.
    I’m taking you out of my bookmarks, If I want sensationalism I’ll go to FOX news.

  9. Bogofree

    June 17, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Obama was powerless to stop the explosion and subsequent flow unless the regulators were doing their job and oil companies were doing their job. They were not. End of that. That brings up what to do when the oil started to flow and flow? IMO the administration was slow on the uptake and really got their feet out of the molasses when the PR uproar started with all those wonderful clips from the Gulf. Should have learned from Bush and Katrina and did not.

    His speech just seemed to ramble on and on and to me was just disjointed. Was it a teleprompter issue?

  10. griff

    June 17, 2010 at 9:15 am

    One thing Obama could have done is waive the Jones Act and allow foreign ships to aid in the cleanup. Bush wasted little time after Katrina in doing so, but apparently Obama has caved to big labor in only allowing American vessels to assist in the cleanup.

    Read more here.

    • Guardhouse lawyer

      June 17, 2010 at 9:51 am

      But perhaps one ought to read even more here, where the law about oil spill response vessels is codified (46 USC 55113):

      “§ 55113. Use of foreign documented oil spill response vessels “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an oil spill response vessel documented under the laws of a foreign country may operate in waters of the United States on an emergency and temporary basis, for the purpose of recovering, transporting,
      and unloading in a United States port oil discharged as a result of an oil spill in or near those waters, if–
      “(1) an adequate number and type of oil spill response vessels documented under the laws of the United States cannot be engaged to recover oil from an oil spill in or near those waters in a timely manner, as determined by the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for a discharge or threat of a discharge of oil; and
      “(2) the foreign country has by its laws accorded to vessels of the United States the same privileges accorded to vessels of the foreign country under this section. ”

      I looked and I looked and the only thing I could find out about waiver of the Jones Act had to do with movement of goods BETWEEN American ports.
      The reader may reach his or her own conclusions.

      • griff

        June 17, 2010 at 10:09 am

        Seeing that the spill cannot be contained, I would say we have an inadequate number and type of vessels in the area.

        This reader concludes that, despite Obama’s insistence that the government is doing every thing in its power to cap the well and clean up the spill, they are not.

        • Guardhouse lawyer

          June 17, 2010 at 11:02 am

          And your conclusion is based on what?

          There have been NO requests for waiver of the Jones Act, which are handled on a case-by-case basis, according to this press release:

          http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/doc/2931/660195/

          In fact, the press release bears out what I said above:

          “Even if the Jones Act applies, a foreign flagged vessel can still conduct certain planned operations as part of the BP oil spill response if the vessel is an oil spill response vessel and meets the requirements of 46 USC § 55113″.

          My point is that the opinion piece by James Langer is just plain flat wrong. I talked to the press office at the Gulf Response center a few minutes ago and they said that so far as they knew there had been no offers from operators of skimmers in the Persian Gulf.

          The bottom line is that the President DOES NOT HAVE to act under the Jones Act to get foreign-flag skimmers into action. The opinion piece appears to me to be yet another example of an attempt to skewer the President politically. And that is in my opinion not doing one damned thing to help clean up the Gulf.

          • Almandine

            June 17, 2010 at 12:31 pm

            “The bottom line is that the President DOES NOT HAVE to act under the Jones Act to get foreign-flag skimmers into action.”

            So where are they?

  11. dvl666

    June 17, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    The Dutch, Norwegians, and Mexicans are sending vessels. Since ‘beam me up Scotty’ has not yet happened it may take some time for them all to arrive.
    I guess President McCain and VP Palin would be on top of this as she was with O’Reilly Tuesday night.
    Anyway why would we ask those ‘GD Socialist ‘ countries for help. We don’t need no stinkin socialism infecting us and everyone knows that Govt. is the problem not the solution.

    • Almandine

      June 17, 2010 at 5:13 pm

      And here I thought Palin was with Mrs. O at the Lakers/Celtics game.

    • Almandine

      June 17, 2010 at 5:23 pm

      BTW… The political systems of the Netherlands and Norway feature constitutional monarchies with representative parliaments and Mexico has a representative democratic system modeled on our own.

  12. dvl666

    June 17, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Yeah, but trust me since I have visited relatives in both Holland and Norway. They are the antithesis of every thing Palin , the GOP and tea baggers believe. They along with Denmark are the leading social welfare states on the planet. If they’re so good at oil clean up maybe their health care is better also. If we had the Dutch approach to drugs, especially Marijuana the border traffic in AZ would be down 80% and the cartels would be out business.
    Don’t you Palin worshipers ever notice her contradictions??

    • Almandine

      June 17, 2010 at 8:41 pm

      Palin worshipper? You’re the one who brought her up and are making such a big deal…

      gotta agree with the pot comment though.

      • griff

        June 18, 2010 at 12:25 am

        Of course any one that criticizes Obama is a Palin worshipper. Didn’t you get the memo?

        • woody188

          June 18, 2010 at 12:57 am

          No, anyone that criticizes Barry is racist. Jimmy Carter said so. ;p

    • woody188

      June 18, 2010 at 1:04 am

      Yup, drugs are bad. They war started with GHWB in charge of the CIA covertly, and expanded under Reagan with GHWB as VP and further expansion in Mexico and Columbia with GHWB as President. Coincidence?

      But how else would the CIA fund it’s covert ops without illegal drug money?

  13. dvl666

    June 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Just pointing out that Obama might be a FU, but McCain Palin would be even worse. Once again what ever he does is wrong in the GOP (griffs) eyes(see Rep. Barton et.al.) who just parrot whatever Rush says.

    • griff

      June 18, 2010 at 5:28 pm

      Have you always been this ignorant, or is this a new development? Still relying on campaign tactics from two years ago? Must be nice to have a crystal ball.

      If you had any idea at all about my political leanings and any familiarity with my blogs and participation here over the last two and a half years you would know better. But of course I wouldn’t want to ruin your fun.

      Carry on, partisan…