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Obama's address: grand setting, weak policies

The main impression left by President Obama’s address on the oil spill is the chasm between the ambition of its commitments and the thinness of its policies. Obama pledges to "fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long as it takes." Then he authorizes National Guard deployments that he cannot order, urging "governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible." He will "meet with" the chairman of BP to urge him to set aside sufficient recovery funds. He has "asked" someone who works for him to develop a long-term Gulf Coast restoration plan. He will bring "new leadership" to the Minerals Management Service. He will push for energy legislation he supported even before the current disaster, while pronouncing announcing himself "happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party."

The setting of the Oval Office creates an expectation of decisive executive action. It recalls memories of President Dwight Eisenhower dispatching federal troops to Little Rock or President John F. Kennedy announcing the naval "quarantine" of Cuba. This speech will not be confused with those precedents. Obama urges others to take action, kibitzes with corporate executives, shifts some government personnel and signals the start of a review process. A crisis is met with a study. The action verbs in this speech have somehow gone missing. It is all rather limp and weak.

For this I would not blame the speechwriters, who must ultimately work with the policy they are given. But someone at the White House is responsible for putting Obama in a dramatic setting with little worth saying. Whoever they are, they have not done the president, or the country, much service.

By Michael Gerson  | June 15, 2010; 9:43 PM ET
Categories:  Gerson  | Tags:  Michael Gerson  
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Comments

Mr. Gerson wants a better speech (like the ones he wrote for Bush about mushroom clouds) and "decisive executive action" (torture, I presume). But I'm sure Mr. Gerson would prefer that nothing is done to BP, Halliburton or anyone like that ....

Posted by: gsross | June 15, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson wants a better speech (perhaps like the one he wrote for Bush about mushroom clouds) and "decisive executive action" (torture, I presume). But I'm sure Mr. Gerson would prefer that nothing is done to BP, Halliburton or any corporate entity...or his former bosses, Cheney/Bush, the masters of this catastrophe. Yes, I still blame Cheney/Bush and will forevermore because that's how long they will be to blame. (If someone burns down your house, when is that no longer their fault?)

Posted by: gsross | June 15, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson is unfortunately correct---this is the Jimmy Carter "MEOW" speech all over again. Nothing to say but using the trappings of the most powerful office in the world to say it. The Oval Office enhances some, such as JFK or Reagan. It diminishes Mr. Obama.

Posted by: dan1138 | June 15, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Pres. Obama's re-election slogan... I'm damned if I do! I'm damned if I don't! So just give me your damn vote, I must be doing something right!

Posted by: AverageJane | June 15, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

"The main impression left by President Obama’s address on the oil spill is the chasm between the ambition of its commitments and the thinness of its policies." I would add this chasm will not be crossed because this President clearly does not possess the requisite executive and managerial skills needed to translate ideas and concern into responsible and accountable action. When we need a Jack Welch or a Larry Ellison or an Alan Mullaly type, we get a Jimmy Carter sequel. He's in over his head with respect to actually governing. Simple as that. Unfortunately for the country.

Posted by: CREEBOLD | June 15, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

If I speed at 120 miles an hour, the police will do anything possible to stop me. They will not accept the fact that I am speeding and did not put brakes on the car.

BP is a similar speeder. They have to stop.

Obama should give BP 48 hours to stop this disaster, or do to their company what the police would do with my car: impound it ... take it over. Use the assets and resources to stop this national emergency and give the BP shareholders back what is left.

Capitalism was supposed to prevent this disaster. It has failed.

It is time to take over BP.

Posted by: colonelpanic | June 16, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

During the 2008 campaign, when he clinched the Democratic nomination, Obama said that night was the moment that the "planet began to heal."

Few public people in history have ever had such a large gap between ego and actual skills.

Obama's actual skills seemed confined to (a) reading from a telepromter, (b) finger-pointing, (c) apologizing for the United States, and (d) sensing in just about every event a rationale, no matter how cockeyed, for raising taxes and extending the government control over our lives.

But like his days in Chicago, he never really accomplishes anything. He talks, talks, and talks so more.

He takes a trillion dollars of our future wealth for a "stimulus" plan that stimulates nothing but government hiring, and he strongarms Congress into passing a "healthcare" plan built on a torrent of known falsehoods that are only now emerging.

He contends his strategy with Iran will stop that country's hateful regime from getting a nuclear weapon. Well, it hasn't, and any month now Iran will explode one. We all know this. And when Iranians do have one, Obama will, as ever, blame someone else.

He is quick to blame cops, the facts be damned, and he is quick to castigate Britain and Israel, our closest friends. But if you're a Latin American tinpot dictator or an Arab tyrant committed to Israel's destruction, Mr. Obama will plant one on your behind.

To himself and his dwindling, purblind supporters, Barack Obama is simply too special and too gifted and too indescribably wonderful to be assigned blame. What else can we expect from a man whose principal output in life before running for president was writing two books about himself?

And when the Democrats lose 70 or more seats this autumn, those same deluded supporters, then just a modest fraction of their current number, and Obama himself will contend that lurking behind the defeat is racism.

They will do the same when Obama loses 35 or more states in 2012, by which the American people will be even more tired of Obama's self-absorbed personality than they are now.

And when his empty-suited, swelled-head do-nothing is at last tossed from office, the United States of America will begin to heal.

Posted by: SARileyMan | June 16, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

@colonelpanic: Your post is childish. There are laws that say when the police may impound a car. These laws are passed by a legislature. There is no law allowing the president of the United States to "impound" BP. Obama, despite his apparent wishes at times, is not a dictator. We remain a nation of laws, and even BP is entitled to due process.

And what if BP were to be "taken over"? Would that change a thing? No. Obama controlling BP would work the same wonders as Obama controlling GM and Chrysler. That is, it would make a bad situation even worse because it would convert decision-making from the empirical to the political. Just like it will do with our health care soon enough.

I do not expect you to understand this. Your understanding of the world seems to be about magic wands and other fantasies. You may not notice the cold slap of reality.

Or maybe you just crave to live under this Black Mussolini, as long as he promises to make the trains run on time?

Posted by: SARileyMan | June 16, 2010 1:10 AM | Report abuse

I have never before spent so much time observing 'body language' as I have with respect to Obama.

My observations confirm my suspicions when I realized he would be our next president. This man has sociopathic tendencies: he perceives himself to be superior to all others to the point he looks down on us with disdain! Next time you see a picture or watch him on tv, look at his body posture, look at the tilt of his head and how he dares us to disobey his superiority and how he looks down over his nose with his head tilted upward in such an oh so superior position. Makes me ask myself, 'who is this empty suit?' Who is this community-organizer know-nothing?

He is the puppet of the radical liberal progressive left whose sole purpose is to undermine our Constitution and our freedoms and turn us into another Cuba, another Venezuela, another Putin Russia or a vacuous Iran, etc, etc!

America, it is time to 'wake up' and take your country back..........

Posted by: imaginemore | June 16, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

I don't find myself looking back at Obama's election saying to myself "that was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." Those were just words much like the pretty words we heard tonight. Unfortunately tomorrow the gulf will still be dying.

Posted by: stout77 | June 16, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

@stout77: They were, to some, "pretty words" in 2008 because people believed in them because they believed in Obama. Today, however, his words are ugly and lifeless and nearly self-parodying because, even among his (former) supporters, there is the sure knowledge that after the words will come...... little or nothing good.

Posted by: SARileyMan | June 16, 2010 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson, don't blame the speechwriters. Either the President doesn't have what to say or he is in a damage-to himself and his party- control mode.

Posted by: felix155 | June 16, 2010 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Swell. Who needs to read the right-wing bloggers when the Washington Post now has Theissen and Gerson, from the Bush-Cheney bunker. Who will they hire next? How about Tom Delay? Larry Craig?

Posted by: osullivanc1 | June 16, 2010 1:41 AM | Report abuse

Typical blather from Gerson. As you will notice, he has nothing to say what the government can should do....Right wingers like him are actually relishing all this. Yeah, real patriots (wink, wink)).

Posted by: kevin1231 | June 16, 2010 1:48 AM | Report abuse

@osullivanc1:

The Post also has many left-wing bloggers. The ratio still favors the left.

Tell me, were you forced to read Gerson? School assignment, perhaps? No? So, then you came here and read Gerson all on your decision? The Post did not charge you a cent for it, either. So why are you complaining?

Can't stand viewpoints different from your own, can you?

Inside every liberal is a little totalitarian who wants to suppress dissent. We see it in Europe. We see it on American campuses. If you don't do the Liberal Goosestep, you're a threat.

Rather then deal with an opposing viewpoint with fact and logic, liberals want to shut it down.

If you don't like Gerson, then don't read him. What is so hard to understand about that?

Posted by: SARileyMan | June 16, 2010 1:52 AM | Report abuse

Who cares what a speechwriter for George Bush has to say? You might just as well have a column written by a spokesman for Big Oil.

Posted by: turningfool | June 16, 2010 2:00 AM | Report abuse

someone has given Gerson a forum for his opinions, yet he has little worth saying.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | June 16, 2010 2:02 AM | Report abuse

@kevin1231:

That's right. The problem in America today is that the government just does too little! You're so brilliant.

Your post, of course, begs the question. If the ever-competent and efficient United States Government has at its disposal the equipment and expertise to plug an oil leak more than a mile under water, then why hasn't it plugged the leak?

Of course, the Dutch and British governments offered special equipment to help out. Those nations have special experiences and expertise with deep-water drilling. (Does the North Sea ring a bell?) They have a good supply of vessels called "skimmers" that could have stopped most of the oil from reaching the shoreline.

Who refused to accept the help?

Barack Obama.

Leader of the Executive Branch of the same government that you so badly want to be in control.

And why did he do this?

Because to accept foreign help would mean to waive the requirement (Jones Act) that intracoastal shipping be US flagged/manned.

And why was _that_ so darn important?

Because Barack Obama is a wholly-owned subsidiary of unions, and unions do not want the Jones Act waived.

Posted by: SARileyMan | June 16, 2010 2:07 AM | Report abuse

Hey, he sent in Eric Holder.

Maybe they'll try waterboarding KSM in the oily waters of the Gulf.

Oh sorry, that was the previous administration.

Maybe they'll send him on an all expenses paid vacation to Louisiana - at BP's expense.

That'll show 'em.

What the HECK does ANYTHING he said have to do with the OIL SPILL???

Then again, what did HC legislation have to do with THE ECONOMY?

Here comes CAP & TRADE...maybe.

A TOTAL FAILURE!

Posted by: drewhome | June 16, 2010 2:14 AM | Report abuse

Gerson,

Remember when you wrote the "Mission Accomplished" speech? Now that was a great speech. As a matter of fact, people are still talking about it.

Posted by: ginabw | June 16, 2010 2:15 AM | Report abuse

@turningfool:

You wrote: "Who cares what a speechwriter for George Bush has to say?"

You clearly do, since you made the decision to navigate to this page and comment.

You wrote: "You might just as well have a column written by a spokesman for Big Oil."

If Bush-Cheney was the lap dog of Big Oil, then Barack Obama is surely the house prostitute for Big Labor.

The difference is oil runs my car and performs and facilitates countless useful functions and products in society, while unions have just about bankrupted half the states in the country (mostly Democratic ones!) and destroyed industry after industry.


Posted by: SARileyMan | June 16, 2010 2:16 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and if you don't like Gerson, read the drivel posted by Paul Begala.

This whole thing has turned into Yankees - Red Sox.

My guy's right because he's on the blue team. No, MY guy's right because he's on the red team.

How about - instead of insulting people - we concentrate on WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN THE COUNTRY?

Right now, the economy stinks and the Gulf stinks.

AND THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD HASN'T DONE A DAMN THING ABOUT IT!

Doesn't matter which side you root for - those are the facts.

Posted by: drewhome | June 16, 2010 2:19 AM | Report abuse

And memo to the folks who actually should be, you know, monitoring this stuff at WAPO.

"Teabagger" is slang term for the someone taking a man's scrotum in the mouth during sex.

It is a slur that continues to be spewed from small minded, intolerant bigots who use it to disparage people who don't agree with their point of view - regardless of its merits.

It should be BANNED from MSM blogs - and Anderson Cooper should be fired.

Posted by: drewhome | June 16, 2010 2:24 AM | Report abuse

@ginabw:

The "Mission Accomplished" speech was indeed a mistake.

This proves exactly what, however? That you will go back seven years to excuse Obama today?

Why not go back 70 and talk about FDR's pack of lies when he said government spending is the path to prosperity?

Well, you don't have to go back that far, do you? You have Obama manifold speeches which said much the same thing.

And trillions of dollars later, it would have only done you good if you're a Census Worker or a government desk jockey building a fat pension.

Now I ask: What is more important to remember: Bush's dumb speech of 2003 or Obama's lack of results since 2009?

If you're intelligent, the question answers itself.

And even if you can't see the truth about Obama, more and more Americans do. Last night's speech, in its immature substitution of fingerpointing for real leadership, only succeeded in opening a few million more eyes about Obama.

Posted by: SARileyMan | June 16, 2010 2:27 AM | Report abuse

@drewhome:

You are correct. Our first loyalty should be to the facts. I voted for Bush twice, but I could see his second term was a disaster and he deserved to leave office as unpopular as he did.

By the same token, honest Democrats and Obama voters must acknowledge that Obama is a disaster equal to Bush, if not more so. The Obama economic program, as it is, has placed our currency and credit rating at peril, and done nothing substantive to improve the economic situation.

Fixing roads and bailing out irresponsible states and banks and public employee unions has been the main focus of Obama's economic policies. They have failed to spur the economy.

They have failed so badly that Obama has had to invent bogus economic statistics ("jobs saved") to put lipstick on his pig of a platform.

Meanwhile, Obama's "healthcare reform" bill has created a dense cloud of uncertainty over the entire economy because not a single business in America knows how it will work. Not even the government knows how it will work. And that sort of uncertainty has frozen firms' hiring and expansion.

(Pelosi claimed it would create a million jobs "almost immediately." Well, unless you work for the Census Bureau, she lied.)

Obama is an economic failure, and nothing he can or will do is going to jumpstart the economy. Honest people must acknowledge this. Obama's ideology, as all can see, is all about the government controlling or running as much as possible. This ideology is incompatible with long-term prosperity and freedom.

The economy will begin to recover once American businessmen and women (who are the ones who do the hiring!) see at least one House of Congress in Republican hands, and so can sleep at night knowing that their financial plans are no longer subject to Obama-Pelosi's harebrained whims and their destructive war on business.

Posted by: SARileyMan | June 16, 2010 2:46 AM | Report abuse

Don't complain about results people exactly like you (and who include you darned sadly enough) cause. These types of problems are due to your corporate body part sucking, your adherence to flawed economic ideals that put corporations value ahead of all other citizens & the very planet itself.

You may blame him, but I know the fault lives with your actions, your ideals, and your idiot policy ideas.

Own your own results, change some, and I'll respect your opinions more.

That well, and long earned criticism aside, thank you for your piece on North Korea. That was a valuable contribution to a horrible problem. I would suggest the possibility that China may be forced to intervene in NK & take over. That outcome is more likely than several others.

Posted by: Nymous | June 16, 2010 2:48 AM | Report abuse

If you don't like Gerson, try this:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/06/15/msnbc_trashes_obamas_address_compared_to_carter_i_dont_sense_executive_command.html

I mean, when you have Olbermann, Matthews and Fineman trashing the speech - it's time to look squarely at exactly who's a-s-s you're defending and maybe look at, you know, kicking it.

