President Obama's first address from the Oval Office can be summed up with a song lyric from the 1951 Broadway musical, "Paint Your Wagon":
"Where am I goin'? I don't know.
When will I get there? I ain't certain.
All that I know is I am on my way."
Trying to gain momentum he might have had in the initial days following the BP oil disaster, the president took aim at several targets. He is unlikely to hit any of them, with the possible exception of BP, which could conceivably be forced out of business if retribution becomes the goal. Liberals love to beat up on big business, but beating up BP to the point of bankruptcy will not only cost U.S. jobs, but also threaten thousands of pensioners in Britain.
After pledging massive efforts to help clean up the continuing mess while acknowledging damage will continue for a long time, the president turned to his real agenda, which is known as cap and trade, or to conservatives, "cap and tax." He erroneously said, "We are running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water." No we're not. We are running out of places environmentalists will allow us to drill. There's plenty of oil (and gas) to be found under the earth, but the far-left greenies in pursuit of their cowardly new world will have none of it.
The president tried to coin a phrase, saying we need a "national mission" that will lead America to the promised land of energy independence. Every president since Jimmy Carter has said the same thing. At least President Obama didn't give his speech in a cardigan sweater. More about Obama's style in a moment.
The president said he has issued a six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling until an investigation is completed into the cause of the BP accident. But we already know the cause from internal BP emails. Safety was compromised in exchange for speed and profit. The accident was an aberration. It appears most offshore oil platforms function safely and efficiently. Allowing for the construction of new ones closer to shore with proper oversight is an important step the president should take. Allowing existing oil rigs to continue pumping will preserve jobs.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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