34 thoughts on “Tonight’s Speech

  1. I thought he did a nice job, though I wish he would have asked Americans to go down there and volunteer or at least go on vacation and spend some cash in the affected areas.

  2. Sorry, but, P-U!
    I didn’t see the very beginning, but I caught most of it.
    Blah-dee-blah-dah. Platitudes. American exceptionalism. American ingenuity.
    More b-d-b-d BS.
    And the whole religious thing at the end was horrible. It started off nice, but then he kept going on and on about it. I was waiting for some plan. What, Jesus is going to do a deep dive and save us? How about a “Manhattan Project” for energy, after all that talk about God, blessing boats, and other BS.
    It ended, and I was pissed. WTF! That’s it? Where’s the plan?
    Christ, I guess the only positive thing I can take from it is, that, at least he didn’t wear a fucking sweater…

  3. I enjoyed his criticism of the clusterbleep that was MMS, although like the rest of the speech it was maybe too… tactful. If you listened close, you got the point that the Bushies and their philosophy trashed the system, but I’m not sure how many people were listening that closely.

    Who’s on the investigative commission, I wonder?

    And will Rand Paul start his own commission? Yay competition! It’s what makes this country great!

  4. I think everyone missed the major point.

    Yes, there was a lot of platitudes intended to reassure. There was some straight talk – this bitch of a spill is going to piss into the Gulf for 6 more weeks. But the guantlet was thrown down publicly.

    Tomorrow – BP is going to have to commit – either put up billions to compensate victims – OR defy the POTUS and enrage the people of the United States. THAT was the speech – the rest was trimmings.

    IMO, BP was on the hook for the cleanup but they had a plan for dragging out paying compensation to the victims – fishermen, shrimpers and related businesses affected by the spill. Just my read, but BP was prepared to spend big bucks on PR (for their image) and drag each case separately through the courts unless the victims would settle for dimes on the dollar with exculpatory language that precludes any future suits. Obama scuttled that plan unless BP is prepared to go to war with the US government in a way that has no historical parallel.

    That doesn’t adress pluggging the gusher. That won’t happen until August. That sucks – I live on the coast in Florida. But it’s reality. The cleanup is not getting done well enough or fast enough. Obama could do a Jimmy Carter and try to micro-manage the spill (big mistake) or try to get the right people there with the authority and equipment.

    Why do you think the speech happened on the EVE of the meeting with BP – the POTUS told BP what they are going to volunteer to do tomorrow – part with billions that BP will have NO control over – or Obama will use the bully pulpit of the presidency to castrate a major multinational corporation.

  5. If he’d addressed the nation like this in the first week, I’d understand, but to offer so little eight weeks in doesn’t do much to instill confidence that the feds are, as he’s claimed, in charge of anything.

  6. Hmmm, something came up and I didn’t have a chance to watch it. Sounds like another disappointing Presidential Address. Its a pity – as I wrote two posts ago I think he could try to articulate what the next step is for America. We aren’t going to have as much oil 30 years from now and it would be wise to start thinking about the consequences of that fact now. I think America won’t be able to prepare until its too late to do anything.

  7. I came away feeling like I was given a snow job. I like Obama and I respect him, and I know he has to put on a positive face for a shit situation that is not his doing, but his speech was just an exercise in covering his own ass. I agree with Gulag in that his benediction was a bit too much..Why doesn’t the “hand” that will guide us reach down and scoop up the remaining 10% of the oil left behind after our super marvelous clean up efforts are exhausted. OK, sorry, I’m just turned off by the use of bury your head in the sand rhetoric, I’m just partial to reality.

  8. “its in God’s hands now”
    I guess its just part of that divine plan I ‘ve been hearing about since I was a wee lad.
    I can understand praying for inspiration, trying to tap into that “cosmic conscience”,but praying for the car to start or the cancer to go away, well, that’s a ‘nother whole ball game…………..
    “I’m just partial to reality”
    Me too, Swami; where in the world should we go to live among others that share our view?

  9. “There is no man so blind as he who will not see.” We here in America, as a group, do not want to see a future in which gas is realistically priced at maybe $8.00 per gallon. But that will come.

    No dwindling resource can be continuously overexploited without a market result. The truth spoken by Jimmy Carter about getting free of imported oil and wasteful depletion of energy supplies was not welcomed by Americans as a group. Instead, they mocked his sweater.

    When an adult tells a child that spoiled and self-indulgent behavior is counterproductive in the long run, the child does not welcome that wisdom. When Americans are told that they must face a less prodigal energy future, they do not respond by trading down to more efficient vehicles. They get all libertarian about not being told what to do and mock the “nanny state”. Then when they encounter $4.00 gasoline, they whine.

