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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.
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.