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Obama's speech: There's a pipe spewing a gazillion gobs of oil into the gulf, so let's build more windmills

Florida governor Charlie Crist checks out the uh oil situation on one of his state's beaches

Gov. Charlie Crist checks a Florida beach for signs of oil

For all his reputation as the nation's Top Talker, Barack Obama took his sweet time giving a maiden Oval Office address to the country. And waiting another nearly 60 days to speak nationally about the oil spill that’s become the worst environmental disaster in the nation’s history.

Obama, the first modern president to pass his first full year in office without addressing the country from his historic desk, had the setting right. Just back from a day-and-a-half on the gulf coast listening, reassuring, talking tourism, eating seafood. He wore the proper suit, had the requisite flags and family photos in the background.

For 18 minutes he delivered the words crisply and forthrightly, though too often distracting anxious viewers with his fidgeting hands like the lecturing professor he once was. Or wait! Was Mr. Cool nervous? (See video below.)

Obama had the firmness down OK: Make no mistake etc. We will hold BP accountable etc. He....

...had the God references. The talk of real live shrimpers devastated. An American way of life threatened. And though he likened the spill more to an epidemic, he also brought in the requisite battle metaphors. And, has Obama ever mentioned, there's another Nobel Prize winner in his cabinet, Stephen Chu, who hasn't been able to stop the oil leak either?

But there was something wrong. The first two-thirds of the president's remarks read just fine (Full text over here on The Ticket as usual). By golly, we’ll get the money, we’ll clean it up, no matter how long it takes.
Democrat president Barack walks to the Oval Office shortly before his national speech 6-15-10

But watching the president and hearing him was a little creepy; that early portion of the address was robotic, lacked real energy, enthusiasm. And worst of all specifics. He was virtually detail-less.

After almost two months of waiting through continuously contradictory reports, an anxious American public wanted to know, HOW are you going to accomplish all this?

Even Obama's cheerleaders over at MSNBC were complaining. "Where was the How in this speech?" demanded Keith Olbermann. Seriously.

Everyone's assumed that fixing the leak was a given since Day Four, which was still five days before the Democrat got his big plane and presidential entourage down there.

Local gulf coast officials are tearing out their hair trying to comprehend and comply with seventeen (as in seven more than 10) federal agencies falling all over themselves to do The Boss’ bidding and help and impose and superimpose their visions and regulations on what is a war zone with hundreds of ships and some 30,000 people involved, many of them frightened. And all of them inexperienced on a disaster of this scale.

Trust me, the president said, tomorrow I'm going to give those BP execs what-for. As CBS' Mark Knoller noted on his Twitter account, the president has allotted exactly 20 whole minutes this morning -- 1,200 fleeting seconds -- to his first-ever conversation with the corporation responsible for the disaster.

Then, he's got an important lunch with Joe "I Witnessed the World Cup's First Tie" Biden.

Well, just-believe-in-my-change-to-believe-in may have been good enough to win Obama's party primaries and the general election in 2008 and drag along into office enormous congressional majorities of fellow party travelers.

Democrat president Barack Obama gives his first Oval Office Speech 6-15-10

But after yelling "JOBS!" for a year and getting a protracted Democratic intra-party fight over Obama's beloved healthcare instead, Americans wanted some Oval Office specifics Tuesday evening on stopping the uncontrolled undersea oil escape.

Instead, Obama was like a Harvard-trained nurse talking vacation to a new patient bleeding all over the ER floor. Hello, could we please stop the blood flow here before we discuss the long-term recovery?

Obama’s delivery did not really come alive until the end when the ex-community organizer got into his favorite Big Picture stuff. Memo to American Homeowners: Do not call Obama over to fix your leaking roof – or pipe. Have him design a new house, no, better yet an entire neighborhood or city from scratch.

Following the advice of his chief of staff, Rahm "I Got a Rent-Free Apartment from a BP Adviser" Emanuel, Obama is determined to leave no crisis unused. When he got into the decades-long fossil fuel addiction rehab stuff, his eyes shone. His delivery punched up.

Now, that is an issue that requires greatness. Another galactic reform out of Hyde Park. It sounds swell unless mega-trillion-dollar federal deficits are on your mind, which voter polls now show ranks with terrorism as Americans' top fears.

