On Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. President Obama will, for the first time in his
presidency, address the nation from the Oval Office. He will discuss
the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the response so far, and his plan
of action going forward. Here's what commentators are expecting and urging the speech to address.
- Confront the American Oil
Addiction Politics Daily's Walter Shapiro says Obama
must "confront the environmental consequences of America's three-decade
failure to resolve its serious energy problem. Far more than the
president's pedestrian East Room press conference in late May, this
speech probably will be what voters remember when they assess how Obama
handled the tragedy of oil poured onto the troubled waters of the Gulf
of Mexico." Though "pleading" for cap and trade legislation would be a
waste of time, "Obama does need to make the case that this is the moment
for America as a nation to confront our insatiable thirst for oil."
America For New Oil Policies Center for American Progress climate
chief Daniel Weiss prescribes that
"President Obama must use this moment to rally Americans to support a
sweeping oil reform agenda that permanently changes the way big oil does
business. This means building public demand for standards and
investments that deeply cut the $1 billion per day spent on foreign oil,
ending tax loopholes for big oil companies, and beginning to crack down
on global warming pollution." Weiss lists seven proposals to "reduce
oil use and pollution."
- Draw Parallel With Economy The New York Times' Jackie Calmes writes, "In the year and a half since Mr.
Obama became president at the height of
the worst recession
since the Great Depression, he has repeatedly
tried to balance a message of hope, amid signs that the economy is
mending, with a frank concession that recovery will continue to be
painfully slow. Now the president must strike the same sort of balance
in talking to the
nation about the oil spill."
- Prove Connection to Gulf Residents Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley tells
Politics Daily, "This is his fourth visit to the Gulf and he is making
many speeches in the region. ... What he has to do is show he has
collected anecdotes, facts and eyewitness accounts and bring them back
to Washington and use the ultimate bully pulpit, the Oval Office prime
time address to the nation as his venue."
- Rise Above Oil Spill to Address Bigger Issues The Atlantic's James Fallows asks, "Can he match Ike? By which I mean,
can he begin using this moment to do what the country really, truly,
most urgently and lastingly needs? I am not talking about demonstrating
his emotional 'outrage' or 'toughness' about the problem. I mean using
this catastrophe the way Dwight Eisenhower used the shock of Sputnik's
launch in 1957, to rouse the nation to deal with problems it should have
addressed decades earlier."
He Push Energy Reform? The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder writes, "the
White House is remaining mum on whether the President will use the 20
minutes the networks have given him to call for -- and push for -- a
comprehensive energy policy." Ambinder predicts a likely possibility
could be, "a speech that focuses on the oil industry, pollution
reduction (including renewable standards and CAFE standard enhancement),
lots of money for relief and reconstruction, and an assumption of
responsibility for the clean-up."
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