Barack Obama and the Solution that Wasn’t

June 19, 2010

Two days ago, Obama delivered his first speech from the Oval Office to a country that desperately wanted to know what was being done to address the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. What he delivered, to paraphrase Keith Olbermann, was a speech that could have described another country on another continent on another planet. Perhaps even a time and place long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Certainly, he discussed the many efforts the government has undertaken to address this disaster. And to the average, uninformed citizen, Obama would have left the impression that something was being done, even from Day 1.

It’s true that since the oil spill, Obama has been very busy. After all, there’s so much to do.

For instance, since day one, Obama has played at least 7 rounds of golf. He has welcomed at least 4 sports teams to the White House including the New York Yankees, the Duke men’s basketball team, UConn women’s basketball team and the Navy football team.

He has attended at least 3 fundraisers, one of which was held for Barbara Boxer on the same day as the memorial service for the 11 workers killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. I suppose keeping Barbara Boxer’s Senate Seat was more important. Oh, and did I mention that he attended a party with the Getty Oil family that day too?

Obama has even been on two vacations. Not to mention that Tom Strickland, chief of staff for Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, went on a “work-focused” trip that includes whitewater rafting in Arizona on Day 8 of the oil spill.

But let’s not forget that since the oil spill, President Obama has met with very important dignitaries like President Calderon of Mexico, sports analyst Marv Albert, Bono, and most importantly, Paul McCartney. However, it wasn’t until day 58 that he met with BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg and BP CEO Tony Hayward.

As much as Obama would love for us to believe that he has his “boot on the neck” of BP and that he is demanding to know “whose @$$ to kick,” it seems that he has other irons in the fire. Actions speak louder than words, Mr. President.

In sharp contrast with his actions over the past 59 days, Obama’s speech offered the illusion that he is in control of this massive disaster. Furthermore, he is begging us to believe that his cap-and-trade legislation will somehow address this monstrosity. The reality is that it simply will not. I believe Governor Bob Riley of Alabama said it best: “If my house is on fire, I don’t need the fire chief telling me I should not have built the house out of wood.  I need somebody to put the fire out.” We don’t need cap and trade, we need to “plug the d@mn hole” (to quote Obama) and clean up our shoreline.

Also, we shouldn’t have rejected assistance from the Dutch when they offered it to us days after the rig exploded. We should have repealed the Jones Act and let our allies help us with this disaster.

It is downright shameful of this president to use the oil spill as leverage to foist his economically inhibitive policies on our country. Cap-and-trade will not clean the oil from our shores. Cap-and-trade will not directly prevent disasters like this from happening. Cap-and-trade will not accelerate scientific advances in clean energy. Why on earth should we pass such legislation?

We must ask ourselves: does it make sense to throw more money at a government who has failed, as a result of bureaucracy and not a lack of money, to clean up our shores in a timely manner? Unfortunately, instead of concerning themselves with the actual oil spill, the White House is apparently more concerned with never letting “a crisis go to waste.”

Article first published as Obama and the Solution that Wasn’t on Blogcritics.


A Timeline of Obama’s Reaction to the Oil Spill

June 17, 2010
Back in 2005, President Bush was routinely criticized by the left-wing media for his handling of Hurricane Katrina. But in less than a week, he made it down to the gulf to survey the damage. Obama took nearly two weeks to view the areas affected by the oil spill. Let’s take a look at how busy our President has been throughout this crisis:

Day 1: The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes, killing 11 workers.

Day 3: The Netherlands government offers skimmers and other equipment to protect American shores. The Obama administration rejects the offer.

Day 4: Obama attacks Arizona’s immigration law, then goes on vacation in NC with a round of golf included.

Day 5: Another round of golf for Obama.

Day 7: Obama welcomes the New York Yankees to the White House.

Day 8: Tom Strickland, chief of staff for Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, goes on a “work-focused” trip that includes whitewater rafting in Arizona.

Day 10: Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal declares a state of emergency in Louisiana. Obama pledges “every single available resource” to take care of the spill, then attends a DNC fundraising dinner.

Day 11: White House says that there will be no drilling allowed in new areas until the cause of the explosion is known

Day 12: Obama attends White House Correspondents Dinner.

Day 13: Obama visits the gulf coast.

Day 14: Obama hosts the Navy football team at the White House.

Day 16: Obama hosts Cinco De Mayo party at the White House.

Day 19: Tar balls are found in Dauphin Island, Alabama.

Day 20: Obama delivers commencement speech at Hampton University.

Day 21: Obama nominates Elena Kagen for Supreme Court Justice.

Day 22: Another round of golf for Obama.

Day 24: Obama attends DCCC fundraiser.

Day 25: Obama criticizes oil companies for their “ridiculous spectacle” before Congress.

Day 26: Obama goes golfing.

Day 27: Obama golfs some more.

Day 28: Obama hosts UConn women’s basketball team.

Day 30: Oil makes landfall in Louisiana. Obama hosts state dinner for Mexican President Calderon.

Day 31: Obama meets with Bono.

Day 32: Obama addresses Wall Street reform at the White House Rose Garden.