    If America persists in willful pursuit of a no-longer-sustainable lifestyle, then the child will end up in a corner it has painted for itself (to mix some metaphors).

    Finally, to the point: President Obama talked calm sense about what must be done in the short term and in the long term. Will America listen, or will America content itself with the short term goal?

    I still have the bumper sticker on my car, and tonight tells why. I still have to fight the urge to rip it off over letting Bushco off for war crimes and not kicking the bankers harder and not ending DADT prosecutions, as he easily could. He’s too much of a corporatist, but he is so much better than Bush and McCain that my pragmatic side makes me keep supporting him. He is the grownup in the room.

    Sorry I posted this under the wrong topic last night. I just copied and pasted it in here this morning to get it in the right spot. Now that I’m here, I’d like to take this opportunity to ask one question: When was the last time we Americans as a group got behind anything more demanding than the line for doughnuts?

  10. “but his speech was just an exercise in covering his own ass”

    I’m not sure you want to hear from him but in my opinion there just aint much to say. This is a low tech fuck-up, we have oil gushing into the gulf, apparently nobody has the magic bullet for stopping the leak 100% so we will just have to clean up the mess as best we can. I’m not burying my head in sand, I just don’t see much else that can be said, and as an engineer it bothers me, we usually find solutions to problems but it looks like the only solution will be the relief wells, so we wait…. I said from the beginning of this that Obama screwed the pooch as far as the official reaction (I thought they slow walked it hoping BP would end the gusher) that didn’t happen and now it appears to me that the government is doing what it can, oversee operations, assist in cleanup logistics, and most importantly apply pressure to insure BP doesn’t walk away from it’s obligations.

  11. I think I agree with Doug Hughes’ take.

    The problem Obama has is that he doesn’t have a congress he can rely on to do anything, anything at all, no matter how politically expedient it would seem to be. The House is willing, but the Senate is weak.

    There’s not a hell of a lot he can actually DO, in a direct and concrete manner that is also BIG enough to be emotionally satisfying.

    He can clean up MMS, which he’s said he’s going to do, he can use his office to get BP to actually give up the cash, he can try and make sure the right people are in the right place for clean-up efforts, but for practically anything which would actually fix any of the underlying problems, he’d need the help of congress to do it.

    It’s possible that once we get through the ’10 elections, congress will be a little more willing to do some work, for a while at least, until they start campaigning for ’12. Right now, though, there are just way too many congress critters that will refuse to stick their necks out even an inch.

    And, connecting this back to the speech, politically speaking it would have been much worse than useless to outline some grand strategy that then fails in congress.


  12. It will be interesting to see just how much B P is forced to pay. My bet is 10 cents on the dollar to 10% of the claims 20 years from now. Just call me an optomist.

  13. I didn’t watch the speech, because I sort of knew what to expect. I respect Robert Reich, and like what he wrote:

    The man who electrified the nation with his speech at the Democratic National Convention of 2004 put it to sleep tonight. President Obama’s address to the nation from the Oval Office was, to be frank, vapid. If you watched with the sound off you might have thought he was giving a lecture on the history of the Interstate Highway System. He didn’t have to be angry but he had at least to show passion and conviction. It is, after all, the worst environmental crisis in the history of the nation.

    With the sound on, his words hung in the air with all the force of a fundraiser for your local public access TV station. Everything seemed to be in the passive tense. He had authorized deepwater drilling because he “was assured” it was safe. But who assured him? How does he feel about being so brazenly misled? He said he wanted to “understand” why that was mistaken. Understand? He’s the President of the United States and it was a major decision. Isn’t he determined to find out how his advisors could have been so terribly wrong?

    Tomorrow he’s “informing” the president of BP of BP’s financial obligations. “Informing” is what you do when you phone the newspaper to tell them it wasn’t delivered today. Why not “directing” or “ordering?” …

    Reich has been pretty critical of BHO’s action regarding Deepwater, and has been arguing for weeks that US should put the local unit of BP into receivorship, and take over managing the disaster.

  14. Expectations–they get you every time.

    I didn’t watch the speech. I can barely stand to pay attention to the world anymore. I am so disappointed. How could someone so smart think Republicans and corporations were respectful partners, negotiating in good faith to advance the interests of the American people! It’s as if Obama has never opened a history book.

  15. Bill Bush,
    Well, after 9/11 we went shopping, as we were told to do, stuck American flags all over the place, and put decals on our cars that said we supported our troops.
    For those of whom not much is asked, not much is given. And that’s my problem with Obama’s speach last night. Where was the call to arms (metaphorically speaking)?

