Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Guest Post: Obama and the Oil Spill

This post comes from Mike, a friend of The Couchwarmers. Thankfully, he's into current events, because I most definitely am not. For me, "current events" means what I'm eating for dinner. Mike's post uses this column as its basis. All opinions expressed are those of the writer, because, well -- let's face it, when it comes to politics, I don't have any. Mike, take it away:

I like Peggy Noonan's writing a lot, and think this is dead on. Okay, I know she writes for the Wall Street Journal, but she's reasonable and thoughtful. Regardless, at some point, the campaign-like Obama worship has got to stop and intelligent moderate views must prevail. There have to be expectations for his presidency besides passing costly, watered down legislation that will need revision down the road. Personally, I love reading both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal to actually know what is going on in the middle and reality. Synergy.

Now, I love the guy personally. I love his daughters. (Michelle is aight.) But he sucks so bad at his job right now, it's not reasonable. It really is getting to near Dubya. It's not the evil, invading, profiteering version, but the incompetent, unsure, do nothing, heckuva-job-brownie one.

His actions over the last 40 days are unacceptable and incomprehensible from the standpoint of the gulf states, the country and environment as a whole, and his own political well-being and continued ambitions.

From a self-interested perspective, he couldn't be doing any worse. He's said before he'd accept being a good one-term president. Well, right now, he's on track to be a really bad one-term president, with a potentially disastrous historical legacy, because if it seems like he's attacked and portrayed unfairly now, wait until he's voted out. The Texas school board will probably create Birther textbooks.


  1. 1) I do the same thing with the NYT/WSJ combo.
    2) couldn't agree more

  2. hmmmm...

    I'm not arguing with your logic, per se. I just have yet to see a legitimate explanation of what he should have done differently. This noonan article casts a ton of blame but did not make a single positive suggestion for what he should have done differently. she blames him for trying to distance himself from the oil spill, which he should of course do because it wasn't his fault! And it's not like his administration is sitting on some super secret solution to the problem. Not everything is the man's fault.

    I think ultimately, the Obama administration is of the mindset that the will of the American people does not always lead us to what's best for the American people. Noonan's article heaps all the blame on his administration, when in fact it should be placed largely on the "do-nothing" congress (especially the "be contrary for contrarian's sake" republicans).

    You can't blame the man for being in an impossible situation. Honestly, if you were president, what would you have done differently?

  3. "Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others!!!"

  4. I agree that nobody expects Barry to put on a wet suit and go a mile down with a blow torch and that this, for the time being, is an unsolvable problem.

    But the President holds a unique position in American life (obviously, but let me explain). Not only is he the chief executive and commander in chief, but he is also the ceremonial head of state. We don't have a Queen, i.e., someone to comfort us and make us feel better when catastrophes happen while the chief executive, like a prime minister, tries to solve the problem (and don't use Elizabeth II as an example because if you've seen "The Queen," you know she's more tone deaf than Dubya). But the American President is all of that at once.

    "He was supposed to be competent" doesn't mean he should be able to fix the problem in an engineering or technical sense. It expresses the surprise at his initial total lack of urgency concerning the people of the gulf states and yes, literally, their feelings. He provided no support and carried on, seemingly tone deaf, for quite a while like W.

    Barry is probably the greatest rhetorician in the history of the universe, and maybe the coolest guy ever too (except for when he throws out the first pitch). That's why it's so disappointing for him to take the attitude, well, "What can I do?"

    He was so good at connecting with the voters and inspiring them during the campaign. And now it's like, we got married and he doesn't need to worry about looks or feelings anymore. At a time when entire industries are being destroyed and people are being displaced, I would've expected Barry to realize that this isn't the time for professorial intuition; this is actually one of the rare situations where we want him to shoot from the gut and empathize with those affected; express some measure of outrage at the fact that the gulf states are about to invaded by an army of oil plumes.

  5. Perhaps, but we knew what we were getting into when we elected the man. His whole selling point was that he doesn't get flustered when things go wrong, and he didn't. The very first thing he did was fly down there and talk to all the people on site, but I guess he loses points for not being public enough with his outrage.

    What we have here on Obama's side is a PR issue, not an issue of substance or policy. If people want to complain that he doesn't seem upset enough, well I guess that's a subjective call. But he's done everything I personally would want a president to do in this situation. Laying on the alligator tears would not make the situation better. For what it's worth, at least he didn't take the opportunity to score cheap political points like Palin did (she had the nerve to use this spill as more evidence of why we should drill in Alaska instead of off-shore. Don't get me started on her...)

  6. Yes, agreed; it's totally subjective because it's an emergency that can't be solved for the time being. So it is (was) all about appearances. And in recent days, he has been more outspoken. Just last night he explained that lashing out is not productive and he provided a fuller explanation of his mindset and what they are trying to do. But it took him a while to get out there and explain what was happening.

    It's great to have a thoughtful president, who actually thinks things through by absorbing information and then making a rational, calculated decision rather than having a guy sputter out nonsensical, language mangling sentence fragments. Barry's initial level of detachment, which was pretty high, was so disappointing because of the high regard he is held in. (And yeah, I wouldn't write what I actually want to do about Grandma Palin because I don't want to get Couchwarmers investigated by the FBI.)