Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Obama’s oil spill speech: the Blessing of the Fleet


Obama gave a prime-time address to the nation on the BP oil spill.

MY, SUCH VIOLENT LANGUAGE: “I’ve returned from a trip to the Gulf Coast to speak with you about the battle we’re waging against an oil spill that is assaulting our shores and our citizens.”

OH, SO THAT’S WHY: “That’s why just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge”.


UNLESS YOU COUNT CHENEY’S SECRET ENERGY TASK FORCE: “Already, this oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.”

WAIT, I THOUGHT IT WAS AS ASSAULT: “And unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, it’s not a single event... The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic”.

THAT’S THE THING ABOUT OBAMA: HE NEVER WANTS US TO MAKE ANY MISTAKES: “But make no mistake: We will fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long as it takes.” He didn’t say what we’ve got or how long it will take.

WAIT, I THOUGHT IT WAS AN EPIDEMIC: “And sadly, no matter how effective our response is, there will be more oil and more damage before this siege is done.”

INFORMING: “Tomorrow, I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company’s recklessness.” I’m guessing he’ll “inform” Tony Hayward of that because he lacks the legal authority to order him to do it.


WHAT WE NEED: “we need a long-term plan to restore the unique beauty and bounty of this region.” And booty. And Ned Beatty.

NOBODY COULD HAVE PREDICTED...: “A few months ago, I approved a proposal to consider new, limited offshore drilling under the assurance that it would be absolutely safe –- that the proper technology would be in place and the necessary precautions would be taken.”

RUH ROH: “the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs -– but only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation”.

How will he “seize the moment” and “act as one nation”? By listening to Republicans, of course, because that always helps. “So I’m happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party -– as long they seriously tackle our addiction to fossil fuels.” And then he’ll adopt those ideas and the Republicans will vote against them anyway, the end.

WHAT THE ONE APPROACH HE WILL NOT ACCEPT IS: “But the one approach I will not accept is inaction.” Oo, big talk. And what about failure? Is that an option, or is it maybe not an option?

And we can do it, he says, because we put a man on the moon, even though some people said it couldn’t be done. Which was the proof that technology can do anything at all, including drill safely for oil a mile beneath the ocean, so enough with the moon landing thing already, is what I’m saying.

“And yet, time and again, we have refused to settle for the paltry limits of conventional wisdom. Instead, what has defined us as a nation since our founding is the capacity to shape our destiny -– our determination to fight for the America we want for our children. Even if we’re unsure exactly what that looks like. Even if we don’t yet know precisely how we’re going to get there. We know we’ll get there.” Er, where was that again?


His big finish was about a local tradition called the “Blessing of the Fleet,” which he heard about in his many trips to the Gulf Coast or possibly when he rented The Perfect Storm. Priests of miscellaneous religions bless the shrimp boats, which then go out and sink, because “The blessing is not that God has promised to remove all obstacles and dangers. The blessing is that He is with us always.” Like the images in our brains of oil-coated pelicans.

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