Obama’s historic presidential campaign was not only big in terms of an unprecedented three-quarters of a billion dollars to win. It was about Big Promises. He was going to change America, radically reform the entire education system, healthcare, comb the entire federal budget line-by-line, oh, and change the 200-year-old partisan ways of the capitol. About the only big change the White Sox fan didn't promise was getting the Cubs a World Series ring.

It was all impractical, of course. But the country wanted to believe.... his change to believe in. And it did, handing complete control of the federal government over to Obama and his Democratic party. And today, after 17 months of lop-sided Democratic majorities now nervously confronting midterm elections Nov. 2, about 60% of Americans would like the new healthcare bill repealed. And they're hinting they'd probably like some more Republicans in Congress too.

President Obama has said he doesn’t sense an appetite to address something as large as the illegal immigrant issue this year. But suddenly – watch the left hand over here because he wants you to not focus on how long it’s taken him to take charge of the spill – he thinks there’s a compelling need to spend a motorcade full of moola that the federal government doesn’t have in order to change the country’s energy habits.

And we've gotta start that right now because of an underwater leaking pipe 40 miles off Louisiana that we haven't plugged and don't really understand how it broke in the first place. So let's do the electric car thing and build more windmills now.

And if, by chance, the nation’s politicians end up fighting over an energy plan during the next five months until the voting, maybe the politically damaging healthcare regrets and hidden costs will drown in all the words like so many thousands of seabirds in all the gulf’s still-surging oil.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Joe Raedle / Getty Images; Rod Lamkey / AFP / Getty Images; Getty Images (pool).

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When you put the most inexperienced, unqualified, dangerously naive, and unaccomplished person EVER into the White House who grew up hating his country, why would 17 months of national disasters be a surprise to anyone? This buffoon was a fraud and charlatan from the git-go and now even the whacked out leftists are finally admitting it. If this wasn't so sad and tragic, it would be funny!

Obama administration clueless about Maine manufacturer of absorbent boom material. Miles available to purchase but they dither on specifications? Buy a clue Mr. President?

The time for impeachment has come. No one believes a word these people say and now everyone can see the man behind the curtain.

Mr. Malcolm nailed it.

I had to repeatedly check the URL to confirm that I was actually reading the LA Times. I then checked to see if I was reading an Op-ed piece.

This president should be back in Chicago putting flyers under windshield wipers in suoer market parking lots again. At least he was good at that evidently.

Obama administration now decides to use Dutch oil skimmers. Let's see, 4 skimmers removing 146,000 barrels a day being used since day 6 which would allow for 3 days to be shipped via air from the Netherlands. Now that would mean that little to no oil would have hit the marshes or the beach areas. Hmmmm.

Thank you for this opinion Mr. Malcolm.

President Obama looks and acts like the rookie that he is. His priorities are absolutely backwards and now the American public knows it. His lack of experience and socialist agenda are at the forefront.

It will be a miracle if this nation survives this bs until 2012. There is going to be a political bloodbath in November and the Dems had better be shaking in their high priced shoes.

Americans are tired of being ignored, ridiculed, mocked and cheated out of their hard earned money by these thieves. Enough is enough.

Doesn't any one get it yet? It's not about personalities; our leaders are all puppets of the corporations - they have NO say. They can't regulate the banks, or the banks crash the market as a warning - they can't control the corporations because the corporations own them. Wake up - there will never be another Roosevelt, never. - Eisenhower summed tried to warn of this in his farewell address - the military-industrial complex are in charge - and they're destroying everything. Puppet presidents and Puppet prime Ministers are powerless, having ceded control a long time ago. So let's sit back and watch them destroy the planet.

How can you Obama believers feel that it is too early to judge his administration. Shall we start after Iran gets "the bomb" or wait for his commission on how to get the budget under control to tell him he is spending too much. We shouldn't wait another day while he goes on a date with Michelle or plays golf again? Let's go and build windmills as he suggested! Maybe he will address the problem sometime soon.

I was tempted to say it a couple of months ago, but now it's completely proveable: This is the worst President in the history of the Unity States. Even his "great" speaking ability is no longer working for him.

As a conservative Republican, I wish Hillary had won the nomination. At least we would have had 2 experienced candidates for President. And what Hillary didn't know, Bill could help.

The good news is that congress is about to make a huge change, and there will be a true conservative in the White House in 2012/13. Republicans will keep Obama on a tight leash until the next President comes in the clean up Obama's mess.

It wasn't too long ago that even the most liberal democrat would have called anyone a liar who claimed a communist would one day be in a Presidential administration and that another would claim Mao as one of her favorite philosophers.

