I really didn’t want to watch President Obama’s Oval Office speech last night.
The last Oval Office speech I watched was the one George W. Bush gave on March 19, 2003 at the start of the invasion of Iraq. I remember thinking at the time, and telling others too, that he doesn’t care a whit about weapons of mass destruction or Saddam Hussein’s immorality or the dictator’s lack of regard for the rules of war. I don’t know whether it was his body language, or his facial expressions or tone of voice, but the impression he left with me is that he wanted very badly to invade Iraq, and all the rest was just excuse.
I was so disturbed by that speech that I refrained from watching any more Presidential addresses for the remainder of Bush’s Presidency, and, until last night, had refrained from watching any of Obama’s speeches, too.
However, I’ve been blogging (see here and here) lately about Obama’s incompetent and arrogant response to the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, so I thought I’d better tune in to the speech to hear what he had to say about it.
What I heard was not at all reassuring. In fact, while watching the speech, I had an uneasy feeling of déjà vu. Like the Bush Oval Office speech more than seven years ago, Obama’s speech left me with the distinct impression that he has another agenda and the crisis he was addressing — in this case, the Gulf oil spill — is merely the excuse to push it.
Oh, I’m sure Obama cares, in a detached way, about the damage the oil leak has done. But what he cares mostly about is political damage, not the disruption to the lives and livelihoods of the people of the Gulf coast.
Although Obama didn’t get to his real agenda until the last third of his speech, his detailing of what he and his administration have done and are planning to do to deal with the crisis is exactly what we’ve come to expect from this President — expansive talk, lots of finger-pointing, but no indication that he even understands the problem.
But he does understand that people are angry with BP, and much of his speech was a rather ham-handed attempt to shift all the anger at his administration onto the British company. On the eve of his meeting with BP’s non-CEO chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, Obama announced that he will “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”.
Obama can “inform” all he wants. The fact is, BP is a British company and he has no power to make the them do anything. The only sanction the U. S. government has against BP is to deny the company the right to drill off our shores and to ban the sale of BP products in the U. S. — and if he does the latter, he will hurt Americans more than he hurts BP.
BP, I am sure, will try to make restitution to the extent it is able. But if the bill presented by Obama exceeds the value of all their U. S. business, the company may just decide to walk away.
It’s all hype, anyway. As Holman Jenkins pointed out in today’s Wall Street Journal, “In choosing to address the nation last night before today’s meeting with BP execs, Mr. Obama signalled plainly that he’s not interested in anything they have to say. The inverted two-step was a pure show of power.”
What Obama really wants is to transform the U. S. economy from one dependent on oil to one dependent on so-called “alternative” energy sources, i.e., wind and solar. The Gulf oil spill, just like Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, is just the excuse.
As Jenkins says, “From trying to distance itself from the spill the White House is turning on a dime to hype the Gulf disaster beyond its already alarming proportions. The goal: to steamroll into law a new climate-and-energy bill the public has said again and again it doesn’t want.”
If anyone has any lingering doubts that Obama is fundamentally a far-left ideologue whose larger goal is to transform the United States into a socialist republic, this should dispel them.
The United States is beyond broke. We are in the midst of a deep recession, with unemployment stubbornly hovering around ten percent, and we’re fighting an unwinnable war halfway around the world that is now in its ninth year. Yet Obama wants Congress to pass, in the guise of a cap-and-trade bill (which they are now disingenously calling an “energy” bill) the largest tax increase in U. S. history.
But it’s even worse than that. The Bush tax cuts are due to expire at the end of the year. Whether the cap-and-trade bill passes or not, Congress’ time will be so taken up in debating it they will have no time to consider the extension of the tax cuts.
Win or lose, we get a tax increase at the end of this year — which, I suspect, is what Obama has been hoping for all along. This way, when middle-income families see their taxes go up, when we reap the resulting disastrous effect of a tax hike on an already prostrate economy, Obama can still claim he has kept his promise not to raise taxes on families earning less than $250,000 a year.
It is time we recognize that Obama is not the leader the American people thought they were getting when they elected him. He is more interested in transforming than governing. He sees himself as a visionary revolutionary leader in the mold of V. I. Lenin. The difference is that Lenin, at least, had the sense to recognize that rushing into socialism was destroying the Russian economy, so he pulled back and introduced the New Economic Policy. A similar realization has not yet come upon Obama.