Tuesday, June 15, 2010

TO: Barack Obama, President; FROM: The Nation; RE: Oilpocalypse

President Obama addressed the nation while sitting in the Oval Office, which, every pundit told us several times, he had not done so far in his administration and thus speaking from the Oval Office signaled the seriousness of his message and the anticipation for some substantive proposals and a call to action was thicker than the black crude choking the turtles and pelicans in the Gulf.

Then... Then...

What that it? Was that FREAKIN' IT??? BP is to come up with a reparations fund that will be administered by a neutral third party? That was ALL the President has? Where is the rumored excise tax to fund a massive public works coastal restoration fund to undo the coastal wetlands damage inflicted by decades of oil drilling and dredging of the Mississippi River? Where is the Kennedyesque moon-shot call to action? Obama's predecessor forty-eight years ago knew how to exercise authority and mobilize a nation from that desk where Barry O. now takes up space:
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. (President John F. Kennedy, We Choose to Go to the Moon, speech at Rice University, Texas, September 12, 1962)

The most concrete thing suggested tonight is probably not something that the president can do. President Obama said he would "inform" the chairman of BP that "he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company's recklessness."

Or, to put it in other words, Obama will tell BP that the rule of law and due process no longer apply to their company and that they should just hand over the company checkbook so the feds can dispense BP's as they see fit.

Douglas Brinkley, formerly of Tulane University and now teaching in Texas, has been in several media venues over the past week touting how his White House sources had let him know that Obama was going to propose a massive TVA-style public works project to save the wetlands. He was on Anderson Cooper 360 June 9th and said that a new "conservation excise tax" was going to fund this needed restoration effort.

Brinkley gave more details about this supposedly soon-to-be-announced project on Garland Robinette's local show Monday here on WWL 870 AM, and suggested that Obama's plan would call for $10-20 billion dollars to re-direct the Mississippi River into the wetlands to help flush out the oil and replenish them with the sediment that is now flowing off the continental shelf. He said that this would come both from BP initially and from the afore-mentioned "conservation excise tax". The full interview can be heard through WWL.Com:

(Or peruse the sloppy computer-generated auto-transcript.)

These are the sort of dramatic, decisive proposals that many of us were expecting from President Obama tonight. And we got nothing. NOTHING. Is Brinkley sucking up in hopes of getting an administration position? Sorry, Doug, the position of Policy Pimp in Chief is already taken.

Mr. President, you do NOT have the courage of your convictions. You hardly talk the talk, let alone walk the walk. And you trick notable public figures like Douglas Brinkley into floating your trial balloons to see what the public reaction will be. One question for Professor Brinkley: Did Obama at least have the courtesy to give you a reach around? We didn't get one.

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