It happened!

the strawman better go see the wizard for a brain. and a backbone and other vital parts.

i think ''MR. Rogers'' could do a better job. Or maybe ''Barney, the purple dino,or a freakin rock.

Those of you who believe in this Global warming lie or who think we can wave a magic wand and exist or advance with out fossil fuels at this point in our history should collectively pull your head out of your rear ends. Obama as he has in the past is just using another crisis to advance his socialisty agenda which has nothing to do with advancing or maintaining the US as a World leader. is it just more world socialist spread the wealth BS. There may be a time in th efuture when hydrogen cars and electric cars are feasible to use but it ain't now. How do you think your gonna recharge those electric cars today , rub them on a woll sweater. The technology has not caught up to the liberal oil free world fantasy. LIVE WITH IT and quit trying
to choke off the US and its citizens for your political BS.


Dear Mr. President,

The word is en"sure".... not en"shore".

I tried a windmill on my car, but it only worked when I drove fast.

Really Tom, Thats some intelligent dialogue. Fascist! Do you think that the Black Panthers armed with clubs verbally intimidating and pacing outside a Philadelphia voting station on behalf of Mr. Obama isn't a tad fascist. Actually it meets the definition much better than your evidence. Oh wait, I'm sorry. You don't have any evidence. Just hateful speech without anything to back it up. How about the union thugs brutally beating someone. (on video). Who is one of the most frequent visitors to the White House. I know Andy Stern. Who does he work for?

The change you can believe in is an attempt of a complete government takeover of every single industry that they can get their hands on. Now they are talking about monitoring and controlling the content of the web in the name of "fairness". I believe that Hugo Chavez did the same thing.

The change you can believe in is downright frightening.

The rest of the Nation should do everything opposite of what CA says/does because everything they do is disastrous to their state and soon the rest of the country! If they suggest windmills, drill, if they suggest let the illegals in we should keep them out!

Mark my words: The US government is incompetent (except at giving special rights to women). This oil spill will last for years.

Show me the first automobile that runs on windmills! Hybrids run on batteries and on gasoline. Stop drilling and where do you get the gasoline? Cars don't run on solar either. With what are you going to replace oil to run the automobiles? Or does every one get a pair of roller skates?
All you people that want us to stop drilling, please come up with another way of travel prior to getting your way.
Think before you engage your mouth to voice your totally impractical opinions about energy.

Of course if government hadn't required that oil companies drill so deeply in the first place -- for environmental reasons, of course -- then leaks would be much easier to stop, and big environmental disasters like this wouldn't happen.

But these guys are right out of Atlas Shrugged, dropping that entire context and putting the blame on BP, who they expect to do SOMETHING, while being regulated to death, even in the act of trying to solve this problem.

And don't even get me started on Health Care. REPEAL!

The Barack Obama Gulf Disaster Progress Report!
Blame Bush - CHECK
Blame BP - CHECK
Blame Congress - CHECK
Blame Palin - CHECK
Raise Taxes - CHECK
Date Night - CHECK
Golf Outing - CHECK
Concerts - CHECK
Plug Hole -
Clean Up -

Teleprompters don't plug holes! And blame solves nothing! - The Anti Obama SuperStore

Wow, something anti-Obama from the Times? A first!

(AM responds: Not really. Please keep checking back. You might be pleasantly surprised.)

Speech was very uninspiring, full of nothing as usual,
spend money on irrelevant things right now that we cannot affort. Obama is out of touch with reality.

Treason...............Impeach Obama and all his communist idoit stalin friends.

You people who voted for Obama are more responsible for this disaster than he is. Silly, unserious, hoping for a miracle, lottery-buying, hope and change idiots elected this moron to the presidency. Kind of makes you lose confidence in America, except that we the people, who pay taxes and suck up mistakes and get on with our lives no matter what, will vote these jerks out of office BIG TIME this year. Then we will have a lame duck disastrous president for two more.

I cannot afford Obama's dreams! He says "war on oil", when we have a real war overseas and a real war on our southern borders....which all he did was bash the Gov. of Arizona!

He has placed over 80 bans on coal mining permits in 3 States....last Nov. our electric bill more than doubled and now they want another rate increase, stating that it was the cost of coal...if we are not allowed our own resources, while China and Russia circle the globe for all they can get their hands on....of course we will be paying out the ying yang for all fuel resources!