Posted by: drewhome | June 16, 2010 2:53 AM | Report abuse

drewhome is again correct. Even those leftist writers, who used to squeal with orgasmic intensity whenever Obama and/or his telepromter gave a speech, have begun to peel away.

They'll come back, of course. While the Right will banish you for life for breaking faith with them, the Left will gladly compromise its principles if doing so will bring it one millimeter closer to power.

But, it's obvious that Obama no longer commands deep trust or devotion anywhere on the political spectrum. 2012 will be very different from 2008 for that reason.

Posted by: SARileyMan | June 16, 2010 3:03 AM | Report abuse

mz2010 -

wow, you're a model of democratic "tolerance", aren't you? so sorry that you can't tolerate dissent, but unfortunately for you and the lemmings around you, your president is a terrible president. a pretty boy narcissist in way over his head. so you can rant and say "teabagger" till you're blue in the face. nothing changes the fact that Dear Leader is a bad joke, elected by naive youth and clueless progressives, so pathetically duped by teleprompter skill and meaningless rhetoric. sad that you're ilk were do dumb, sad for america.

Posted by: subframer | June 16, 2010 4:01 AM | Report abuse

Gladly, I vote for the removal from office of any individual who grandstands on policy and provides no leadership. This BIC (Blamer-in-Chief) has timed everything to help his agenda. Don't we know, see it, expect it!

Posted by: FranklySpeaking800 | June 16, 2010 4:08 AM | Report abuse

"10's"

- And even if you can't see the truth about Obama, more and more Americans do. Last night's speech, in its immature substitution of fingerpointing for real leadership, only succeeded in opening a few million more eyes about Obama.

-The economy will begin to recover once American businessmen and women (who are the ones who do the hiring!) see at least one House of Congress in Republican hands, and so can sleep at night knowing that their financial plans are no longer subject to Obama-Pelosi's harebrained whims and their destructive war on business.

-I mean, when you have Olbermann, Matthews and Fineman trashing the speech - it's time to look squarely at exactly who's a-s-s you're defending and maybe look at, you know, kicking it.

-Obama is an economic failure, and nothing he can or will do is going to jumpstart the economy. Honest people must acknowledge this. Obama's ideology, as all can see, is all about the government controlling or running as much as possible [read SOCIALISM/COMMUNISM]. This ideology is incompatible with long-term prosperity and freedom.

-Today, however, his words are ugly and lifeless and nearly self-parodying because, even among his (former) supporters, there is the sure knowledge that after the words will come...... little or nothing good.

Posted by: FranklySpeaking800 | June 16, 2010 4:13 AM | Report abuse

Obama's speech was 50 days late.

It might have helped him and an unbiased public at that time. Friend and foe might have been persuaded to work together to solve a horrendous problem. Now we have to undo 7 weeks of mistakes and ill will before we can move forward.

Posted by: 86yroldObserver | June 16, 2010 5:50 AM | Report abuse

SARileyMan --

Thanks for articulating what millions of others out here think about Captain Kickarse and his idiotic sycophants on the Left. No doubt you're right, though. Even his sycophants are peeling away from him, albeit many of them silently. Friends and family members of mine who voted for him and have been his most ardent supporters are quietly turning on him. I don't embarrass them by reminding them of how I warned them desperately in November 2008 to not vote for this sociopathic, incompetent, narcissist. I'm just thankful that they finally woke up and smelled the incompetence.

It was so obvious to me from day one that this guy was nowhere near up to the job. Remember, this was the guy who (1)coyly and on more than one occasion gave the finger to Hillary during speeches during which his audience would laugh knowingly, (2)claimed, upon receiving the nomination that "history would mark this as the moment when the oceans began to recede, the planet began to heal, and we began to care for the sick," or some such utter nonsense as that, (3)chastised Americans for not speaking any language other than English when he himself can't (GWB was fluent in Spanish), (4)referred to our "57 states" and "10,000 dead" in a tornado, (5)referred to the grandmother who raised him as a "typical white person" because she felt threatened by a menacing black man, (6)sat in a "church" for over 20 years in which the "pastor" spewed the most hateful, anti-white, anti-American bile, (7)let it slip in an interview with George Steph that he is, at the very least, a Muslim sympathizer ("my Muslim faith"), (8)steadfastly refused to release any college records or transcripts (and continues to keep them locked up to this day) ... and all of this BEFORE he was elected. Since then...well, his egregious actions are simply too numerous to list here, but I can think of at least $13 trillion of them.

Obama needs to be impeached for dereliction of duty and total incompetence.

Posted by: RedderThanEver | June 16, 2010 6:08 AM | Report abuse

Gerson!! BP is no longer in charge. This has to stop. They will pay the people.
We demand they start with $50 billion and for every year the spill does damage $20 billion. Every State receive 50 billion for any damage-why? This could be something going on for centuries. And our fresh water could be in danger. We already have a mess.

Heyward, Suttles, Jones, Halliburton, Transoacean- the word is No! We own you now. All assets frozen-all data and computers including laptops seized. We trust nothing you do. And get this: You will not refuse anything the President proposes-you have no choice at all. The answer that will come out your filfty lying mouths is Yes, Sir! We will send Barack some NC Marine Boots to put up your butts!!

