Janet Daley writing in the Telegraph:
The BBC reports of Barack Obama’s speech last night are about as derisive as it would be possible to be about someone you were describing only a few months ago as the incarnation of Hope and Optimism. Yes indeed, the romance is over. The British media have decided that it was all a cruel deception: Obama is just one more ranting populist president who will do anything to divert attention from his own failure to get a grip. And this is not just about BP and the fate of all those pension funds.If you think that was a little rough get a load of Matthews & Company. It is as if Chrissy just realized that was’t a “tingle” running up his leg but rather a tinkle running down it:
Nor is it simply the demonising of Big Oil – which makes the US president sound as if he were recruiting his speech writers direct from the student union – that has evoked the UK media’s collective sneer. What has been much commented upon – especially by those fastidiously liberal BBC correspondents – is Obama’s pointedly bellicose language: the US is apparently engaged in a “battle” to be waged in very personal, anthropomorphic terms “against an oil spill that is assaulting” its coast. Considering how relentlessly the Bush “war on terror” was ridiculed, how long will it take before the Obama “war on an oil slick” is labelled as absurd? Given the tone of this morning’s coverage, perhaps not very long at all.
Well when all else fails, at least Obama still has The Huffington Post on his side. Oops! Not any more:
President Barack Obama took to the Oval Office to address a nation worried to death over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a location used so much more often by Saturday Night Live than by actual presidents that my brain actually released a small dollop of dopamine in anticipation of comedic parody. And then, over the next seventeen minutes, nothing much happened to challenge my brain's autonomic preconceptions.Remember, this is from people who like Obama. Obama BFF Janeane Garofalo even went so far as to say, “No, I didn’t feel that it was a strong speech, and I felt that the prayer thing he did was pandering and anti-intellectual and just sort of a waste of time.” (Video at Weasel Zippers)
I am really not entirely sure what the point to this Oval Office address was! Were you looking for something that resembled a fully-realized action plan, describing a detailed approach to containment and clean up? Or perhaps a definitive statement, severing the command and control that BP has largely enjoyed, in favor of a structured, centralized federal response? Maybe you were looking for a roadmap-slash-timetable for putting America on a path to a clean energy future? Well, this speech was none of those things.
I mean, don't get me wrong. Obama really, really wants to stop the oil spill. And he really, really wants to hold BP accountable for the damage they've done. And he really, really wants the Gulf Coast to come through this hardship and he really, really wants to wean us from our dependency on foreign oil, and oil in general. But "really, really wants" is not a plan, and only the bitterest and most brain-dead of political opponents would have presumed, going into tonight, that Obama had not yet properly sentimentalized his opinions on any of those matters.
Poor Obama, he can't make anybody happy. On one level that is okay-the presidency isn't supposed to be a popularity contest. But it isn't his action, but lack of action that makes him unpopular. A little executive experience would go a long way right now. Unforunately, that is above Obama's paygrade.