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Obama's next speech on the gulf oil spill: rally the nation

We are so used to President Obama delivering stirring speeches that reflect America's dreams for itself and future generations that when he gives one that is perfectly okay, it's a total letdown. On that spectrum, last night's Oval Office address was a letdown, which is why the president is going to have to do it again if he is to make good on his insistence that he will not accept inaction on moving to a clean-energy future. But this time he needs to do it in a venue that has proven to be a winner for him: a joint session of Congress.

When Obama needed to rally the nation and stiffen the spine of Congress around health-care reform last year, he took to the well of the House of Representatives to make his case. After a summer of angry town hall meetings on health-care reform, Obama got things back on track and regained momentum with a September address. (The Affordable Care Act became law in March.) That's because Obama feeds off the energy in the room. The applause, the hisses, the boos, the "You lie!" moments and his reactions to them allow him to connect in a way that eludes him in the isolation of the Oval Office or a statement delivered from the Rose Garden.

The president is going to have to go back to the well one more time. And when he does, he must expand on these key passage in last night's speech.

For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we have talked and talked about the need to end America’s century-long addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires. Time and again, the path forward has been blocked – not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor.

The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries that should be here in America. Each day, we send nearly $1 billion of our wealth to foreign countries for their oil. And today, as we look to the Gulf, we see an entire way of life being threatened by a menacing cloud of black crude.

We cannot consign our children to this future. The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash American innovation and seize control of our own destiny....

Now, there are costs associated with this transition. And some believe we can’t afford those costs right now. I say we can’t afford not to change how we produce and use energy – because the long-term costs to our economy, our national security, and our environment are far greater.

...the one approach I will not accept is inaction. The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is too big and too difficult to meet.

Obama needs to talk more about the national security implications of our addiction to fossil fuels. He needs to talk more about that $1 billion Americans are sending overseas and how a price on carbon would allow us to keep that money here at home -- for our benefit. And he needs to talk more about how the transition to a clean energy future would mean a more prosperous future for the U.S.

The president has talked about all of these things before. But he needs to make them the central focus of a call-to-arms address that -- you got it -- rallies the nation and stiffens the spine of Congress to get something done. Obama then must follow it up with a sustained sales effort. One day to the Texas oil patch. Another day to Detroit. And another to Silicon Valley. Each stop punctuating the problem and solution to our addiction to fossil fuels and imported oil and how the American people have their futures in their hands.

The conventional wisdom says that with mid-term elections coming, there will be no movement on the comprehensive energy bill clogged in the Capitol. The president has to shake that up. The proposal must be improved. It could be changed. Congress and the White House could come to their senses and get behind the simpler carbon tax. Or perhaps they'll give the Clear Act, sponsored by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) a deserved second look. But they have to do something.

"And yet, time and again, we have refused to settle for the paltry limits of conventional wisdom," Obama said as he reminded us of the extraordinary efforts that put an American on the moon and produced enough airplanes and tanks during World War II. Obama must ensure that that grand American tradition continues -- by going to the well one more time.

By Jonathan Capehart  | June 16, 2010; 7:43 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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I have been in the oilfeild since 1974. I have seen alot, but not like the mistakes BP is doneing. The oil needs to be stop not captured. A bridge plug and packer go thru the blowout perventer and set the bridge plug pump some cement on top will stop the flow of oil. Ask anyone out of the Permian Basin area or Boots and Coots or Cudd. Obama need to have people that has been in the oilpatch for sometime to be his experts to help with this matter.

Posted by: kj_35_74 | June 16, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I have been in the oilfeild since 1974. I have seen alot, but not like the mistakes BP is doneing. The oil needs to be stop not captured. A bridge plug and packer go thru the blowout perventer and set the bridge plug pump some cement on top will stop the flow of oil. Ask anyone out of the Permian Basin area or Boots and Coots or Cudd. Obama need to have people that has been in the oilpatch for sometime to be his experts to help with this matter.

Posted by: kj_35_74 | June 16, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse


You have found the SOLUTION to the crisis in Gulf.

Obama needs to give another speech to Congress.

That should fix it!

(We are all just so screwed)

Posted by: TECWRITE | June 16, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I agree that talking about a problem is a far cry from a solution, but if a president doesn't address the anxieties, aspirations and concerns of a nation then we know he is far out of step with the American public. Obama should take a lesson from FDR and use the media to really understand what we need and want--and then talk to us directly about it. That could have happened last night, but didn't, so I agree that he'll have to try again. Roosevelt historian David Woolner as an excellent analysis of the address up today:

Posted by: BryceCovert | June 16, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Come on, Capeheart!
How can you analyze and cover a politician with whom you cannot find the least fault.
He gives a bad speech, and you can't even admit that is possible, no, it is "perfectly OK"!!
If you can't ever criticize Obama, what are we to think of you and your judgement?
Are you an operative?
A paid hack?
A propagandist?
What? Not a reporter, that's for sure.

Posted by: johnL1 | June 16, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Have you ever stopped for a minute to think about exactly how an energy tax would lead to less energy use?