Polls full of it. Barack Obama our President has held up in the worst of circumstances. GOP, Steele, Palin, Limbaugh, and any others need to shut the crap up! Your past administrations de-regulated the oil industry and let them have free hand.

And they freaking price fixed. Do you see how many barrels from this one well and they have more?? And we still allow them to manage what is out there? We own this rig now and any rig not operating without damn sense. And fix that damn levy or replace it Corp of Engineers.

Bankrupt better not come out your damn mouths. No Judge in the US Bankruptcy Court will give you didly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Atttorney Holder get on it-take every damn thing-their Moma if they have one. No this is very serious. NC is not even taking it-hear that Perdue. And you listening to who that we do not have to worry? Bullcrap! You better start out with $50 billion if it even touches NC shores or you are out come election time. No oil company coming upon our shores and think they own us.

Talk about Obama but, he has been through hell. Listen up $50 billion and all assets, get all data, and get homeland security out in Gulf with FBI, ICE, Interpol, OSHA, MMS kick a.s.s.!! or send me betcha they will get the point.

I should be in the Oval Office with Obama laying the damn hammer down!!! Judge Scar1.

Joking but, don't think I have not thought about it. Holder-handcuffs ready??????

Posted by: Scar1 | June 16, 2010 6:33 AM | Report abuse

I am with the Senator that told them in the past they would have them kill themselves-where's the sword-oh that's right God got one for them later.

Posted by: Scar1 | June 16, 2010 6:36 AM | Report abuse

I am with the Senator that told them in the past they would have them kill themselves-where's the sword-oh that's right God got one for them later.

Posted by: Scar1 | June 16, 2010 6:37 AM | Report abuse

Obama isn't Presidential until he is honest and tells America his own party has hamstrung energy creation- which has led to this disaster. A moronic position on nuclear energy, and an offshore policy fit for fools. Liberals and environmentalist got us into this situation, as they blame America's "greed" instead.

Posted by: JohnnyGee | June 16, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

You know what? The American's were lied to by politicians and a president for so long and now President Obama levels with people and tells the truth, no one wants to believe it.

Telling lies and misleading people is not leadership in any shape or form.

All you tricks, "the one with an instant drive through solution for this catastrophe, please rise up", otheewise, please be quite and let the folks who know rhat they are doing do their job.

Just typical BS form idiots like Gerson, get a clue dude.

Posted by: Maya2 | June 16, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Hey kooks, how's that community organizer thing going for ya? lol

Posted by: trippermeow | June 16, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Not "grand setting", but GRANDSTANDING.

In less than 2 years in office, Barrack Obama demonstrates that he worse than Jimmie Carter.

Posted by: hartwr1 | June 16, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Under Cheney and Bush, Big Oil ran energy policy and indeed ran the country, most would say ran it into the ground, for eight years. The Gulf oil disaster is unquestionably a direct result of this. Who are the senators opposing a clean energy bill? What are their names? Americans might like to know who it is that are depriving our children and grandchildren of a future.

Posted by: MickNamVet | June 16, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

So, Gerson's point is that Obama's choice of verbs was excessively diplomatic? Excuse me, Mr. Gerson, but I suspect that when the President of the United States "asks" a member of the executive branch to do something, it is not really a request. Similarly, when he "urges" the board of BP to do something under such circumstances, that is an offer that they are not at liberty to refuse. Gerson's sole qualification for punditry is previous work as a speech-writer -- not, one notes, previous experience in any actual policy function, either formulation or implementation -- and he is too unsophisticated to interpret diplomatic speech? Oh, very impressive Mr. Gerson, very impressive indeed.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 16, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Under Cheney and Bush, Big Oil ran energy policy and indeed ran the country, most would say ran it into the ground, for eight years. The Gulf oil disaster is unquestionably a direct result of this. Who are the senators opposing a clean energy bill? What are their names? Americans might like to know who it is that are depriving our children and grandchildren of a future.

Posted by: MickNamVet | June 16, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Jimmy Carter, all over again. When will we ever learn? Let's remember next time: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. End of story.

Posted by: barrysal | June 16, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Jimmy Carter, all over again. When will we ever learn? Let's remember next time: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. End of story.

Posted by: barrysal | June 16, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson, you are an Idiot, how is the Washington Post letting write this Garbage in their site, what credibility do you have to write in the WP.

Posted by: tqmek1 | June 16, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Though I am as liberal as a person can be and am also a lifelong supporter of democrats, Gerson is absolutely correct.

Posted by: wsm82470 | June 16, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

DRAFT THE NEOCONS
SNED THEM TO THE Middle East to Solve their Ambitions.

If Gerson dies in the process.
We can put a compassionate conservative sticker on our cars.


FWIW I wish Jimmy Carter was back n power.
Had he been able to finish a second term.

The Budget would hvae been balanced.
The National Debt would have been paid off.
Never had attacked the Middle East.
Alternative Energy Programs would be at full throttle.
Research and Development would not have been killed.
Our public Education systems would have been putting out brighter students.
There would have been no banking crisis.
The Challenger would still be flying.


