I Didn't Watch The President's Speech . . .

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on June 15, 2010

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But I did read it, and I have to say that I didn’t find much in it that would reassure the inhabitants of the Gulf coast, whose livelihoods and way of life is under assault thanks to the spill. The President can talk about all that his Administration has sought to do until the cows come home, but those who have watched the Administration’s actions on the ground have found the government’s response wholly lacking. The tough talk about BP is doubtless meant to assuage fears that the Administration will not take steps to remedy the damage done to the Gulf coast and its inhabitants, but it is remarkably easy to beat up on corporations; no real points for political courage need to be awarded here. Details concerning the “Gulf Coast Restoration Plan” are entirely nonexistent. There is a whole lot of nothing in this speech.

Never letting a crisis go to waste, however, the President now seeks to use the oil spill as a vehicle for his energy plan. What discussions concerning the theory of “peak oil” have to do with this matter is anyone’s guess; the President has every right to pursue an energy policy, but isn’t the cleanup of the Gulf coast slightly more pressing than the latest legislative obsession since health care “reform” got passed? Talk of the burgeoning green economy is just that, and while those working in that economy are wished all the best, they probably should not be buying houses in the south of France just yet. Cap and trade is a lousy way to regulate emissions, as anyone familiar with the subject knows. A better approach is a carbon tax–particularly one based on actual warming trends–but of course, the Obama Administration simply will not go there.

This speech upheld the status quo, even as it denounced it. Perhaps this finding should therefore come as no surprise whatsoever:

Our new Louisiana poll has a lot of data points to show how unhappy voters in the state are with Barack Obama’s handling of the oil spill but one perhaps sums it up better than anything else- a majority of voters there think George W. Bush did a better job with Katrina than Obama’s done dealing with the spill.

50% of voters in the state, even including 31% of Democrats, give Bush higher marks on that question compared to 35% who pick Obama.

Those poll numbers are likely to look a whole lot worse if the Obama Administration’s response to the oil spill only serves to hike up energy prices. And of course, the President is not the only one who is set up to suffer politically. His party is hurting too, and could very well start hurting worse if the Administration continues to flounder in response to the spill. Barack Obama is a fine rhetorician, and since, as I mentioned, I didn’t see the speech given, it may well be that it goes down better for those who saw it, than it does for those who read it. But that doesn’t change the fact that there is no substantive content worthy of the name to be found in the speech. And it doesn’t change the fact that the President’s political fortunes–and those of his party–appear to be in as much trouble as the Gulf coast itself is.

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