Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oil exploration - a massive FAIL that calls for all kinds of revisions

We all should step back occasionally and make revisions.  It ain't easy when it comes to certain things (hello, novelists).  But in the wake of President Obama's Oval Office speech to the Nation, I'm thinking about a required revision I should have undertaken weeks ago.  Of course it's all related to the massive underwater oil volcano still erupting in the Gulf of Mexico.  Plainly stated, I was wrong when I gave Obama props for his long-range plans to open up offshore oil exploration.  And by revising the logic behind my earlier support for that political judgment call, I hope this brief mea culpa makes its way up the media foodchain to the President's desk.  I'm not expecting too much.  Just remember how my little bitchy fit about Williams-Sonoma paid off.

Obama's speech last night was a massive failure.  I think it just shows how out of their element his team is when dealing with an actual evolving crisis that they didn't inherit.  Obama wants to out-think this mess and out-straight-talk it - you can see and hear it dripping from every phrase he turns.  But he just plain doesn't say anything and his masterful cadences have begun to grate on even his more ardent supporters.  As a result, we're rudderless as the news gets exponentially worse every day.  Looking forward, the first hurricane that churns through the Gulf will upgrade the shitestorm of this underground septic tank leak into an exploding outhouse that sets the woodpile and outlying buildings on fire.  Or the rough equivalent.  What Obama does and says the next few weeks will set the tone for the entire summer.  So last night's speech was WAY too late and WAY too vague.  Move on and don't look back.  Because you had an off night with a really poorly written speech is now being kicked sideways by everyone this side of the World Cup.

This takes me back to the point I'd made at the end of March.  I thought that Obama was making a smart advance move in opening up the possibility of more exploration.  And in so doing, I thought he could eliminate the possibility of the GOP gaining ground in terms of energy policy which figured to be the next political battleground after financial reform.  What I (along with just about everyone else - even those that are paid to be keyed up on this stuff) didn't realize was that we can't drill safely.  Not at the depths we need to explore at for the foreseeable future.  Our regulatory oversight is horrible, the industry is arrogant, and we've got no money in escrow as a Nation to handle the costs if something goes wrong.  Allowing further exploration right now is just unconscionable.  Whether or not I should have seen that in March is beside the point - I was commenting on political points of expediency.  And I was way off my rocker wrong.  My apologies.

Maybe you're wondering why I'm bothering to get this out there.  Bloggers are people too, is my excuse.  And like many of my fellow citizens, I'm trying to figure out what to do about the disaster in the Gulf.  I've never even been to the beaches in Florida or off the coast of North Carolina.  Those are among the places that eventually will be soiled by all this.  So I'm just clearing my own conscience, with the equivalent of a small drop in the ocean of questions and failures we are all seeing form off the summer shore.  Sadly, that's about the only spill I'm able to deal with for the time being.

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