Like the Danish World Cup
Soccer Football team, President Obama tonight solidified his sobriquet as Wimp-in-Chief and kicked the ball into his own goal and put points on the board for the opposition. While we expected a parallel to JFK’s man-on-the-moon speech, what we got was a bunch of platitudes and set of actions more befitting Gerald Ford than John Kennedy. Now we have not one, but two commissions to drag out deliberations even further. One commission, headed by an ex-Mississippi governor, will work on the restoration of the coastal areas. The other, headed by a prominent lawyer, will develop new regulations.
What we needed to hear was how we would wean ourselves off dirty fuels with the urgency and clear goals of a Manhattan Project. Instead, we got a continuation of the same ineffective approach that got us into this mess in the first place.
What should the president have done?
First, he should have set a clear, measurable, and challenging goal – just like JFK did in 1961. I would have liked him to have said something like “We will reduce our consumption of dirty fuels – coal, oil, gas, and uranium – by 50 percent in ten years.” Secondly, just as the Manhattan Project had a strong and powerful leader with essentially unlimited resources in General Groves, the president should have put a pit bull in charge with a “take no prisoners approach” – someone like Joe Biden, who can make things happen without worrying about a political career ten years down the road.
Mr. President – as one of your ardent supporters, I was greatly disappointed tonight. We needed bold leadership tonight, and all we got was a speech.