I see a lot of poor people freezing to death this coming winter, those on fixed incomes!

Obama is destroying our Land of Opportunity, he doesn't care about our country, he has the same opinion as the U. N. elitists!

NO jobs, taxes everything, and he also spent 10 million last year on his parties, and paid Paul McCartney to sing for him!

Now I see he is taking our tax dollars and spending $1.2 billion on bike paths!

No sir, I cannot afford you and I hate what you are doing to our country and our right to make a living without government telling us what we can and cannot do!

It seems to me that this is an irresponsible article with unrealistic expectations. Does Obama have the knowledge and expertise to sit down with BP execs and solve the problem? Hardly, that would be a ridiculous expectation, he does however have all it takes to sit down with them for 20 minutes and deliver a swift kick in the ass.

What do you expect? Nobody knows how to solve this problem, BP should have had more "safety valves" in effect, they didn't, the price is being paid now. Alternatives to this means of energy should be looked at and to not do so would be truly irresponsible.

Right on, ......etc. Obama thinks in the global, the massive, the structure, and believes he can leave the mundane parts to his administration. Picture his walks by the beach, his times with the folks, the intent ear leaned forward to empathize with their tragedy, and what do you see? Someone bored with all of this, almost incapable of filling this role. God bless 'em, George and Bill were much better at this. He has had to come down from his ivory tower, get the sweat of the people on his tailored suits, and he just doesn't like it.

"BTW, what one earth do girls think they gain by dressing like the two in the Charlie Crist pic? That's supposed to be attractive? Yuck. Another sign that we have lost our way."

Paul B is a Minnesota bathroom stall away from coming out.

The President said the reason we are drilling so far off shore is because we are running out of room to drill on land. He can't believe his own BS, he just can't. I'm waiting to see that solar powered teleprompter. I'm gonna invent a car that runs on Skittles and good intentions. Get real, The Emperor has no clue!

"Forward, comrades! Long live the windmill!" - George Orwell, Animal Farm quote.

This spill couldn't happen if we drilled in Alaska. So drill, baby, drill! And I'd love to have Palin in there right now over the community organizer. You can "betcha" she'd be handling this much more decisively.

Stop with the right vs. Left propaganda. Whats wrong is wrong. criticize your presdent its your damn right..People treat him like a rock star or a baby...Im so sick of it! Bush was a puppit Obama is one too. Obama is for everything that bush did and more. LIKE the patriot act yes i said it :) it was set to end Dec 2009 guess who made patriot act 2.0. This change crap sucks!

Do Some Reseach everbody. Most people dont belive it but OUR GOVERNMENT funded and trained Al Qaeda. Keep a open mind and research everything...

Ask Questions & think for yourself.

Phenomenally irresponsible is how I describe Obama. And just think about the 2 trips to the Gulf for photo sessions to appear presidential--think about the money he spent to go to the beach and sift sand in his hand. What a fool! He's worse than worthless, he's a fraud.

Pretty good speech, I thought. I wanted more, however there is no more that the President can say or do. This is a first time ecological disaster of epic proportions and I fear we have made a mess very much bigger than we can deal with. “Drill baby Drill” Even at that time, it seemed too simplistic of a concept to be believable. America now needs to close ranks; Republican and Democrat to face this and the coming energy, water and food shortages that are looming for our planet only a few decades ahead like the proverbial tip of the iceberg. The current oil spill seems sure create hundreds of miles of dead-zone on our southern shores and in the gulf. No fish, no wildlife no source of food, no future and the broader ecological outlook sure looks like there are way bigger problems ahead. Shall we just continue to blame the current President? Maybe increased Democrat/Republican polarization and hotter rhetoric will help? We might have to be bigger people than we ever wanted to be or ever thought we could be.

Anyone that was actually expecting Obama to detail in his speech last night exactly *how* the oil spill was going to be stopped quickly is a fool. If there is *anyone* on this planet that actually knows *how* to quickly stop the spill, they would have done so two months ago. The best bet for stopping the spill is the two wells that BP are drilling...but they won't be completed until August. BP, and everyone else, sitting around on their hands doing nothing until then would be even less acceptable than what's happening now, so BP is trying anything and everything else that anyone can think up in a desperate attempt to stop the flow before August. Unfortunately, all these attempts either don't work, or don't work very well.