Posted by: godwithfire55 | June 16, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

TO CREEBOLD. You mention that we need great leaders like JACK WELCH? You mean the man who invented shipping millions of jobs to India and FREAKING BRAGGED ABOUT IT in his book. The guy who cheated on both his wives and was CEO of the LARGEST POLLUTER IN THE WORLD? (G.E.)You freaking Republicans think staus quo with 15 million unemployed is fine as long as you got yours. This whole mess was started with Reagan and won't stop until we clean up you CORPORATIST AMERICA HATING PIGS!

Posted by: hughsie48 | June 16, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

In the Bush era, a time that 'time' has completely forgotten, especially inside the beltway from where tragically, our country is run (into the ground) I think the most criminal, infamous speech ever made - on a parallel with Hitler's speeches was the speech "W" Bush gave (with the usual squinched, squinty liar's eyes) on March 19, 2003, when he announced the beginning of the invasion and genocide and destruction of the Iraqi people and the defenseless, sovereign country of Iraq by the U.S. and its cuckhold ally, Britain led by tremulous cohort in mass murder, Tony Blair.

Posted by: mimosa1 | June 16, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I have a new rule not to follow or hear the presidents speeches. I am simply turned off by them. I am more interested in action than words.

The president is a salesman but the products he is selling to no interested me. In this last speech he is simply selling himself.

Lately we have had an economic crash followed by big oil floating in the gulf. Both caused by greed of our top excutives. This as they put pressure on the people they govern. The lord is beating on the peons so as to get more rich. Yet the peons get less and poorer. Robin Hood takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

Has Obama changed this policy; the answer is no. But he does make alot of speeches claiming to do this. Yet looking at the data we find things getting worse. Hail to the chief as he produces more speeches. And welcome to the rat race with the big rats making out. This is no change!

Posted by: artg | June 16, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Ask the people in the Gulf how that hopey changy thing is working for them. The yes we can refrain ani't being heard there. My guess is that their hope is, Barry or Barack or whatever his name is, can't be voted out soon enough, and that any change will be welcome.

Posted by: jemvbcnyc | June 16, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

You object to his tone, correct? Not enough mushroom clouds in his speechmaking for you, huh Gerson?

Posted by: joebanks | June 16, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

someone has given Gerson a forum for his opinions, yet he has little worth saying.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | June 16, 2010 2:02 AM
___________________________________

Sadly, the same can be said for the President of the United States.

Which was basically Gerson's point.

(not that I expect too many of the mouthbreathers on the left to comprehend that)

What a complete waste of network air time last night.

Posted by: etpietro | June 16, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

if the stakes weren't so high, it would be thoroughly amusing to see the Obama worshipers so on the defensive.

shocked, shocked that their guy can't lead! why, he had so much prior experience as a leader...uh, executive?...uh, manager?...d'oh!

Posted by: fourformom | June 16, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse


Gerson's still trying to figure out how to work "terrorism" and "weak on national security" into this ...

he's also toying with the idea of renaming English muffins as "freedom muffins".

..

Posted by: DEFJAX | June 16, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Jeezus, Gerson, can't you gin up a column that's a little more partisan and empty-headed? Knowing you, that might be a possibility.

Nice work putting the word "asked" and "new leadership" in quotation marks. Just about what I'd expect from a "journalist" like you.

Posted by: st50taw | June 16, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Gerson, like Krauthammer,belongs on the "ignore list"

If he can't bash Obama, he can't write.

Posted by: areyousaying | June 16, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Gerson understands limp and weak.

Posted by: LifeBeforePrinciple | June 16, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

This is what you'd expect from someone who worked for Bush II. I question the Post for giving to him the pulpit from which to be so unprofessional and wrong.

Hopelessly biased drivel such as this renders impossible any serious consideration of anything that the guy ever writes.

Posted by: winger1 | June 16, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

For those of you defending this speech - please tell me the details of the plan to get us to this "new economy based upon green energy jobs". The president admitted in this speech that he had no clear idea how to get there....except by causing "electricity bills to necessarily skyrocket".

You are aware, are you not, that we've spent 30 plus years on solar, wind, ethanol and heaven only knows how many other alternate forms of clean energy....without a "clear idea" on how to get there, cap and trade is nothing but a tax on the middle class of this country and one that will be the death knell of our economy.

Posted by: LMW6 | June 16, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Ever column that Gerson writes tries to desperately sabotage anything that this administration does to make the prior administration look good by comparison that his writings cannot be taken seriously.

Posted by: rlj1 | June 16, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Obama isn't a leader -- not executive material at all. He's in way over his head and it's clear he doesn't have the experience or sense to fake it. Scary, considering what our allies and enemies must think.

All things considered, it's doubtful that his resume would have gotten him anything more than a great job in a large corporation's legal department before he decided to go political.

Posted by: JAH3 | June 16, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Since then...well, his egregious actions are simply too numerous to list here, but I can think of at least $13 trillion of them.
******************************************
Then get busy and starting listing them. Put up of SHUT UP.

BTW, you don't get to count dollars not yet spent nor the dollars that are projected to be spent after he leaves office, even if he's elected to a second term.

Posted by: st50taw | June 16, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"A stupid hack that desperately needs a clue. Your old boss trashed this country ..."

And your current boss is trashing our country just as much, maybe even more. Both Bush and Obama were "hands-off" managers, in other words both are clueless.

Obama was supposed to be smart and competent. However, instead of a man of action, we got a professor. He's a researcher, a PhD who is impotent in the face of reality.

