Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Obama on the Gulf Coast, take three

President Obama will be wheels-up to Louisiana in a little bit. His third trip to the oil-soaked state since that BP oil rig blew up in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20. He'll meet with federal and local officials to get the latest on the efforts to cap the gusher and to clean-up the mess spreading across Gulf Coast beaches. As he did on his trip last week, Obama will meet with residents. This time in Grand Isle, La. And it is here that the president could finally put to rest the narrative that he's a robot incapable of demonstrating empathy, let alone show rage. (Why he won't show rage will be the subject of another piece soon.)

I'm not looking for anything dramatic. Obama doesn't need to kick sand or bang on a table or well up with tears as he hears how the biggest natural disaster in U.S. history has devastated families, livelihoods and a way of life. I'm looking for the perfect union between his words and the emotions they ought to convey. Saying, "I'm angry" or "I'm frustrated" doesn't cut it if its delivery has all the emotion of reading a to-do list.

Obama is at his best when he ditches the confinement and formality of the teleprompter. He's real. He's approachable. He's free. We've seen it time and again, most notably at the House Republican retreat in January. That perfect union flashed last night in the president's interview with Larry King.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) gave voice to the anger and frustration of his state in a response to a question about the bumbling CEO of BP, Tony Hayward. That's what the American people want to see from their president. Obama again has the opportunity to do that in Grand Isle today. This time, with feeling.

By Jonathan Capehart  | June 4, 2010; 10:21 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Gore divorce: Talk about inconvenient truths
Next: What Jim Joyce's bad call teaches us


Clearly what the President needs to do is slowly, stoically survey an oil covered beach, the camera panning first the scene, then zooming in to his profile, one tear slowly trailing down his cheek. Yeah, its a ripoff of that ad in the 70s, but the talking heads will eat it up.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 4, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

bsimon1 - LOL, the MSM would absolutely love it and it would be played over and over again until they would then decide he needed a tissue or it wasn't a real tear :).

Posted by: rlj1 | June 4, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

He'll have to call in Bill Clinton to produce the tear on cue.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | June 4, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Why doesn't President Obama scrub down one of those well-oiled pelicans for the TV cameras, attach a gold ID band to one of its legs, and send it on its way? The concerned American public would like to see him get his hands dirty in a meaningful encounter with the problem - away from one of the more protected beaches on the Gulf; any press conference on Grand Isle is an obvious fraud.
While he is there, he could call on on BP to increase the number of persons employed in the cleanup to at least 10,000, and to publically track the square miles of seashore and marshland polluted by the oil spill on day-to-day basis.
The President also needs to firmly acknowledge that the total cost of the cleanup and economic impact on the Gulf will exceed one trillion dollars.

Posted by: TeaPartyDemocrat | June 4, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

It amuses me that you think Obama's choices are A. have a fit or B. do nothing. There are a number of other emotions us other humans use on a regular basis (like sarcasm!) to make a point. His ability to show true emotion is documented (the police acted stupidly!) but you pretend he is so cool. But not too cool to school someone if he thinks it's a teachable moment. Who is HIS teacher? Oh, I forgot, there is none higher.

Posted by: dcjayhawk2 | June 5, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company