  16. I only got to listen to part of the speech, but didn’t have inclination for more anyway. Perusing posts on websites generates what has been shared here. One opinion is that it primarily was just spin control and that BHO and his minions have been talking about it non-stop anyway.

    But then it hit me that the deflation I feel today is less about the speech and more about the god-awful reality of being helpless to stop/’fix it and about the long, long term effects on the Gulf Coast that kills and ruins life.

    I was in the oil business in the 80’s on shore in Texas, and given how dangerous it can be on location during drilling and completion, and what it can do to 1-3 acres of land (drill site), I multiply that by x, (I can’t even guess the exponential increase in destruction) and the ruination and death is just soul wrenching.

    At those depths and pressures there is NO technology I am aware of to recover once the genie is out of the bottle. And don’t get your hopes up that the relief wells are going to be effective. That far down in the ground, even with the drill bit-steering tech that has been developed, every time one takes an action you automatically potentiate several more–mostly bad.

    And my last little ray of sunshine is that I wish I had the time and energy to do research on the terms of the leases that have been granted to exploration companies that dictate how much we the American people are to be compensated for the production of the oil and gas that belongs to us.

    The rule of thumb in the oil field is that the higher the potential for profit the greater the royalty granted to mineral owners. I have never negotiated off shore terms, but I can tell you that the gush rate of this formation for as long as it has means the ultimate recovery figures at $70+ per barrell are mega-mega dinero. What would you say if you found out that a good-ol’ boy in MMS let leases slide by for say 17-22.5% of the take when market value was 30-32%? And I haven’t seen a word on this spoken or written since we started. Get you calcs out and multiply 10% x $70 x 2.5 million bbls.

    And the congregation said,…WTF? If such has gone on, and I know it has in the past, then the hue and cry that might be raised might really create a come to God meeting for off shore companies, and if I would pay money to watch a monkey fuck a football, I would sure pay money to see oil exec’s filleted in public.

  17. 2xcinco,
    Interesting. Well, I guess some of that money had to be used for hookers and blow for the MMS workers, so the costs were passed on the the consumers.

    Anyone see where, with the $20 Billion fund BP is setting up, Michelle Bachmann said it was a ‘redistribution of wealth.’ She make Palin look smalrt and sane in comparison.

    • Michelle Bachmann said it was a ‘redistribution of wealth.’

      I want to know if Bachmann is bright enough to make her own toast.

  18. Bachmann, make her own toast?
    HA! That’s complicated. It’s multi-tasking.
    She’s lucky that breathing is an involuntary reflex; because if she had to think about it, she’d have suffocated minutes after birth.

    My question to the voters in her district in MN is, how stupid do you have to be to elect someone who’s not even as smart as moss? And I’m not talking about Kate. I’m talking about moss, moss, which is at least smart enough to grow mostly on the north end of trees and rocks.
    I’d watch her and Pence on “Jeopardy” any time they want to go on. They’d rack up deficits on that show that would make our government’s look low.

  19. She isn’t, maha. That verified, Obama could have delivered a ‘campaign’ speech, a lot of sound and fury in the end signifying nothing because nothing is what we’ve come to expect from campaign speeches – but he apparently chose not to.

    I’m waiting for results. When Kennedy told us that during his administration an American would walk on the moon, we bought it and were probably grateful that he didn’t explain how this monumental engineering feat was going to work. So why do we need to know from Obama how the monumental engineering feat of restoring the Gulf, people’s livelihoods etc. is going to work. Kennedy followed Eisenhower in office. Obama is following Bush in office. That’s why we need to know.

  20. Interesting, Mr. Gulag.
    I’ve long thought that a day or two on Jeopardy be a requirement for running for office.

  21. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without you people. OD on Xanax and Ghirardelli Dark, probably. Instead, in the midst of our grief and anger, you all still can make me think outside my preconceived notions… and, as always, laugh.

  22. Hmm. Nothing I submit appears, even “awaiting moderation.” Ceiling Cat eated dem?

    If tonight’s earlier comment from me eventually posts, twice, skip the first and go for the second draft. Writer’s prerogative.

  23. Joan,
    The same thing’s happened to me a few times. And they were the best written, best researched, and most scathingly funny and witty ones I’ve ever written here in the many years I’ve loved this site. All swallowed into the ether… (Uhm, anyone actually buying any of this BS?).
    Seriously, though, it has happened to me a couple of time recently. And I don’t know why.

  24. Joanr16… You’d be surprised at how much of my brilliance is floating out in the cosmos.

    • joan — sorry your comment got caught in the spam filter. Names of prescription drugs or gender-specific body parts pretty much get a comment automatically nixed. Also the letter “x” repeated several times.

