Free Markets, Free People
You know, there's so many things wrong with my last tweet that I hardly know where to begin. #
Obama's oil speech, with all the talk about Nobel prizes and PhD's sounded like Fredo from Godfather 2: "I'm smart! I can handle things!" #
Obama's oil speech, with talk of PhDs and Nobel prizes, reminded me of Fredo in Godfather 2: "I'm smart! I can handle things!" #
The consensus appears to be that the Oval Office speech last night fizzled. It didn’t accomplish what the administration and, I’d guess, the Democrats hoped it would. That is show a commanding president in charge of the situation who reflects confidence and leadership.
Which brings us to a poll that’s quite interesting – the USA TODAY/Gallup poll about political viability. By that I mean futures for both the president and the Democratic Congress. And if the poll is to be believed (and I see no reason it shouldn’t), the future isn’t so bright the Dems need shades:
The criticism hasn’t driven down Obama’s overall job-approval rating, at 50% in the new poll, the highest since January. But it may be affecting his standing in other ways. By 51%-46%, the registered voters surveyed said Obama didn’t deserve re-election.
Enthusiasm about voting in the midterm elections fell, especially among Democrats. Just 35% of Democrats say they are “more enthusiastic about voting than usual,” the lowest level in more than a decade and 18 percentage points below that of Republicans.
The poll, of course, doesn’t reflect the mood of voters after the “big speech” so those “overall job-approval rating” numbers may not remain at 50%. But the future is reflected in the enthusiasm, or lack thereof and the doesn’t “deserve re-election” numbers that the poll reports.
If you’ve lost your base, which is how I interpret “enthusiasm” numbers – i.e. how enthused your base is about what you’re doing and will they get off their duffs and vote to keep you going – then you’re pretty much done. Because you can count on a whole lot of independents not being too enthused about Democrats either, as other polling has shown.
And, when you have a 5% gap in “doesn’t deserve to be re-elected”, that’s fairly significant and gives Dems and idea of the job they have in front of them selling this guy the next time.
That all supposes that events keep going the way they have for the past few months. I have little doubt they won’t. And then, for good measure, some international event, of which a number are building, will burst over the horizon and into the news, complicating this administration’s fuzzy focus even more.
Some would describe all this ineptitude and chaos we’re witnessing to be a teachable moment for the voting public – next time pay attention to qualifications. The only problem with that is you are supposed to learn something from teachable moments, and to do that, you have to survive them.
In a word, unimpressive.
Now there are those who are going to say that this man could say nothing that would impress me. Not true. He could say I’m resigning for the good of the country and I’d be mightily impressed. Mainly because that would be the right thing to do and I’d respect that.
However, that’s not his choice. Instead he gave an uninspired speech with a few falsehoods and a few mixed messages.
Primarily it did absolutely nothing to ease my mind or calm my fears that there is any coherent plan in place. In fact, if you review the so-called “response”, it has three components.
1. Continue to try to clean up. We got a lot of statistics and a lot of claims, but essentially oil is still washing up on the shore.
2. Make BP pay. Of course that’s been the plan since the beginning.
3. Appoint lots of commissions. Ray Mabus will form one to develop a “long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan” as quickly as possible. And Obama claims to have established a “National Commission” to “offer recommendations on what additional safety and environmental standards we need to put in place.”
And that’s pretty much the plan. Of course we will have a czar appointed as well, so that Obama can remove himself from these pesky leadership demands once again.
The rest of the speech was an exercise in what Obama does best – selling smoke. He begins it with a false premise:
But a larger lesson is that no matter how much we improve our regulation of the industry, drilling for oil these days entails greater risk. After all, oil is a finite resource. We consume more than 20% of the world’s oil, but have less than 2% of the world’s oil reserves. And that’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean – because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.
Of course his claim about drilling in deeper water because we’re running out of places to drill in shallow water is false. 97% of the shallow water on the Outer Continental Shelf -97%- has been placed off limits by government. The oil companies are forced into deeper water not by the lack of oil, but by government refusing to allow them to drill there.
He also uses the figure for “proven reserves” of 21 billion barrels. However, estimates for the OCS run in the 150 billion barrels and the Bakken Formation (on land) 134 billion barrels.
But those falsehoods provide a platform to launch into another “crisis” that only government can handle – completely revamping our energy mix and insisting on changing it now. After this and health care, who would trust him and the Congress to do that?
And, he tells us the solution he prefers – the House version of cap-and-trade (what he calls “a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill”). He further states, in the midst of a horrible recession, that “there are costs associated with this transition”. Of course there are – and certainly no guarantee any of it will do anything to either “change” the climate or mitigate our energy needs. But it will certainly give government control over another aspect of our lives.
Finally, he throws out a bunch of legislative and regulatory trial balloons all based on breaking our “addiction to fossil fuels”. Like “raising efficiency standards in our buildings” – straight out of the House bill which would require a federal inspector to OK your house before you could sell it to ensure it meets all fed standards. He pitched wind and solar energy as a new “standard”. And he also wasn’t happy with the amount the energy industry was spending on research and development for new sources of energy. He’d like to see that boosted.
In effect, the bottom line is more government – much more government. The same government so magnificently handling this crisis in the gulf and may others.
If nothing else, this speech cemented in my mind what this President is – an administrator, not a leader. And in that position, that is not a good thing to be.