This gives pabulum a bad name. Obama wants a bill. Pretty much any bill will do. He didn't say a single word about what he himself wanted. A carbon tax? Cap-and-trade? Nuclear subsidies? Electric cars? Who knows? And he didn't breathe so much as a word about climate change.
I dunno. This speech felt entirely by-the-numbers to me. He told us about the spill. He told us the best minds in the country were working on it. He told us BP would pay for it. He told us he was setting up some commissions. He said he wanted an energy bill of some kind. Then he told us all to pray. It felt like he was reading off a PowerPoint deck.
Leaving out an explicit call for cap-and-trade was a deliberate choice, obviously. But Obama wants action on climate change, and the only way to wean our dependence off fossil fuels is to put a price on carbon. He did not make that explicit, as he has done before, to smaller audiences. He did not call upon Congress to make the political sacrifices necessary, and it may be difficult to reconcile his words, laced with an urgent tone, with the actions he is willing to put his weight behind. Whether he's taken command of the response is immaterial now; it is now his spill to fix. Obama ran for office on the promise of restoring Americans' faith in their government's ability to solve modern problems.
And via Ambinder:
Keith Olbermann, reflecting the sentiments of many Twitter followers, volunteered his opinion that the speech seems to have been "committeed to death."
It was a fairly empty speech to me but I'm sort of immune to these things so I'm not a good gauge. I figured he'd bring up the space program, but also talking about the planes and tanks in WWII was a nice touch. (Maybe he should have talked about how that helped end Roosevelt's error in cutting spending during the depression.)
She did like this line: "[MMS] has become emblematic of a failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility – a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves." I didn't even hear that part. Good for him.
I'm sorry, that's all we have time for, folks.