  25. Names of prescription drugs or gender-specific body parts pretty much get a comment automatically nixed.

    That explains why my loving comments about Rush Limbaugh always disappear.

  26. My theory was either: 1) caught in a “too-much-schmaltz” filter; or 2) the mention of Ghirardelli banned because of… well, the jonesing it causes.

    Maybe this is a sign I ought to flush the “X” prescription down the terlit.

    Somewhat on topic, I just finished watching a 90-minute PBS docu on Krakatoa. It made me realize that the Earth can kill us any time she wants; unfortunately she never starts with the Tony Haywards.

    OK, maybe no med-flushing just yet. And the chocolate is close by….

  27. We are easily appeased by sentiments that affirm our own feelings. We’ve missed that for so long that we forget what it’s like. However, one does not have to look back that far to identify Presidents, including Bush, who would capitalize on a given situation with an assertion of the solution that will be sought via legislation.

    Pretty much every sideshow that distracts us from Obama’s obligation to help secure legislative solutions to prevent this from happening again just feed our unsubstantial need for momentary comfort without the likelihood of any lasting effect.

    I’d much rather have a President who displays party leadership by rallying legislators to a cause while the time is right than by making the cause a matter of his personal prowess in dealing directly with a board or the CEO that they hire.

    So my concern continues to be exactly as it has been and from most comments, news and Obama’s own words I see little in the way of encouragement.

    OK. It’s nice to know how he feels but for what sort of lasting, sticky solution will he put himself on the line? He needs to be held to well-defined, easily understandable solutions with teeth in them. The certainty of the most painful punishment imaginable should hang like a spectre on BP and others who are exposed to risks like the ones leading to this catastrophe. That can only be done with law that is a 180 degree change from the one limiting damages to, what was it? …175 million? THAT WE LET OUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES PASS!

    Hmmmm….does that make me a strict “crime & punishment” conservative? Today, conservative is only distinguished by who get’s off the hook rather than any principals that apply equally to all.

  28. I suspect that in Obama’s dealings with corporate America he continues to play, as he has in the past, the role of their guy and their last defense against the populist hordes and he uses this in his bargaining. But reasonably and even justifiably that’s just not good enough for most of us.

    Obama even stated as much publicly in the beginning and it was very telling. This approach falls right in line with balanced remarks about the captains of industry being ver bright people who have earned what they have — appeasement. With any continuance of this pattern Obama will extract concessions rather than pass laws to ensure a regulatory climate of safety that protects those who need protection the most.

    A lot of the damage done by Bush was through appointments and even staffing that did not require appointments via extensive cronyism once an appointment had been made. MMS is an adminstrative failure by Obama as well. The cures to so many problems can be solved by the delegation of authority by Obama who has to appoint people he can trust to clean up messes left by Bush without waiting to contend with one aftermath after another. Hasn’t he caught on yet?

    The other part of the damage done by Bush utilized legislation which resembles a ratchet-like change not so easily reversed. But it could be were Obama to seize the moment as so many before him have been willing to do.

    I agree with Frank Rich who so perceptively observed in Don’t Get Mad, Mr. President. Get Even:

    Obama’s excessive trust in his own heady team is all too often matched by his inherent deference to the smartest guys in the boardroom in the private sector. His default assumption seems to be that his peers are always as well-intentioned as he is.

    If only one could read minds. Does Obama consider it more important to compromise in some effort to ameliorate the corrosive effects of ingeniously crafted socio-political divisions exploited by the right? …to compromise with people who have a tenuous hold on their constituency as evidenced by the laughable, overinflated tea party which is actually destroying the Republican party? …to compromise with those wh consider compromise his weakness? Or is it not a matter of intent and something ingrained in Obama that requires him to “ask” rather than “tell”, some intrinsic need to be liked by everyone, which sometimes only engenders widespread derision albeit for a wide array of reasons? Is he buying time to let a host of burgeoning concerns coalesce until the time is ripe for further action?

    God only knows but as he backs away from seizing the opportunities that are well within reach…the cupcakes, the low-hanging fruit as it were the most vulgar, less hopeful characterizations such as corporate houseboy Obambi hang over him like a cloud and might even seem plausible in terms of the subservience and reluctance to act that they crudely attempt to convey..

  29. Pat,
    I also don’t know what he’s waiting for. I keep hearing about this 11th Dimensional chess, or something. I think that, as a former professor and community organizer, it’s in his blood to hear out both sides of an issue.
    I wish it were otherwise. But right now, it isn’t. Maybe in the future. But, again, I ask, who would you (and I don’t mean YOU) want in charge now. If not him, whom?

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