The President gave a speech today about the oil spill in the Gulf Coast. He’s really mad. Yep, his staff even leaked to reporters that he was going to show everyone just how mad he is. This morning, ABC’s Jake Tapper reported that Obama would express “his ‘anger and frustration’ with the companies responsible for the spill, a senior White House official tells ABC News.” During the speech, Obama did indeed express “anger and frustration”:
I saw firsthand the anger and frustration felt by our neighbors in the Gulf. And let me tell you, it is an anger and frustration that I share as President. And I’m not going to rest or be satisfied until the leak is stopped at the source, the oil in the Gulf is contained and cleaned up, and the people of the Gulf are able to go back to their lives and their livelihoods.
FYI, that seems to be a theme this week: On Monday, a group of vets lobbying to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell were told by White House staffers that Obama was “aggravated and frustrated” at the slow pace of repealing that law. Yes, if only the President had any power or a bully pulpit to fight for repeal of DADT. But, I digress.
There was a time when Obama could have spoken with moral authority on this issue. During the campaign, he dismissed John McCain’s support for offshore drilling. Obama even dissed McCain for flip-flopping on the issue, noting that it wasn’t the kind of change the American people were looking for. In February of 2009, Obama’s administration blocked plans for offshore drilling. But, all that changed on March 31, 2010. That’s when President Obama flip-flopped to become a proponent of offshore drilling.
So, what I’m still wondering is what genius at the White House decided this was a good strategy? Who convinced the President to flip? And, why did the President listen? Today, Obama talked tough. But, I think the speech he gave on March 31, 2010, says more about his presidency and leadership than what he said today. If Obama is angry and frustrated, part of that anger should be aimed at whoever came up with this:
There will be those who strongly disagree with this decision, including those who say we should not open any new areas to drilling. But what I want to emphasize is that this announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies more on homegrown fuels and clean energy. And the only way this transition will succeed is if it strengthens our economy in the short term and the long run. To fail to recognize this reality would be a mistake.
On the other side, there are going to be some who argue that we don’t go nearly far enough; who suggest we should open all our waters to energy exploration without any restriction or regard for the broader environmental and economic impact. And to those folks I’ve got to say this: We have less than 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves; we consume more than 20 percent of the world’s oil. And what that means is that drilling alone can’t come close to meeting our long-term energy needs. And for the sake of our planet and our energy independence, we need to begin the transition to cleaner fuels now.
So the answer is not drilling everywhere all the time. But the answer is not, also, for us to ignore the fact that we are going to need vital energy sources to maintain our economic growth and our security. Ultimately, we need to move beyond the tired debates of the left and the right, between business leaders and environmentalists, between those who would claim drilling is a cure all and those who would claim it has no place. Because this issue is just too important to allow our progress to languish while we fight the same old battles over and over again.
Yep. That battle over oil spills got so darned tired.
And, who is the genius responsible for this: