Saturday, May 29, 2010

All That Goo

BP spills and says oops. Obama spills his heart out five weeks too late. Conservatives spill their beans asking for more federal response.

If our beloved president could only gush the way the black stuff does. He needs to respond less like a dispassionate wonk and more with the voice of outrage. It doesn’t matter that the light is on in the White House till the wee hours and he’s been working through the night with frayed nerves. The American people require visuals; a montage of the man in charge scolding the crooked and greedy and reaching out to Louisiana fisherman and environmentalists. He is too cool when he needs to get hot.

Maybe he is too smart for the office. He thinks and acts substantively instead of stylistically. He needs to get ahead of the narrative because his absence is loudly registered.

This crisis is a fastball down the middle; a big fat pitch he could have hit out of the park. It is the propitious moment to call out the rapacious oil companies, a clarion call to demand safeguards for all existing off-shore wells. Drilling four miles from the earth’s surface demands far more rigid back-up plans for disaster. Canada requires a second rig on location in case a relief well is needed to seal a blow out. This can be a wake-up call to weigh the true price of fossil fuels against the urgency to invest in renewable sources.

Half way into his second year in office it seems clear that Obama is more than a bit misaligned with the vox populi; not the populist rage steeped in tea but the reasoned, independent and/or liberal voice of his constituency. His inherent empathy seems directed more toward the financial crap shooters and giant multi-nationals than it is with the screwed………the pensioners who have lost their retirement, buried miners, those dispossessed of their homes and workers who have seen their jobs sail away.

Capitalism is a hungry beast. It can never be satiated. It is also the engine that drives our economy and we all have a piece of it. How to tethered it, curb its avarice and re-kindle its other mission as a public trust? From newspapers to mega-stores to big oil corporations, each has a greater role in society than beating last year’s bottom line.

The government is the agency of the people. Of, by and for are more than diminutive prepositions. Since Teddy Roosevelt government is recognized as the only institution acting on behalf of the public good with enough muscle to curb business abuse and promote the general welfare.

Republicans have perfected the art of speaking out of both sides of their mouth. We repeatedly hear about big government except when they want federal intervention to stop the oil geyser or patrol the border or subsidize agri-business or police the world. Wanton disregard for our planet as evidenced by this current oil spout is miniscule next to the gush of deceit issuing from their mouths.

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