Posted by: princeps2 | June 16, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

You mean The obama didn't write this speech? I'm shocked.

Posted by: bandmom22 | June 16, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

To hughsie48 -- When Clinton was messing with the help in the Oval Office and then lying about it, you lefties protested that it didn't matter -- what mattered were his presidential skills at governing. This complete incompetent President now messing with our country is utterly out of his depth. The rest of your rant shows yourself to be a classic marxist idiot. Why don't take the next plane to Venezuela where a guy more to your likeing is estalishing his paradise on earth?

Posted by: CREEBOLD | June 16, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

how come the gvt isn't giving bp money? they gave the banks almost a trillion dollars (a trillion!) for "purposely" risking other people's money.

bp has a true (albiet careless) accident and they get nailed.

go figure that one out smarty pants down around your ankles with astro glide nearby.

Posted by: perryrants | June 16, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Giving Obama the benefit of the doubt; I will concede the possibility that Obama's focus is to bridge the gap between sane Americans and the Republican base! It should be clear that this is a hopeless ideal; not a single Republican in Government or out has even a polite word for the President, much less any substantive acts of support! Even when Obama outdoes George, keeps George's war machine intact, expands the obscene practices of the Decider, fails to carry through or even promote even a mild attempt to meet the "Change we can believe in" rhetoric! Never mind that Gramps and Palin would be far, far worse; never mine that Hillary would be worst; the fact remains that Obama is somewhat to the right of Nixon, surrounded by corporate shills and the same industry cronies; continuing the outlaw practices of George; opposing the rights of the people, and just being another corporate lackey politician! Who needs more of that? More to the point, the people get the government they chose! What does that say about the "real" America!

Posted by: CHAOTICIAN101 | June 16, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Lefties bashing Gerson ?

I guess they didn't read the New York Times today. It's coverage on Obama was neutral and pleading.

MSNBC coverage was scathing and hostile ! And from Obama-worshipers: Obie and Mathews !

Obama has lost the left with his dithering, feckless leadership, and incompetence.

Who knew ? A community organizer who never ran more than a campaign was so incapable of running a country ? Its tragic really.

Posted by: Petras123 | June 16, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The deconstruction of the Federal Govt. has left us with, historically, a govt. made up of toothless agencies such as the EPA, SEC, DOA, DOE, and the DOJ. You have incompetent appointees, as demonstrated with particular zeal in the Bush Cheney years (FEMA, MMS, SEC, FCC) that basically handed the entire economy over to it's respective corporate titans. Free (not Fair) trade agreements sent 30 million jobs overseas, now we have 30 million unemployed and the GOP is screaming bloody murder about social programs for lazy people.
They deconstructed our financial markets and we got world market collapse, they deconstructed energy regulation and we got Enron and the California disaster in the 1990's, they deconstructed the SEC and we got WCom, Madoff, Tyco, illegal insurance products! The FCC was muted with incompetence and nepotism and we got monopolies running our communications sectors. They outsourced military operations and we got no-compete contracts and huge fraud investigations for Blackwater, Halliburton, and KBR. Dick Cheney personally threw the Dept. of Energy under the bus and pulled what teeth the MMS had left and look what happened in the Gulf!?
I mean, when it comes to eating their own, nobody can compete with the cannibalism of the American economy like the GOP. THE GOP is the grand designer behind EPIC FAILURE of the Federal Govt. None of this that ANY deregulation has brought upon us has been small in size, all of these are huge problems and all because of GOP deconstructionism

Posted by: RickDrake | June 16, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

The best thing about WPo's posts and blogs can be found in all our garages - our garbage cans. It is a useful device, and one we would find difficult to live without. The posts and blogs give all the haters a place to spill their vile and mean spirited trash. Now and again, there is a thought worth debating, but it always gets thrown out with the trash.

Posted by: kermit5 | June 16, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Gerson's old boss Shrub & Crazy Cheney had a summit with energy execs the first month they were in office. At they took all the safeguards off the oil companies. Oil men paying back the oil industry. And look what we get. A disaster.
Now, we hear the nutcase right talking about taking stronger action against BP. These are the same fools that keep telling us that government needs to stay out of businesses hair. Deregulate to create jobs. Well, they created jobs at the cost of peoples occupations. Fishermen are cleaning up oil.
This article shows me what I've always known, Republicants are hypocrits. And Gerson is an idiot to boot.

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

Gershon's the kid who got beat up every day in high school by people who mattered. Looks like Gina got all the talent.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | June 16, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

It is truely amusing to see all the right-wing pundits on this forum running off at the mouth about how Obama should be DOING SOMETHING! Not one of them actually says what it is Obama should be doing. The federal government that Obama inherited does not have the capability to do more than it is already doing.

It is BP, Haliburton, and Transocean that are responsible for the oil spill. It is the oil companies that have the capability to work underwater at such depths. All Obama can do is urge them to work as hard and as smart as they can to get the leak stopped. It was already too late when the well blew.

Bush packed the MMS agency full of incompetents and hacks who were more interested in enriching themselves and sabotaging the functions of government than enforcing the rules or writing new ones to ensure that disasters like this don't happen. That is the real problem: Whenever Republicans get elected, they sabotage the workings of government to make sure their prouncements about how government is the problem come true. They don't want government to work for the people, they want to destroy government and let the corporations run the country.

