Good Morning Conflucians! I’ve been surfing around, and I can’t find many positive reactions to the President’s Oval Office speech. Will Jon Favreau get the boot? It appears that no one else is going to pay for this clusterf&ck. And what are we Americans going to do now? It appears we are on our own. Our “leader” is completely impotent and ineffectual.
Here are some of the responses I’ve found to “the speech,” beginning with the formerly Obama-loving gang at MSNBC.
The folks at MSNBC pretty much trashed Obama last night. Too bad they didn’t notice he was an empty suit back when it would have mattered.
From Jason Linkins at Huffpo: Obama’s Oil Spill Speech: What Was the Point?
Are we operating off a booklet of Mad Libs, written by Jon Favreau, or something? I think you can swap out the references to energy and add back references to health care, and we can all take a trip down memory lane, to the time we all wondered why Obama wasn’t out there, actively pushing for something specific in the arena of health care reform. Right down to the “I am happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party” part, which basically commits Obama to a lengthy period of Chuck Grassley jacking himself off as the Republican Party returns with the idea of doing nothing that even remotely looks like it might be helpful to his Presidency.
Steve at The Left Coaster: Jumping the Shark
Obama failed to act like a chief executive tonight, opting instead for a dry sermon about energy policy and prayer. All the while, the speech avoided leadership, a sense of command, and vision. Rather, it seemed simply to serve as an opportunity for Obama to repeat whatever he’s said over the last six weeks, and then move on, just as the White House confirmed privately. Aside from some lame talk about holding BP responsible, he still managed to downplay the current crisis, in a rush to the future without dealing with current accountability.
Just like he treats the Bush administration.
Ezra Klein makes a lame effort to be positive: Where Have We Heard This Before
The elements of Barack Obama’s speech tonight that were specifically newsworthy were also broadly-expected: A liability fund that BP will pay into and that a third-party will distribute. A “long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan.” Both ideas sound good. But their worth will be determined by, well, their worth. And Obama did not name any dollar amounts.
He also did not utter the words “climate change” or “global warming.” The closest Obama got was to praise the House for “passing a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill – a bill that finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America’s businesses.” The section of his speech devoted to the issue avoided the politically-controversial problem in order to focus on the broadly-popular solution: Clean energy. “As we recover from this recession,” Obama promised, “the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of good, middle-class jobs.”
Obama did not make any specific promises about the bill he would support, or even that he wanted. He did not say he would price carbon, or that we should get a certain percentage of our energy from renewables by a certain date.
Kevin Drum at Mother Jones: Obama’s Oil Spill Speech: Running On Empty
The whole point of a prime time Oval Office speech (transcript here) is that it announces something big. On that score, Obama failed right from the start. He told us that lots of people are already working the cleanup. Yawn. That Ray Mabus is going to develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan as soon as possible. A plan! Hurrah! That we’re gonna make BP pay for everything. Roger that. And then this: “I have established a National Commission to understand the causes of this disaster and offer recommendations on what additional safety and environmental standards we need to put in place.” A commission! So much for “going big.”
James Fallows at The Atlantic: The Oval Office Speech, Seen From Beijing
I couldn’t see this real-time in China, so I’ve just now read the speech and watched an online replay. I have deliberately not yet read or listened to any on-line commentary. Thus my untutored reaction from the other side of the world is: Sigh. [....]
Judging it just as a speech, and applying the standards I laid out yesterday before seeing it, I think it fell short on all three standards.
Finally, from deep in Obot territory, Icebergslim at The Cheeto: sigh, he did not say anything.
This speech did not go into specifics of anything.
And if anyone wants to know what someone looks like in the bubble, we saw it tonight. I mean, damn, he did not say anything!!! I did not expect everything but some specifics on SOMETHING!!!
Yes, we heard a third party to process claims in the Gulf. But how much will BP give to the Gulf Escrow Fund? And notice, he did not use the word ESCROW!!! And we still don’t know about how MUCH FROM BP.
Yes, he gave a time line of what his administration DID, but who cares about that!!!
And yes, he told us we need to get off fossil fuels. We heard that speech before, but HOW. He did not even say he was going to get on CONGRESS for letting an energy bill just sit there for months!!
I pray to God, that what is happening in the background is worth it for this country in the end, because what I just listened to was nothing.
He said nothing.
None of these people apparently noticed that Obama said nothing specific during his entire primary and general election campaigns. I wish they had noticed he was an empty suit back in 2007-2008, when so many of us did.
But what are we going to do now that just about everyone knows the emperor has no clothes?
Please post links to your favorite speech reactions as well as other news in the comments.
Filed under: General