This kind of criticism of the president made me realize that many people may resent the president not because he is liberal, and not because he is black, but perhaps most of all because he is smart, skinny and industrious. He reminds Americans that we are dumb, fat and lazy, and we don't really appreciate being reminded of that. Maybe also because he is so smart and hard-working, we would prefer to blame him for all of our problems instead of trying to correct them ourselves.
Let's focus for a few minutes on the content of the speech. After telling us all the administration is doing to fix the problem, and that BP is also going to be held fully responsible, the speech leads to the conclusion that there are things that all of us can do to wean ourselves off our dependence on oil. Let's face it. The reason we had a giant oil spill is that Americans think we have a God-given right to as much cheap oil as we care to use, so we are willing to put up with drilling off our coasts, and we are willing to allow the oil companies to cut a few corners so they can keep us supplied with the oil we crave. We are unwilling to change some of our habits, and pay more for our oil-driven lifestyle. The part of the president's speech that undoubtedly went over the heads of most people was the part that called on all of us to change:
For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we've talked and talked about the need to end America's century-long addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires. Time and again, the path forward has been blocked -- not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor.
(top: White House photo)
(thanks to Greg Jones for flagging this story)