President Obama’s Address

There’s plenty of blame to go around in this disaster. President Obama didn’t create the culture of deregulation and corruption that allowed BP to put profits before safety. On the other hand, that culture went on with business as usual during his administration. I don’t want to see posturing and bluff, but I wish the response to the crisis was faster and more effective.

Obama used the second half of his speech to talk about energy independence, and even dared to say that we would have to sacrifice to achieve our long-term goals. This is a challenge, if we are up for it. This is a challenge we should hold our leaders to. On NPR today I was listening to working people in Louisiana saying that the hold on deep-water drilling should be lifted. They are oil rig workers losing wages. We are all addicted to oil and involved in oil politics, if only as consumers.

BP is one ticking bomb that went off. There are other rigs out there, pipelines, aging nuclear plants. Change won’t be easy but what alternative do we have?

I’m not an engineer, I don’t know if there is a better way to stop the damage than BP’s slow and suspect response. They haven’t shown trustworthiness. They just talk about money as if that could undo the damage. I fear that we didn’t send in the Marines to cap the oil because the Marines couldn’t do it. We’re stuck with the corporation that caused the mess.

Finally, are we doing all we can to contain the oil? That’s what the citizens of the Gulf Coast need to see. We need to stop the damage before anyone can be made whole.

MORE: Paul Levinson has a good post on this that is also up on Buzzflash.

TEXT OF THE SPEECH: At Americablog, here.

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15 responses

  1. Donald Wolberg | Reply

    Unfortuantely, most of the “doings” of the current administration are as devoid of content as the marvelous tenure of President Warren G. Harding, a very affable conservative, and Harding’s “Ohio Gang” has been replaced by Mr. Obama’s “Chicago Gang” dominated by very left of center notions of economics and history. Mr. Obama has none of the self-assurance or confidence of Mr. Harding, but is equally inept and devoid of understanding this nation or its exceptionalism in history or its economic needs as was that older occupant of the White House. We do not drill for oil, gas, or mine coal or much of anything any more. We are content to depend on others. Mr. Obama’s war in Afghanistan has claimed more than 1000 American lives and goes no where. We have abrogated our role in science, in space and in productivity. This is not a roadmap to greatness.

    There are facts that need to be considered. More than 31,000 offshore platforms function every day around the world. Hostorically nations with directed risk aversion as cornerstones of policy are nations devoid of a future. Bad things and errors happen. Blame is fixed and solutions accomplished. The Obama administration is as failed an administration as that of Harding, and may have exceeded the failure of Mr. Carter’s tenure in the White House.

    Energy intensive nations are nations of accomplishment. The failure of the Obama administration is a failure of leadership and ability. Unfotunately, these failures come at critical times in history. The least expreienced or capable President since Warren G. Harding, Mr. Obama seems to lack any understanding of significant needs of this nation or its economy, coupled with a miserable sense of history or “place” on the world stage. The nations pays the price.

    Nothing Mr. Obama and his cadre of silly politicians do will stop the world demand for energy and will actually harm this nation, lose more jobs, and strengthen the economic base of the newly emerging world. China and other nations already have permits from Cuba to develop the same oil reserves as BP about 50 miles off the Florida coast and elsewhere. China and other nations will develop the same oil reserves, more abundant than ever thought, while a badly led nation, the U.S., sinks deeper into a quagmire of debt and dependence. It is amazing that the affable Mr. Harding looks very good these days.

  2. Wow, those who hate Obama like Donald above are indeed so very determined to bring him down. “Silly cadre?” What a stupid insult for an administration that has by and large tried to geovern sensibly, stopping the free-fall he inherited with a stimulus package and bail-out, bringing health care options to tens of millions, started us on the road to financial reform, to rebuilding our rail infrastructure that is so much more energy-efficient, tried to promote alternate energy to fossil fuels while taking a balanced approach to expanding drilling for oil, but not the blank check the energy indusry wants. Of course there is little he can do to get sensible policies thru a Congrss still dominated by finacial and fossil fuel industies, while the rule-or-ruin right-wing Obama haters rule the airwaves and so many of his base supporters snipe at him for not being able to deleiver everything all at once.
    I think Obama is the clearly the best President of my adult lifetime, and is our best hope politically for improving the country.

  3. I guess there is no middle ground on Obama.I think he has made the worst appointments in recent memory.
    He is the worst president in my lifetime.
    Well,Jimmy Carter was no bargain,and George W Bush was a dolt and Nixon ruined his good works with paranoia;but still-this man hasn’t the temperament or the experience to deal with the job.His foreign relations posture is scary.
    I think Hillary Clinton is using her position to sandbag him.
    I still can’t figure out why so many Cinton operatives are in his administration.Keeping your enemies close is good in the Godfather,but this is ridiculous.
    He lacks a work ethic.One windy speech after another.
    It’s nice we still have a right to say we really dislike the president.Apparently the post-communist Russia isn’t so free.They just seized books critical of Putin.I thought Medvedev was the president there-oh,yeah,and I’m Nelson Rockefeller.