Day 33: Obama golfs at Andrews Air Force Base.

Day 34: Governor Jindal announces that he’s tired of waiting for federal approval to build sand booms and that he will proceed without it. Obama discusses basketball with Marv Albert.

Day 35: The size of the oil slick reaches 30,000 square miles, enough to cover an area the size of Hawaii 3 times.

Day 36: Memorial service is held for the 11 men killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Notably absent: Barack Obama. Obama attends fundraiser for Barbara Boxer in California, as well as a party with the Getty Oil family.

Day 38: The amount of oil leaked reaches 38 million gallons. Obama hosts the Duke basketball team at the White House.

Day 39: Obama visits the Gulf Coast for the second time, saying “I am the president and the buck stops with me.”

Day 40: Obama heads to Chicago for Memorial Day weekend vacation.

Day 41: Obama goes to the gym in Chicago.

Day 43: Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs states that he has seen “rage” and a “clenched jaw” from the President over the oil spill. The Department of Justice launches criminal probe of the oil spill.

Day 45: Obama says he is “furious” about the oil spill, then rocks out with Paul McCartney at the White House.

Day 46: Obama makes 3rd trip to the Gulf Coast since the explosion. Oil makes landfall in Florida.

Day 47: Oil hits Alabama beaches.

Day 50: Obama says he would fire Tony Hayward, CEO of BP.

Day 55: Obama plays golf.

Day 58: Obama finally meets with BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg.

And you wonder why so many people want to be president…


Is it the Beginning of the End for Obama?

June 4, 2010

On the campaign trail, Obama was portrayed as a moderate, willing to extend the olive branch of bipartisanship. Then he became known for his views on the redistribution of wealth, revealing himself to be a liberal. Next, he was branded a socialist. But was he ever thought to be scandal-ridden and incompetent? Not until now.

In a time where Obama would do well to seem calm, collected, and in charge after a knock-down, drag-out fight over healthcare, the chinks in his armor are beginning to show.

BP and Barack: A Love Story

Despite what Ken Salazar, Obama’s Secretary of the Interior, has said about keeping a “boot on the neck” of BP, Obama’s actual dealings with BP seem to indicate otherwise. In fact, out of all of BP’s contributions to federal candidates, the President ranks #1 among its recipients. I suppose this conflict of interest might make it more difficult for him to apply pressure with that size 13 1/2 heel. Oh, why do we always hurt the ones we love?

His hesitance to do anything at all in the midst of this crisis (besides hang out with the Duke basketball team and Bill Clinton) bears a strong resemblance to the left’s caricature of a supposedly uncaring President Bush in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. However, while Bush only took a mere four days to physically arrive at the scene, Obama’s arrival to Louisiana took nearly two weeks.

Is it a lack of compassion? Is it incompetence? What is it that keeps Obama at the point of being so stupefied? At any rate, something needs to happen before James Carville blows a gasket over this.

I’ll Have Mine Chicago-style, Please

At press time, there are two scandals on the horizon where the White House has dangled the carrot of federal jobs to Democrats in primary races for political reasons. Apparently, Obama didn’t learn much from the Blago scandal, but I suppose the Chicago culture is so ingrained in the mindset of the White House that it’s difficult to resist.

The first case involves Joe Sestak, a Democrat who challenged and prevailed over the Obama-backed Arlen Specter in the Democratic Senate primary in Pennsylvania. Supposedly, the White House via Bill Clinton offered Sestak the position of Secretary of the Navy if he would drop out of the race. He probably should’ve taken it, considering that he could still lose to Pat Toomey in November.

The second instance involves Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff being offered an unknown position if he would drop his challenge to Senator Michael Bennet. Apparently, it’s pretty lucrative to challenge sitting Democratic congressmen in the primaries. Are there any other positions open that you’d like to tell us about, Mr. President?

From FDR and JFK to Carter and Nixon?

Obama was supposed to be a legendary president in the mold of FDR and JFK. After all, BHO does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Instead, he has taken up the policies of Carter with the transparency of Nixon. Will “I’m not an ideologue” become the next “I am not a crook”?

In record time, Obama’s presidency has taken a turn for the worse. Between a massive oil spill (resulting from a rig that won a Safety Award from his administration) and two back room deals, will the Obama administration survive politically until 2012? Some don’t think so.

This November could simply be the last nail in the coffin for his hopes of a two-term presidency unless he significantly alters course.

Article first published as Is it the Beginning of the End for Obama? on Blogcritics.


Can You Afford the Obama Gas Hike?

November 4, 2008

Over the past 4 years, gas prices have risen to absurd levels across the nation. Granted, we generally have cheaper prices than the U.K. does, but it hasn’t been too long since most of us in the USA felt like 2.00 for a gallon of gas was ridiculously expensive. Many would like to attribute this to the Bush administration. Some want to point the finger at oil companies, claiming that their profits have been going up. Still, others would say that catastrophic events like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina are the ones to blame.

