The Cowardice of Kagan

June 29, 2010

Today the blowhards in Congress get to question Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Despite her 1995 writing that the nomination hearings are “vapid and hollow” because the nominees will not speak their minds and actually answer questions in a forthright manner, Kagan is being as bland and devoid of substance as a Carpenters album.

Politically, of course, it’s a smart tactic. The last Supreme Court nominee with the cojones to speak his mind about judicial issues was Robert Bork, whose treatment by the Senate led to his last name becoming a verb meaning “to smear.” Since then, every Supreme Court candidate has told the Congress absolutely nothing. It really started with Ruth Bader Ginsburg who was counseled to express no strong opinions and to mouth support for the rule of law and the Constitution, even though she believes in neither of these fundamental aspects of American life. Ginsburg is so far out of even the liberal mainstream that had she been honest about where she stood on the issues, she would have put her nomination in jeopardy.

Of course, conservative nominees do the same thing. Justices Roberts and Alito were bland at best in their confirmation hearings, expressing support for precedent and for original intent and avoiding specificity by claiming that they couldn’t offer opinions on issues that might someday be on the Court docket. More recently, Sonia Sotomayor used the same tactics and now it’s Elena Kagan’s turn.

There is a difference, however. When Roberts and Alito expressed their support for the Constitution, and promised to abide by the law as it is written, they were telling the truth. Sotomayor and Kagan are parsing their words very carefully to avoid outright lying.

Elena Kagan was right in her 1995 writing, even though she was guilty of overstating the case. It is actually correct for a nominee to decline comment on specific issues and specific cases because they may come before the Court. Where both Sotomayor and Kagan are being disingenuous is in their full-throated support of original intent and their denial that they will bring their own prejudices to bear.

Both Sotomayor and Kagan are judicial activists. They believe that the role of judges in America is to preside over disputes like Solomon, using their wisdom to provide outcomes that are fair and reasonable. We know this about them because it is the belief of the man who nominated them, Barack Obama, a man not likely to make the mistake of picking a Justice who will be anything less than far, far Left.

What really speaks volumes here is the fact that the Left feels they must hide their activist nature from the prying eyes of TV cameras and blogging heads. If Kagan believes that her judicial philosophy is legitimate, she should have the courage to sit before the Judiciary Committee and defend her philosophy. It’s a conversation long overdue in this country, but the Left does not want to have this discussion because they know that they hold the losing hand with the American people. If Kagan has the courage of her convictions, she should come right out and tell the Judiciary Committee that she will rule on cases based on the evidence, but also based on what her heart and her political convictions tell her is the fair thing to do. When Republicans and conservatives point out that her philosophy of law makes the very foundation of the country, the Constitution, an arbitrary and meaningless document, she should be ready to explain how her philosophy strengthens the Founding documents.

She will do no such thing. She can’t, because her philosophy is unpopular and untenable. The Left wing knows that they lack the will of the American people in getting their agenda passed by the Legislature, and so they corrupt the Court system by infiltrating the bench with people who rule based on the law as they wish it to be, not as it is written. In order to appoint these judges, the nominees must play the game and pretend to be something that they are not.

Politically it’s understandable. But by any other name, it’s also cowardice.

The Roundup: At National Review, Shannen Coffin offers first-hand evidence of a serious Kagan lie. Hot Air has more on the same topic. Breitbart TV has audio of Kagan defending a campaign finance reform law that would ban books, and The Anchoress weighs in on the same audio. There’s Michelle Malkin on Kagan Kabuki. At the American Spectator, Kagan tries to split the baby, like Solomon, on the nature of the Constitution and stands by her opposition to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Sen. Robert Byrd, RIP

June 28, 2010

It’s been obvious to anyone who follows these things that Robert Byrd, the Senator from West Virginia, has been a Senator in name only for quite some time. Now he has died, at the age of 92, the longest-serving Senator in United States history.

There was much to disagree with when it came to Byrd. He was a staunch liberal and the undisputed King of pork barrel projects for his home state. He was a former Klansman who led a filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and as recently as a few years ago made some disparaging remarks about “white niggers” during a Fox News interview, though by all accounts he had left his racist past behind him and was an early endorser of Barack Obama. The speeches that he delivered on the Senate floor in recent years were staggering in their lack of coherence and could easily be seen as an indication that he was no longer in possession of all of his faculties, yet he possessed the ego to believe that at the age of 89 he should run for Senate again. Had he lived, he would probably have run again when his term was up in 2012. Byrd had never lost an election, and politics was his life.

There was nobody who better understood the inner workings of the Senate. If there was an arcane rule or regulation that the Democrats believed they could use to their advantage, it was Byrd’s counsel they sought. Everywhere he went, Byrd carried a pocket-sized edition of the Constitution, and he would sometimes wave it in the air as he spoke before the Senate, as a reminder that the members of that chamber were beholden to the law, a fact so many of them choose to deny.

The policies and laws pushed by Robert Byrd have done much damage to this country, as he was a reliable vote for progressivism throughout his career. But he was also a man with a family and friends who are now in mourning and deserving of our prayers and best wishes. Let history take care of the political legacy. Now is the time to simply wish him Godspeed, and remember the humanity. RIP.

The Roundup: Doug Powers, guesting at Michelle Malkin’s site, discusses what comes next from West Virginia. Hot Air also chimes in. The American Spectator points out how the perception of Byrd would have been very different if he’d been a conservative and also the arcane rules of succession in West Virginia.

Big Government has an obit.

What Was McChrystal Thinking?

June 22, 2010

The word is out today that General Stanley McChrystal, in charge of operations in Afghanistan, gave an interview to Rolling Stone in which he, and some of his staff, bad-mouthed President Obama, Vice President Biden, National Security Advisor James Jones, the ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, and Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke.

What in the name of God was McChrystal thinking? Rolling Stone, of all magazines, is not going to try to portray the general in a positive light, but they are not to blame here. These mistakes were McChrystal’s own. Regardless of his explanation, he should be, and probably will be, removed from his post.

This is unfortunate because McChrystal is by all accounts a good soldier and a good man, who is trying to do an extremely difficult job without much support from the White House. My guess is that he is correct in his assessment of the Administration. But in the military this kind of public talk about one’s commanding officer, and Obama is the Commander-in-Chief whether we like it or not, can not be tolerated. Douglas MacArthur was correct in his assessment of what to do in Korea, but wrong in his public criticism of Harry Truman. A great American hero, MacArthur deserved to be removed from his post because of his flagrant violation of military protocol. So it is true for General McChrystal, as well.

I have no doubt that McChrystal’s criticisms (and most of the negative remarks came from the mouths of anonymous aides, not the General himself) were because of the frustration he feels in dealing with an Administration that wants to have it both ways in Afghanistan. But frustration is no excuse. Assuming the reports are true, McChrystal needs to be reassigned or retire. Just because the kids are running the show that’s no reason to engage in such a breach of protocol. Sad.

Over at Hot Air, they’re saying that the Rolling Stone article is every bit as bad as they feared.

Obama’s Awful Office Address

June 16, 2010

You know it was bad when Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews said it was bad. Of course, I’m sure that Olbermann at least was looking for Barack Obama to pull the severed head of BP CEO Tony Hayward from his desk drawer and intone, “This is what you get when you mess with me!” Anything less than that was bound to be disappointing.

But really, it was dreadful. Here’s the transcript, with extra added snark.

Good evening. As we speak, our nation faces a multitude of challenges. At home, our top priority is to recover and rebuild from a recession that has touched the lives of nearly every American. Abroad, our brave men and women in uniform are taking the fight to al Qaeda wherever it exists. And tonight, I’ve returned from a trip to the Gulf Coast to speak with you about the battle we’re waging against an oil spill that is assaulting our shores and our citizens.

We know. Being President is hard.

On April 20th, an explosion ripped through BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, about forty miles off the coast of Louisiana. Eleven workers lost their lives. Seventeen others were injured. And soon, nearly a mile beneath the surface of the ocean, oil began spewing into the water.

Because there has never been a leak of this size at this depth, stopping it has tested the limits of human technology. That is why just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge—a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s Secretary of Energy. Scientists at our national labs and experts from academia and other oil companies have also provided ideas and advice.