  4. Nancy,

    I really wonder if Bush was still in office how you would have written this article.

  5. Don, I’m sure that history will compare this disaster to Hurricane Katrina. What outrages me is that oil is still spewing. What I fear is that the US doesn’t have any better way to stop it than BP’s failed efforts. I fear that other rigs are time bombs and all of them were built without safeguards for this kind of failure. I wish Obama had clamped down on them in his first year of office, but listening to Louisiana politicians already asking for the ban on deepwater drilling to be lifted it’s clear that we are deeply connected to international oil. Even calling for a pause in an emergency is difficult.
    I plan to take the President’s words about alternative energy as a promise and keep him to it.

  6. Shallow water drilling is unsightly,but safer because the wellhead can be accessed
    relatively easily.Ocean depths are the most hostile environment imaginable-worse than outer space,where humans can go with the right suit.There is NO right suit for 5,000 feet down.
    The environmentalist pressure against shallow water operations has had quite the opposite effect they hoped for.
    Obama’s failure was mainly in allowing bureaucrats below his level to dither around-case in point:not clearing LA Gov.Jindal to construct berms.How much damage could those do to the environment compared to this horror story?
    No one expects Obama to have the technical solution,but a “leader’should be expected to light a fire under some peoples’ rear ends to take aggressive action.It may turn out a relief well is the only solution and hope THAT doesn’t blow out.

  7. Donald Wolberg | Reply

    BP was of course denied the right to put holes in shallow water (180-300 ft_) by the Obama administration and then required to go for the deep and far offshore sites at 3,000-5,000 ft. Of course BP itself did not do the actual drilling but subcontracted that work. That appears to be a fact. China, India, Germany and apparently Canada will be drilling in the Gulf at depth, but with Cuban permits. It is likely that at least some of these wells will intercept the same oil that BP. Another clear fact is that some 25,000 folks are now out of work because of the ban on drillin by Americans, and another 150,000 or so will be impacted by the ban on operations from the money multiplier effect…$1 spent circulates through the economy 5-6 times. Of course, as with the Boxer-Kerry CO2 bill, nothing changes in the world. Other countries will get the same oil and sell it back to us, and the Chinese and Indians will open a new coal-fired power plant every week.

    In the end, BP may go bust and so will the investments of millions of folks with BP holdings in their retirement accounts. In the end, BP will likely go chapter 11 (is that correct? and not chapter 7?), and the company will be sold, likely to the Chinese or India.

  8. Barbara Boxer may just be the stupidest person in either house of Congress.Not counting people with organic brain disorders-that isn’t stupidity,just bad luck.

  9. Nancy,

    You didn’t really answer my question…which I guess is an answer unto itself.

    Me, I don’t fault Obama for the spill, but his belief that BP had it under control was missplaced as was Bush’s that the levy’s would hold. The oil spill could have just as longlasting effects as Katrina and that’s got to boggle the mind.

    Countless number of people have offered advice on how to cap the spill and neither BP nor the administration seem to have taken many of them seriously. To me, that’s where there is blame to be placed as stopping the flow of oil should have (should be) priority number one and if you’re telling me there isn’t one person among 6 billion+ who knows how to stop an offshore oil leak we need to stop every single off-shore tanker in operation…as of yesterday!

    But I think the pride of BP and a bit of naivety on the part of the administration allowed this problem to go on and on, even today. This bull-headedness was typical of the previous administration and not something I expected from Obama. Facing the first crisis in his administration, he’s not passing the test.

  10. Donald Wolberg | Reply

    The estimate for the oil in the deposit is 40-45 million barrels. If 50,000 are emerging from the failed well each day (and this number is likely high if only because the rate of oil varies during any period of time, the math is fairly clear. There will be no more oil to be lost from that well in perhaps 3 months. Actually the rate of flow will diminish as the reservoir is depleted. Apparently reports seem to indicate the current containment device is capturing 20-25,000 barrels a day and will soon catch 35,000. At $70/barrel, a fair amount of dollars will accumulate to help pay the damages and perhaps save the company from bankruptcy (along with its 24,000 employees). Efforts to boycott BP gas stations are largely dumb—as I recall, BP sold the stations some years ago and they are mostly privately owned operations.