While certainly some of those factors may have played a part in why our gas prices are so high, most would agree that a large part of our problem is our dependence on foreign sources of oil. This is terribly troubling when you consider that the USA as a nation consumes 25.2% of the world’s oil. But before we start hugging trees and throwing cinder blocks at gas-guzzling SUV’s, we have to keep in mind that there are several other products that are made from petroleum including: ink, crayons, bubble gum, dishwashing liquids, deodorant, eyeglasses, records, tires, ammonia, and heart valves. Needless to say, oil is important for making many different things we make in this country, not just gasoline.

We must understand that while it is very important to reduce our oil consumption and aggressively pursue alternative sources of energy, we still need oil. But instead of getting it from countries that hate us like Iran and Venezuela, we need to have our own, which is why we need to drill for it domestically.

So where does Senator Barack Obama fit into all of this?

Obama claims that the problem is not that gas prices are so high, but it’s that the American people should have had a more gradual adjustment to them. In a way, I could give him the benefit of the doubt in pointing this out. However, when you consider that gas prices have risen faster in the past 6 years than they have in the past 30, I believe that Senator Obama is largely understating the problem.

It is no secret that Senator Obama wants to increase taxes on oil companies. Fair enough. But who really pays for that increase in taxes? Do the oil companies generously agree to pay those taxes without raising the price of gas for the average consumer? Hardly! An increase in taxes on oil companies will definitely increase the price at the pump for you and I.

What about drilling? As I said earlier, we must reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil. In addition to pursuing alternative sources of energy, one of the ways we can acheive energy independence is by drilling here in America. No wonder 67% of Americans support offshore drilling and 64% believe it will reduce gas prices. Besides, basic economic principles teach us that if the supply of oil increases, demand goes down, and therefore the price goes down.

But does Obama support offshore drilling here in America? No.

Sure, it’d be nice to immediately have all hydrogen-powered cars and 100% eco-friendly homes that run on clean energy. And of course, this is definitely the ultimate goal that we all strive towards. But until we are comfortably able to make that transition, we need to keep gas prices low by drilling domestically. We can also pursue alternative sources of energy that are readily available like nuclear power. We simply cannot afford the high gas prices that will result from Senator Obama’s energy plan.


A Republican Discusses Energy

July 12, 2007

It seems earth-shattering that a Republican would discuss such a hot potato that ranks almost as high as healthcare among lesser-discussed GOP issues, but I’m going to try.

Now I won’t come out and say that I’m a “environmentalist Republican.” Besides, some would say that term is an oxymoron. However, I definitely believe there are reasonable solutions to the energy crisis that faces this country. With two major GOP oil figures heading up the executive branch of our country, I can see why many people have written off the Republican party as a source for answers to energy and the environment.

So let me take a chance to see if I can come up with some ideas that everyone can at least tolerate.

We are an oil-crazed culture. There’s no denying it. We use oil in everything from plastics to gasoline. Are we addicted? Maybe. But I’d rather use a different word: reliant.

Gas prices are higher than ever before (even though, when adjusted by inflation they are actually comparable to that of the 1970’s). The days of $1.00/gallon for gasoline seem to be over.  

We keep using petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource, and there’s a chance we’ll eventually run out of it altogether. I don’t know how soon that would be, but it could very well happen. To avoid that we need to switch to renewable alternative energy sources.

Now, I suggest a comprehensive strategy when it comes to energy. First, the government should encourage the development of ethanol from sugarcane and sugarbeets. The U.S. Government once paid farmers not to grow corn and now that we “need” it for ethanol and everything else corn is used for, corn is now inflated. So along with corn, we should also find other sources for ethanol.

We have to understand that oil is not necessarily the complete problem in and of itself, but we’re overly dependent on foreign sources. If we drill in ANWR and other places within U.S. Territory, we can make ourselves self-sufficient on oil. Of course we want to be completely free from oil someday, but we have to face the fact that it’s a long way down the road.

The government must work with automobile manufacturers and the oil companies to produce products that consume less gasoline. If somehow every auto manufacturer began producing hybrid versions of the cars they already have and reduce production of they gas guzzlers they currently make, demand for gasoline would decrease, thus decreasing the price of gas. If the government simply decides to legislate it’s way out of it and force oil companies to do things their way, the cost will be distributed to the average citizen, placing the burden on them. Encouragement is the key, not force.

Solar and wind energy must be improved and expanded as well. I wonder how far away “hybrid houses” are. They may already be here. If so, I’d be extremely interested.

So here’s our objectives: we have to avoid even higher gas prices, decrease foreign dependency, avoid higher taxes, and avoid more government control. How can we do that?

As I said before, private organizations need to be encouraged or coaxed into developing these alternative sources of energy, not forced. This can all be done in a reasonable, economical, and feasible manner by introducing major tax incentives and government grants. But going to extremes like the Democrats want, or maintaining the status quo like some Republicans want is not the answer.

Conservatives much actually embrace the term “conservative” when it comes to energy. We have to find ways to conserve the energy we have. It’s not unreasonable to turn the lights off when we aren’t using them and things like that. We need to be practical about energy. I know I’ll probably get slammed by hardcore environmentalists and oil-crazed conseratives alike, but I hope you will consider these suggestions with an open mind.