Tuesday, June 15, 2010


OK, I guess I understand the purpose of the first part of the speech -- but, with regard to the oil spill, I wish the president could find a way to seem concerned and focused without looking as if he's trying to seem concerned and focused. Then, in the latter part of the speech, we got the futility: there's no way in hell he's going to get any sort of any energy legislation between now and midterms that have Democrats terrified, and he's certainly not going to get any legislation in the subsequent two years with a bare majority in the Senate and maybe not even a majority in the House, and, while, yes (as Ezra Klein says), he "shied away from clearly describing the problem, did not endorse specific legislation, did not set benchmarks, and chose poll-tested language rather than a sharper case that might persuade skeptics," could anyone, however eloquent, find language to persuade skeptics of the validity of a course of action that has a liberal tinge and might cost money and require sacrifice, in a country that's focused on hunkering down and riding out the recession?

I wouldn't have given the speech at all. Why bother? So you can get slammed by lefties for serving weak tea while the loons on the right accuse you of a sinister plot not to let a crisis go to waste?

Better just to work your way through this and hope your presidency survives to a second term and maybe a better economy. The notion that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to focus on climate and energy is absurd -- the problems aren't going away, and, vis-a-vis energy, we showed in the aftermath of 9/11 that we're really lousy at learning from teachable moments.

And for heaven's sake, why promise that "in the coming weeks and days," BP's cleanup efforts "should capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well"? Why promise a cleaner Gulf than pre-Katrina? A while back, Thad Allen said, "We need to underpromise and overdeliver." Why overpromise? Are you trying to make things difficult for yourself?

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