I swear to FSM, it's absolutely impossible to flick a spot of lint off of your sleeve in this country without someone becoming outraged, belligerent, and nonsensical on the TV box. Like teaching a pig to dance, it wastes valuable time and annoys Sarah Palin.
So the Big Guy, looking uncomfortable perched behind the desk in the Oval Office, tried to draw an intellectual and emotional straight line between where we were and where we need to be when it comes to BP. I'm not sure why it was necessary, but good for him for giving it a shot, knowing full well that it wouldn't solve anything, and it certainly wouldn't quiet his critics. But it's part of the gig, so there he was. Hopey changey.
Within seconds of the President completing his remarks, the verdict was in. It was too little. Too late. Too soft on BP. Too lacking in taking responsibility for a slow government response. Too aggressive. Too many oil jobs will be lost. Too many other jobs have already vanished.
I think MMonides at Balloon Juice captured it perfectly:
IM less than HO, POTUS addressed every issue he needed to last night. He discussed the past, how we got in this situation, his own mistake in believing the safety technology was sufficient, the government response, and BP’s “recklessness.” He went on to commit to the Gulf’s recovery and to accountability, and presented a blue print for our government’s next steps. He tied the situation to our energy policy specifically, but without pushing any hot-button issues. He acknowledged MMS corruption, and his Administration’s plans to address it. He even pointed out how our addiction to fossil fuels has led us to us to risky deep water drilling, and how the environmental costs of fossil fuels far outweighs any energy tax. He continued to be the mature one in the room, asking his opposition for ideas instead of attacks.
It was sober, responsible, and an important update for confused citizens trying to understand this situation, presented by their POTUS in simple language that was designed to inform and reassure.
But, unfortunately he did not declare an end to fossil fuels. Or he did not mention cap and trade specifically. Or he did not put pressure on the Senate. Or he made a religious reference. Or he should not make religious references because he doesn’t attend Sunday services. Or he’s trying to use this disaster as to redistribute wealth.
Here's the problem: It's not his fault. It's ours.
We refuse to drive smaller cars that get better mileage, or force the development of alternative fuel sources. We don't hold Congress accountable for campaign largess provided by oil companies and we feign surprise at the resultant quid pro quo. We capitulate to a revolving door between government and industry that protects existing interests and shifts the burden to the people while a select few amass a fortune.
Each time the issue of energy independence is raised, reasonable discussion is shouted down by the "Drill, Baby, Drill" crowd that fails to acknowledge the connection between renewable energy and national security. We, the people, have for decades funded intolerable regimes and terrorist organizations with our insatiable lust for fuel.
What could be more un-American than sending our best to fight and die because we lack the intestinal fortitude to sacrifice and chart a different course? If my dad was part of the greatest generation, then we're part of the greatest rationalization.
It's getting harder and riskier to find our own oil. More costly, too. The true price is finally playing out before our eyes in the form of dead workers, a crippled company, suffocating fowl, and a decimated environment.
BP shit in our gulf because we enticed them in a myriad of ways. And now the pols and talking heads have the nerve to be outraged as we struggle to find the best way to drag ourselves out of this primordial ooze?
Go grab a shovel or some boom, you sanctimonious poseurs.