OUR VIEW: The sinking of a presidency

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By The Staff

When the British Petroleum oil rig exploded in April and sank to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico taking with it the lives of 11 workers, the wave of popularity that swept President Barack Obama into office just 15 months earlier ebbed. With his administration clearly sinking under the weight of its own ineptitude and inaction, it’s as though the oil rig and Obama’s presidency were inextricably tied together. President Obama addressed the American public from the Oval Office last Tuesday only to find little buoyancy in a speech that delivered barely more than a sales pitch for passage of Cap and Trade legislation. Not only was the address paltry in terms of substance, but it also failed to convey to the American people that they have a true leader in charge.

Granted, one event and one speech do not a presidency make. One could possibly even discount the fact that this has turned into one of the most calamitous environmental disasters in the world and without question the most capacious of any in the United States. It’s even conceivable that one could turn a blind eye to the fact that it is now 60-plus days into this catastrophe and President Obama has yet to take control, and rally an adequate response to the ever-burgeoning scope of this disaster in the Gulf.  The one inescapable fact that is becoming crystal clear to Americans—and surely even President Obama himself — is that this man clearly lacks the leadership and perspicacity to do the job.

As Obama spoke Tuesday evening, he came across as a man who was all but drained of the last ounce of his mettle. Without question he flawlessly rattled off the words that the teleprompter spewed at him and his use of well-rehearsed hand gestures added emphasis at just the right moments. But President Obama was clearly a changed man; not only was the speech rather laconic in comparison to other presidential addresses, even more troubling was the lack of any spark or fire in his eyes. Also absent was the conveyance of conviction in his voice. Barack Obama is now a man clearly engaged in second-guessing himself. Surely, he must be pondering the cruel twists of political fate that elevated him to become the most popular man in the world — a virtual deity — and now a mere 18 months later to find himself at the helm of an administration adrift and on the brink.

A product of the mean political streets of Chicago, Obama has shown himself to be a shrewd and calculating politician. He campaigned as a moderate and centrist to handily win the election. Once in power, he unleashed a torrent of far left leaning legislation that has expended a monumental amount of taxpayer money and ratcheted up the national debt, but has as of yet to produce any palpable results for the American people. Then, during Tuesday’s address, for Obama to use that platform as a bully pulpit to espouse the benefits of Cap and Trade legislation epitomizes why this man is a great politician, but further illustrates why he’s not very presidential.

Simply stated, Cap and Trade legislation — which has already passed in the House of Representatives — is little more than a bait and switch sham that will raise the cost of energy for everyone, impose more useless burdensome new taxes, and drive American jobs overseas; but Barack Obama has never been one to let a few nagging little details like that get in the way of his agenda. His year-long battle with Congress in which he twisted a lot of arms and practically used a cattle prod to gain passage of the health care bill is a prime example of how Mr. Obama adheres to a precise political agenda to chart his course for the future of America.

“The American people want to hear that the President has a doable plan for stopping the continued spewing of oil and for cleaning up the mess. They do not want to hear him exploit a tragic oil drilling accident to fulfill his political agenda of replacing fossil fuels with costly, unviable alternative fuels that will drastically change our way of life,” said Dana Joel Gattuso, director of the Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs of the National Center for Public Policy Research.

“Never let good crises go to waste,” is the mantra of Obama’s inner circle. This administration relishes governing by crisis; passage of the $787 billion stimulus package gave Americans their first taste of that brand of governance. It left many people scratching their heads with a sense of amazement that such a porky piece of legislation could have sailed though both houses of Congress with such little scrutiny.  Once the long term consequences were realized, many who had voted for Obama came to understand what buyer’s remorse is all about.

Early on in the BP crisis, President Obama was quoted as shouting at his staff, “Just plug the damn hole!” Now some 60 days down the road, he might as well be shouting that about his own administration and his sinking favorability ratings in the polls.