In the face of this crisis, the Administration seems to have developed a verbal tic. It can’t stop mentioning that the Secretary of Energy is a Nobel prize-winning physicist. So what? That doesn’t mean that he has the foggiest notion about what to do in a situation such as the one we’re currently in. Bragging about your brain power is only good if it matters to the subject under discussion. When Dr. Chu wins a Nobel prize for stopping oil leaks, let me know.

As a result of these efforts, we have directed BP to mobilize additional equipment and technology.

All that Nobel Prize winning brainpower and they came up with: “BP should do more.”

In the coming days and weeks, these efforts should capture up to 90% of the oil leaking out of the well.

A risky statement since there’s really no way of knowing whether this is true or not. I hope he’s right.

This is until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that is expected to stop the leak completely.

Already, this oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced. And unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, it is not a single event that does its damage in a matter of minutes or days. The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years.

But make no mistake: we will fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long it takes. We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused. And we will do whatever’s necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy.

There he goes again, getting all tough and leader-like. By now we all know that BP stands for British Petroleum. It also stands for British Pensioners, those perfectly innocent folks who have a lot of their life savings and pension accounts tied up in a stock that Obama seems determined to drive into the ground. Here’s a suggestion, Barry. Work with BP to solve this problem. They didn’t do it intentionally. It wasn’t an act of war. Solve the problem, then figure out if BP did anything wrong.

Tonight I’d like to lay out for you what our battle plan is going forward: what we’re doing to clean up the oil, what we’re doing to help our neighbors in the Gulf, and what we’re doing to make sure that a catastrophe like this never happens again.
First, the cleanup. From the very beginning of this crisis, the federal government has been in charge of the largest environmental cleanup effort in our nation’s history—an effort led by Admiral Thad Allen, who has almost forty years of experience responding to disasters. We now have nearly 30,000 personnel who are working across four states to contain and cleanup the oil. Thousands of ships and other vessels are responding in the Gulf. And I have authorized the deployment of over 17,000 National Guard members along the coast. These servicemen and women are ready to help stop the oil from coming ashore, clean beaches, train response workers, or even help with processing claims—and I urge the governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible.

Because of our efforts, millions of gallons of oil have already been removed from the water through burning, skimming, and other collection methods. Over five and a half million feet of boom has been laid across the water to block and absorb the approaching oil. We have approved the construction of new barrier islands in Louisiana to try and stop the oil before it reaches the shore, and we are working with Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida to implement creative approaches to their unique coastlines.

As the clean up continues, we will offer whatever additional resources and assistance our coastal states may need. Now, a mobilization of this speed and magnitude will never be perfect, and new challenges will always arise. I saw and heard evidence of that during this trip. So if something isn’t working, we want to hear about it. If there are problems in the operation, we will fix them.

This is all well and good, but Obama’s admission that things “will never be perfect” is ridiculous. Perfection was never expected. What was expected was a response that was timely and decisive. When the governor of Louisiana requests permission to build sand berms the answer is a simple “Yes,” not “We need to get an environmental study done first.” When the Jones Act is mentioned you issue a blanket waiver, you don’t whine that “nobody has asked us to do that.” The Federal Government is a bloated behemoth under the best of circumstances but in this case it’s acting like a beached whale that’s decided to learn to walk on land rather than go back out to sea.

But we have to recognize that despite our best efforts, oil has already caused damage to our coastline and its wildlife.

We’ve seen your best efforts? Really? Man, we are in trouble.

And sadly, no matter how effective our response becomes, there will be more oil and more damage before this siege is done. That’s why the second thing we’re focused on is the recovery and restoration of the Gulf Coast.

You know,

I love that folksy “You know.” He is a man of the people for sure.

for generations, men and women who call this region home have made their living from the water. That living is now in jeopardy. I’ve talked to shrimpers and fishermen who don’t know how they’re going to support their families this year. I’ve seen empty docks and restaurants with fewer customers—

I have no doubt businesses are suffering, but how many times has Obama been to these restaurants for him to be able to tell, by personal observation, that they have fewer customers? A nit, I know. He’s being empathetic here (in his cold, reptilian manner) so I should cut him some slack.

even in areas where the beaches are not yet affected. I’ve talked to owners of shops and hotels who wonder when the tourists will start to come back.