Gerson is nothing more than a propagandist for the Republican party, and low-life slimeball hack with no morals and no principals other than those of his ilk: greed and pandering.

Posted by: Chagasman | June 16, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

This speech was to the nation. A meeting like atmosphere. Guess who the Prez' is going to be spending more time with? ... the oil companies staff. That's where the answers will be found, not just with the CEOs'. It's the out-dated methods of the past that is the problem. The Prez' can make sure to put that sentence in the past tense ... was the problem.
Our current President has the ability to do so.... and He will.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | June 16, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

All these blame bushers on these posts are getting ridiculous and boring.

Your leader is doing a terrible job and it's getting to you.

Obama may end up being the best thing that ever happened to the GOP.

Posted by: reddog62 | June 16, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"I'm a right winger."

[before the BP oil spill:]

"I believe in free market solutions. The government should not interfere. The Invisible Hand is always self-correcting and best able to achieve solutions to ANY problem that might come our way. And, don't forget--'Drill, baby, drill!'"

[after the BP oil spill:]

"Help, Obama! Why aren't you doing more? I have no idea what, but . . . WAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

Posted by: simonflannery | June 16, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone see Mz2010's comment at the top? Where do these deranged bloggers come from? I might worry about this kind of anonymous nut if I thought they had any guts. If Barbara Walters asked me what animal they reminded me of I would have to say cockroach, but that wouldn't really be fair to that troublesome but persevering species.

Posted by: Roytex | June 16, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

In the Bush era, a time that 'time' has completely forgotten, especially inside the beltway from where tragically, our country is run (into the ground) I think the most criminal, infamous speech ever made - on a parallel with Hitler's speeches was the speech "W" Bush gave (with the usual squinched, squinty liar's eyes) on March 19, 2003, when he announced the beginning of the invasion and genocide and destruction of the Iraqi people and the defenseless, sovereign country of Iraq by the U.S. and its cuckhold ally, Britain led by tremulous cohort in mass murder, Tony Blair.

Posted by: mimosa1 | June 16, 2010 9:22 AM

======================================

I wonder what possible relevance any of this has to do with Obama and what he said last night.

Good grief, the Iraq War is becoming the new Godwin's Law.

Posted by: bbface21 | June 16, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

For those of you defending this speech - please tell me the details of the plan to get us to this "new economy based upon green energy jobs". The president admitted in this speech that he had no clear idea how to get there....except by causing "electricity bills to necessarily skyrocket".

==========================================

It would also be nice (and provide basic leadership) if he gave some details on the government role in solving the current crisis.

Talking about going green while the Gulf is turning black kinda puts the cart before the horse, don't ya think?

Posted by: bbface21 | June 16, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Worth repeating for the brain-dead Obama-bashers who think they're so smart but have NO solutions for this or any problem our country.
*******************************************
"I'm a right winger."

[before the BP oil spill:]

"I believe in free market solutions. The government should not interfere. The Invisible Hand is always self-correcting and best able to achieve solutions to ANY problem that might come our way. And, don't forget--'Drill, baby, drill!'"

[after the BP oil spill:]

"Help, Obama! Why aren't you doing more? I have no idea what, but . . . WAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

Posted by: st50taw | June 16, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

You have to laugh at the whiners on here.

When Bush was in, people put every human ailment of Katrina on Bush. Neglecting the facts that Bush didn't cause the Hurricane, Bush didn't force the ignorant to say, Bush didn't neglect the levies, and Bush did not put in place the corruption in local Louisiana politics that stole the aid money. And most of the anger was because Bush should have had more aid more quickly by hours and days. He didn't even blame anyone, he took his lumps and went on.

Contrast that to Obama how nothing was fault, the revisionist history that had him coming up with the solutions from day 1, an unwillingness to let other countries help, an inability to work directly with the governors of the states affected... the list goes on.

The low point came when the man, who mocked people in Pennsylvania for clinging to God, kept mentioning God in his speech. He didn't like the military much before he got in office, but he kept dropping admirals names during the speech.

Bush did a bad job when he was in office, but on the balance, Obama is doing worse.

Posted by: Skeptic1 | June 16, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Oh IT’S POLITICAL, IT’S POLITICAL, IT’S POLITICAL

Well duhhh, it’s political because the Republicans are against it.

Against what? . . . . . Against clean sustainable energy.

Let’s see: . . First, President Jimmy Carter put us on the road for fuel efficiency and clean sustainable energy. Then Republican hero, Ronald Reagan, guts Carter’s programs. From then on, all we’ve heard from Republicans is, “The Free-Market is our god. Our god will take care of us.”

And what has the Republican god given us? . . The most terrible environmental crisis in American history.

I heard a Republican on CNN. She kept saying Republicans are for all that. . . ? . . Well gee, if Republicans are for all that, why is it a political issue? . . Easy, because Republicans are against it.

No wonder they don’t want to talk about it – don’t pay attention to that man behind the curtain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Heck, just point to a bill or resolution that the Republicans have put forth or supported that would bring us clean sustainable energy? . . There are none.

Obama didn’t say anything that a reasonable, logical, sensible man wouldn’t say about dealing with these circumstances.

Posted by: Here2day | June 16, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

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