  11. Don, images of Katrina I will not forget are people in wheelchairs dying in the heat on highway overpasses, the Superdome, nursing home patients drowning as the water rose for days, Memorial Hospital. It’s fair to say that Obama should have had more tankers at the site to retrieve the oil from day one. But how did we ever accept that we couldn’t get a boat out to rescue someone from a roof?
    The damage from Katrina has not been healed five years later. The test for Obama will be whether he can turn us toward conservation and renewable energy. That is a bigger challenge than repairing New Orleans.
    I don’t think I watched Pres. Bush speak after Katrina. I was outraged. I don’t know what kind of speech he would give if he were president today. He and Dick Cheney are deeply in debt to big oil. Cheney successfully fought attempts to shine a light on his energy commission. It will probably come out now.

  12. Cheney certinly was in bed with big oil-and Bush too.
    And Al Gore through his own family!
    Obama received the largest single donation given by BP.
    Your tunnel vision is showing.
    Wind farms and solar panels aren’t going to do the trick.
    Nuclear energy is the best alternative right now.
    We should also try to use more natural gas in place of oil for home heating because we have enormous reserves of that substance and it’s cleaner.No spills either.

  13. All I’m saying is that when we can’t call a spade a spade because of either party label, we think the person is ‘nicer’, or that the person has greater morals than someone else…that’s when we become complacent and things like this happen.

    I wish this had happened during the Bush era because then people would be railing against him and doing everything in their power to resolve the situation. It’s disappointing that with this president, he’s mostly getting a pass…and the oil still flows…

  14. Wow, guys, let’s get some facts here.

    Mr W, this well was approved and started during the Bush years. It only started producing early in 2009. That is, the heavy lifting–including permits, etc–was all done under GWB. Obama had NOTHING to do with it.

    Second, the federal gov’t has no capability of containing, or even assessing what is happening on site. The tech is so expensive, and so specialized, that the only people that can reallly tell what is going on are the oil companies. So, no admin in existence had the capacity to do anything when the leak happened except take the oil company’s word.

    The Tremendous Difference between this and Katrina is that Bush & Co could have done something to help the people there. Instead, he chose not to. He went to a fundraiser and played guitar (not the fiddle) while NO drowned (rather than burned). Oh, right, he flew over at 10,000 feet to pose for a photo while looking concerned.

    Have you been paying attention? The leak is a mile below the surface, at a depth where everything has to be done by remote control deep submarine. Does the US–or any–gov’t have a fleet of these things lying around? No. And if anyone suggested that we should have, the RW fringe would start screaming about the unnecessary cost.

    So, what the heck is Obama supposed to be doing, Don? Putting on a wet suit and diving down with a dagger between his teeth to stop this? How–exactly–is he ‘getting a pass?”

    The only admin that had the capacity to do anything about this was GWB, by making sure that BP was following proper guidelines. I mean, BP was violating it’s own procedures by cutting corners wherever possible.

    Where was the oversight from Bush? Having sex and doing coke with oil company lobbyists.

    And Don, your question that Nancy didn’t answer is specious. Obama had nothing to do with how this thing got off (under) the ground. So, no, she wouldn’t have written this if Bush had been in office, because the actual culprit would have been left holding the bag.

    It’s like all the other crap that the GOP left behind: two (count ‘em) wars and the worst financial crisis since the 30s.

    As for shallow water drilling, let’s not forget that Jeb Bush put the kibosh to that in Fla when he was gov, b/c he didn’t want it to ruin the tourist industry. So trying, again, to foist this on the tree-hugging Dems is, again, specious.

    And I really loved the gratuitous insult on Barbara Boxer.

    But I really loved how Joe Barton grovelled in public and begged forgiveness of BP. Guess he thinks that BP shouldn’t be held accountable. And House Minority Leader Boehner, who thinks that we, the taxpayers, should pay for the clean-up. Oh, he “took it back,” but a gaffe is what happens when a politician accidentally tells the truth.

    You see, the GOP doesn’t think taxpayers should pay to help people, but they should pay to clean up the messes that Big Corporations leave behind.

    Privatize the Profits. Socialize the Risks.

  15. There was nothing gratuitous about the remark on Boxer.She quite frequently makes a fool of herself while sounding like a 17 year old running for class president.
    It has nothing to do with her being left wing or whatever.
    I think I made a similar point that you did about the difficulty of remediating the problem-my problem aith Obama was his inability to get bureaucrats to make decisions more quickly.That is a disease of government in general.
    He has little chance of getting his cap and trade bill through the Senate and even less chance of passing the alien amnesty cloaked as “comprehensive immigration reform”through Congress.
    He may be facing a filibuster on Kagan.
    His approval rating has plummeted and his party will pay the price in the midterms.
    Don’t be surprised if he gets challenged for the nomination by the Secretary of State.His administration right to the top is full of her former associates-the perfect setting for Byzantine machinations.

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