President Obama has admitted that utility rates would "necessarily skyrocket" under his plan.

Adding several hundred dollars a month to the average homeowner's bills will force him to move to a smaller house, which will use less energy. But who will now buy the house that the government has made too expensive to live in?

Drastically raising the price of gasoline will force people out of their large cars, so they will no longer be able to get to work, since they can't afford a fancy new Prius.

So, after everyone loses their homes and jobs, we will "reboot" into an awesome new world, where everyone lives in tiny government-assigned apartments next to rail lines, where they will be whisked to their government-assigned jobs.

Too bad I'm too old to get to live through all that fun.

Posted by: jaxmoons04 | June 16, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Why aren't all the prayers working? Why hasn't the oil stopped?

Posted by: Please_Fix_VAs_Roads | June 16, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Capehart is clueless. People want the well plugged. It defies logic that it is still spewing oil. Reading off a teleprompters won't plug the well. Enacting a new energy tax won't plug the well. Having BP escrow a bunch of money won't plug the well. Going on TV with no solutions was stupid. Most americans at this point realize the guy is a fraud. He is just exposing himself to the remainder that haven't caught on yet. Being president is probably the most difficult job there is. It's over most people's head and it's clearly over this guys head.

Posted by: peterg73 | June 16, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Sir, if Obama makes one more "speech", I'm going to throw up. He must get paid by the word or something because he just goes on and on and on....

We've had months of nothing but speeches. blah blah blah blah blah. He's inept. Even his staunchest supporters are disappointed.

I voted for him and I'm embarrassed to admit it.

You know what he's done? In a matter of months he's turned citizens against each other. The entire country has degenerated. He turns us into a mob with torches and pitchforks; looking to hang the big bag wolf of the week which he has so thoughtfully picked out for us.

I'm sick of him. I can't wait for his term to be over.

He's lost this Democrat voter.


Posted by: jrsnotary | June 16, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

It was BP who did the damage this time.... but it could quite as easilly have been any one of the other MEGA Oil Barons...... they even admitted that themselves. The only way to prevent this from happening ever again, as they said themselves is NOT to drill in Deepwater. Would be evn better if all the money going into oil drilling and research when INSTEAD into clean and alternative energy resources.

Did You Know?
BP engineers alerted federal regulators at the Minerals Management Service that they were having difficulty controlling the Macondo well (Deepwater Horizon) six weeks before the disaster, according to e- mails released by the Energy and Commerce Committee.

“I don’t think this would have happened on Exxon’s watch,” Tom Bower, author of “The Squeeze: Oil, Money and Greed in the 21st Century,” said in a June 11 Bloomberg Television interview. “They’d be much more careful and much more conscious of the need to supervise subcontractors.”

WELL excuse me your sainted Exxon....... and Chevron and ConocoPhillips.

Let’s just take a look at a few of your past misdemeanours, and then we can consider again – if the moratorium on deepwater drilling should be lifted, and place it all firmly back into your nice clean hands!

Posted by: justmeint | June 16, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Obama Plans To Sneak Through Carbon Tax By Stealth
President Obama is planning to sneak through his job-killing, economy wrecking carbon tax by stealth according to the Washington Post, by passing a weakened bill and then adding in cap and trade provisions after the heat is off following the November elections.
Described as the “lame duck climate strategy,” Obama is planning to secure enough votes in the Senate to pass a weakened energy bill and then drag out the conference long enough to ensure the stronger provisions contained in the original House version are added “after lawmakers have faced voters in November, thereby cushioning the vote’s political impact.”
“Several sources familiar with the administration’s thinking confirmed it has started pressing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to bring up a slimmed-down energy and climate bill next month. Such a measure would pass more easily than a comprehensive climate bill, and could still be negotiated with the broader bill the House passed a year ago,” reports the Washington Post.
“The Senate is expected to try and push a watered down bill with the hope of moving towards a carbon tax later on,” we reported on June 10, which is exactly the approach now being adopted by Obama. The elite are still desperate to impose a consumption tax on Americans as part of the move towards a “post-industrial revolution” and the kind of nightmare “green economy” that has left Spain with a 20 per cent unemployment rate. In a so-called green economy, over 2.2 jobs are lost for every “green job” created.
The government has aggressively exploited the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to manufacture an artificial urgency in an effort to speed the passage of cap and trade, an agenda firmly supported by the transnational oil corporations Obama is claiming to be reigning in. British Petroleum is one of the founding members of the cap and trade lobby, and has consistently “lobbied for tax hikes, greenhouse gas restraints, the stimulus bill, the Wall Street bailout, and subsidies for oil pipelines, solar panels, natural gas and biofuels.”
Yesterday, White House spokesman Ben LaBolt invoked the oil spill disaster to justify passage of the carbon tax bill. Obama , even went to the extreme of comparing the oil spill to 9/11, proving that he is perfectly willing to exploit the horror of nearly 3,000 dead Americans in a completely unrelated event nine years ago to underhandedly push his political agenda.

Also from: The Washington Post


Posted by: PaulRevere4 | June 18, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

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