Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Obama oil spill speech: what the president should say but won't

Obama is about to give his first speech from the oval office.  I think Obama should 
  1. - call for shared sacrifice, not only pointing out that all Americans share some responsibility for the spill through their way of life, but propose immediate and concrete sacrifices to change course.  This  should include a national gasoline tax.
  2. - massively step-up response to the spill commandeering  dozens of supertankers to collect oil and several oil refineries to process the collected oil.  He should announce that hundreds of thousands of Americans will be put to  work cleaning beaches, etc.
  3. - sieze control of BP America, nationalizing all its assets and putting its management under the authority of his administration.   This way, there will be no question about matters of compensation.
  4. - pin blame for the disaster on Republican free-market ideology.   Those who have pushed hardest for deregulation have been America's self-proclaimed "conservatives".   Although Democrats have not opposed deregulation to a satisfactory extent, it's important going forward that one American political party declare its opposition to this root cause of the disaster.   Obama should point out that "deregulation" was also at the root of the financial crisis.   Obama should not speak another word about bipartisanship. Rather, he should emphasize that which distinguishes Republicans and Democrats.  Obama has an opportunity to show Americans that they have a choice
I don't expect Obama to say any of these things.  To the extent he touches on these themes, I anticipate it will just be talk. Obama's first priority as president is protecting the interests, position, and wealth of the corporate powers whom he serves.  Everything else is secondary.

UPDATE:  Sadly, my predication was correct.  Obama -- providing no concrete plan, direction, or specifics -- said, "Even if we're unsure exactly what that looks like. Even if we don't yet know precisely how to get there. We know we'll get there." (Transcript here).

Frankly, Americans deserve better than this from their president.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Because all comments on this blog are moderated, there will be some delay before your comment is approved.