But at least BP's *trying* things to stop the flow of oil. Few others are. Particularly, the people that are complaining that BP isn't doing enough certainly aren't coming up with any suggestions of their own...and if you don't have any suggestions as to what to try next, then you need to STFU.

Just echoing what others have said (I think i'm the 437th to comment), wonderful to see this kind of view on the LATimes site. Mr. Malcolm, you are brilliant. Your use of satire and real facts make you a wonderful writer. I sat by in 2008 watching friends and relatives make the horribly stupid decision to jump on the BO bandwagon to hell. Some have admitted that they made a mistake, my mostly older, Jewish friends leading the way, believing NOW that BO is no friend to Israel. There really is no fun in being right and having to tell others "told you so", not under these circumstances. The sad truth is that most people do not understand that the president and the congress WORK FOR US. We the taxpayers, fund their salaries and everything else that they spend money on. Why should we continue to pay them when we can't even feed ourselves? Throw the bums out come November! Fire congress as quickly as employers showed us the door when doing layoffs. "Do you need help boxing up your stuff from your desk at your $18k per month rental office?" Those who cry "Leave Obama alone, he's doing the best that he can" are enabling fools. It is not our job to stroke his ego. He WILL join the ranks of Jimmy Carter and be a one term president. Mark my words.

(AM responds: Well, thanks for the nice words, Jennifer, and for checking us out. I hope you'll keep returning and we can both see if your prophesy of 2012 turns out. Thanks again.)

The state governments are doing a better job than the federal government. The federal government should give the states the money and equipment. The federal government has to much on its plate right now; it cannot handle everything that goes on in the country. This is a perfect example of why federalism works and centralized government fails.

To Jennifer Sanderson,
I feel for you. Those of us who were smart enough not to fall for this snake-oil salesman in the White House derive no pleasure from saying, "I told you so." It accomplishes very little. But, hopefully, the "newly-educated" who voted for Obama will let the adults be in charge from now on. Pay attention to what the people in Texas are saying, and you can't go wrong. If that happens, there is hope even for California, and maybe BHO's Presidency will not be a complete waste!

Good article. Tacky photo, I mean really it was just a fluke that fat-butt hag was walking by. Pretty disrespectful of the Governor. To the "babe" in the pic, put some shorts on and lose some weight honey... Gross

Obama really does need more windmills - to tilt at.

"There will be growth in the Spring"

Unbelievable.....In what is shaping up to be the environmental disaster of the century, THE GREAT LEADER takes the time to shill for Gores' Carbon Credit Scheme. Its not enough that the London Banksters loot America. Now they want to impose a regulatory regime that will ultimately impact of every facet of life as we know, leaving precious little freedom as the control grid / curtain is lowered
Well, as Naomi Klien pointed out with her thesis on disaster capitalism, no sense in wasting a perfectly good crisis.
What Carbon Credits have to do with this spill (sic) is beyond me. But I am sure the powers that be will be happy to explain.

I am scared for humanity and scared for the planet. I hope that we will figure out some solution to this problem because it is the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history and I'm sure that the longer it takes, the worse it will become.

Tom Degan -- Your comments are the paradigm case for wearing your ignorance as a badge of honor.

He's a "boy" in deep, over his head. He knows not, what to do.

Obama .... such a disappointment

Herbert Hoover of the 2000's

Why do we find these non-executive politicians who have never led a Boy Scout troup , muchless a city or state ... and then become President ?!?!?!?!?

Did anyone at BP think to test the area around the well for the existence of explosives in the water? I haven't heard it mentioned anywhere, and now it's too late.

Seems like the eco-extremists would do about anything to get cap and tax passed and shut down drilling anywhere. The timing on this disaster is just too darn convenient.

A view from Canada:

So 'Brand Obama' PR campaign to repair the US's image after a decade of blatant war-crimes has crumbled. And now the commentators here wish it was another of the major candidates in power right now...

All you 'democracy-exporting' Americans do for elections is FLIP A COIN! Your 2-party system is a bread & circuses theater run by the your corporate aristocracy & military-intelligence masters.

You'll no sooner save your Gulf coast than you'll invade Iran or get back to the moon. You've now raised a generation of North American kids (Canada's kids included) on illegal war, inescapable porn and South Park 'Republicanism'. Unless you get serious about investing in national infrastructure and political legitimacy your country will be overripe for a textbook case of fascism.

So yell 'left' & 'right' until you're hoarse if it makes you feel better - we all got to pass the time as we wait for that final chicken to come home to roost.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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