Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Obama's First Oval Office Address: The Limits of Talk

I thought the high point of President Obama's first address to the nation from the Oval Office was his invocation of American success in producing planes and tanks in World War II, and our success again in getting safely to the Moon and back in 1969, despite conventional wisdom to the contrary.   Both provide inspiring examples of our capacity to do extraordinarily difficult things, which is what we must do to recover from the BP oil spill, and make sure spills like that don't happen again in the future.

And the low point?   Well, that resides in the difference between any speech, any talk, however good, and actions.   Until we see evidence that the spill has been contained, that its ill effects have been reversed, that policies and technologies are in place to prevent something like that from happening again, no fine words from any President will suffice.

Obama did tell us something new and very hopeful tonight - that the capping process already in place will suck up 90% of new oil leaking.    If that's indeed the case, that's good news indeed.

Meanwhile, initial media coverage, as per usual, did not do much to help.  I just heard Chris Matthews, yet again, carp about the mention - this time, from Obama - that Steven Chu won a Nobel Prize in physics.   I've yet understand how Chu's Nobel Prize is in any way hurting our government's response to the oil spill.

But the media, like the Presidential address, are comprised of words.   America and the world are waiting for actions and results.
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