The Corner

Glad I Missed the Speech

I didn’t watch the president’s speech last night. I went to the movies to see something more realistic and believable. Reading the text this morning, it’s clear I made the right choice.

The speech had a fundamental disconnect at its core. The president said economic recovery is “our top priority,” and yet embraced immediate efforts to increase energy costs and impose new environmental regulations throughout the economy. He dismissed those who argue alternative energy sources aren’t ready to displace carbon-based fuels: “the same thing was said about our ability to produce enough planes and tanks in World War II.” Yes, and such production was achieved by rationing resources and imposing wartime economic commands.  Is that really the president’s model? Perhaps. After all, he acted as if he, and he alone, could command that BP “pay,” without recourse to courts or due process.

While the president likes to assert his authority, he remains unwilling to accept responsibility. He deflected blame, as is his habit, highlighting failed management of the Minerals Management Service under President Bush, but failing to acknowledge the failures of his own administration, including his own initial appointment of someone with no meaningful management or energy sector experience to run troubled agency, and her subsequent resignation. Nor could he acknowledge the widespread dissatisfaction with the federal government’s response to the spill. 

From what I’ve read this morning, folks weren’t any more impressed with the president’s presentation than with his substance. It sounds like I made the right choice to go to the movies.

Jonathan H. Adler — Jonathan H. Adler teaches courses in environmental, administrative, and constitutional law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

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