Thursday, June 17, 2010

Obama's Speech - The Audacity of Hopelessness

I watched President Obama's speech Tuesday and tried to keep an open mind, but found it difficult. Despite being a supporter of Obama, what I saw was not inspirational, it was disappointing. Obama gives good speech, but at some time the rhetoric has to go away and there has to be some real substance. Talking about holding BP's feet to the fire is fine, but as time passes and the leak is finally plugged, the legal realities of this whole affair will eventually come down to BP digging in and fighting every attempt to extract money from them and hiding behind their Congressionally gifted liability limit. Sending National Guard to the area is a nice idea, but what is really needed is a whole lot of ships to skim the oil that has yet to make it to shore. Pledging to clean up the area is a nice promise, but the government still hasn't cleaned up the area, post Katrina.

I found it curious when Obama decided that he would favor more offshore drilling under the premise that we are too dependent on foreign oil. I found it curious because, as a Harvard guy, he must know that BP is a British corporation (Ltd. I think they call 'em) and all the oil they suck out of the earth goes into an international market. This guy is still trying to cut deals with Congress and big business after the finance and health insurance wars? Either Obama is getting some really bad advice or he is finally coming around to the reality of the Beltway.

Obama ran on a platform of hope and real change. He asked for and was given a mandate. This latest speech offered little hope and sounded eerily like Bush. His anti-intellectual blather about blessing the fishermen and how he wants God to bless America is insulting to anyone with a drop off brainpower. Religion and God is who cowards and conservatives turn to when they don't have a plan or are befuddled by nature and life.

Yesterday I watched an old documentary about Viet Nam and was reminded how our government lied to us through five presidencies about that whole debacle. Nothing has changed that I can see. In the day when big business started to exert too much influence over the lives of people the government turned to anti-trust litigation to reinstate competition. Times have changed and big business got a lot smarter. From banking to healthcare to energy, big business is in control and has learned well how to buy influence on capital hill and make sure that Congress has their back.

Obama promised a lot to get elected. He promised health insurance reform and caved on that, he promised to bring our troops home, yet proceeded to send more troops into Afghanistan and he promised to take this country in a new direction toward cleaner energy and independence of foreign oil. How's that working out?

What I saw Tuesday night was a President who, like a boxer, has taken a lot of body punches and is starting to weaken. He calls the chairman of BP into his office and the guy walks out with an arrogance that is telling about how unafraid big business is of government. Legally and politically there is only so much Obama can do. What he can do is go back out on the campaign trail and rally the citizens to start lobbying Congress themselves and to start demanding accountability from elected officials, exposing the economic links to their voting records.

This is not the time for God to bless America, this is the time to take the road less traveled and provide some insight and leadership. We got neither of those Tuesday night. The President going on TV is looking more and more like an SNL opening skit. Is there hope? Well there is an election coming up in November. Maybe, just maybe, the trend in this country toward independent voting and the rejection of party politics will have some impact. Voting is the only real influence citizens have in the game. I'm not particularly thrilled by the choices I'm being offered in Illinois come November, but until real hope and real change is offered up, I'm going to continue to vote against incumbents. I see little hope for real change up until the time when money is taken out of politics, when there are term limits are set for Congress and when a permanent, independent special prosecutor's office is established just to prosecute elected officials. I'm tired of being lied to.

Until we as Americans start feeling a little more audacious, nothing will change.

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