They’re not actually wondering about that. They know the answer. “When the leak stops and the beaches and water are clean.”

The sadness and anger they feel is not just about the money they’ve lost. It’s about a wrenching anxiety that their way of life may be lost.

I refuse to let that happen.

Sorry, Barry, but unless you’re hiding a cape and tights under your suit, you are not actually capable of stopping this. It would have been so easy to forcefully say, “This will not happen” but then it wouldn’t serve his gargantuan ego.

Tomorrow, I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company’s recklessness. And this fund will not be controlled by BP. In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent, third party.

And under whose legal authority will you do this? You don’t actually have the legal right to do this. The way you can accomplish this is only with BP’s full cooperation. BP may agree to it, but that doesn’t mean Obama can simply order it to be done. The suggestion that the government will somehow be more efficient at handling claims and paperwork is silly. What I can guarantee is that a lot more illegitimate claims will be processed.

Beyond compensating the people of the Gulf in the short-term, it’s also clear we need a long-term plan to restore the unique beauty and bounty of this region. The oil spill represents just the latest blow to a place that has already suffered multiple economic disasters and decades of environmental degradation that has led to disappearing wetlands and habitats. And the region still hasn’t recovered from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. That’s why we must make a commitment to the Gulf Coast that goes beyond responding to the crisis of the moment.

I make that commitment tonight. Earlier, I asked Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, a former governor of Mississippi, and a son of the Gulf, to develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan as soon as possible. The plan will be designed by states, local communities, tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservation

What this problem needs is a Czar. One might ask what a former Secretary of the Navy knows about restoring the Gulf, but that kind of question just gets in the way.

The third part of our response plan is the steps we’re taking to ensure that a disaster like this does not happen again. A few months ago, I approved a proposal to consider new, limited offshore drilling under the assurance that it would be absolutely safe —that the proper technology would be in place and the necessary precautions would be taken.

That was obviously not the case on the Deepwater Horizon rig, and I want to know why. The American people deserve to know why. The families I met with last week who lost their loved ones in the explosion—these families deserve to know why. And so I have established a National Commission to understand the causes of this disaster and offer recommendations on what additional safety and environmental standards we need to put in place.

Thank God…a Commission! A National Commission, no less. Problem solved.

Already, I have issued a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. I know this creates difficulty for the people who work on these rigs, but for the sake of their safety, and for the sake of the entire region, we need to know the facts before we allow deepwater drilling to continue. And while I urge the Commission to complete its work as quickly as possible, I expect them to do that work thoroughly and impartially.

Of all the dumb things this Administration has done during this crisis, this is hands-down the dumbest. You know what the economically decimated Gulf region needs right now? For all those oil rig workers to be laid off for the next six months. And since this moratorium is not relegated to the Gulf, it means hundreds of thousands of newly unemployed oil rig workers. This is the equivalent of grounding all air traffic for six months because of a plane crash. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

One place we have already begun to take action is at the agency in charge of regulating drilling and issuing permits, known as the Minerals Management Service. Over the last decade, this agency has become emblematic of a failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility—a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves. At this agency, industry insiders were put in charge of industry oversight. Oil companies showered regulators with gifts and favors, and were essentially allowed to conduct their own safety inspections and write their own regulations.

When Ken Salazar became my Secretary of the Interior, one of his very first acts was to clean up the worst of the corruption at this agency. But it’s now clear that the problems there ran much deeper, and the pace of reform was just too slow. And so Secretary Salazar and I are bringing in new leadership at the agency— Michael Bromwich, who was a tough federal prosecutor and Inspector General. His charge over the next few months is to build an organization that acts as the oil industry’s watchdog—not its partner.

It’s Bush’s fault.

One of the lessons we’ve learned from this spill is that we need better regulations better safety standards, and better enforcement when it comes to offshore drilling. But a larger lesson is that no matter how much we improve our regulation of the industry, drilling for oil these days entails greater risk. After all, oil is a finite resource.

Drilling for oil entails greater risk? Than when? Is it riskier than it was thirty years ago? Twenty? Ten? Drilling for oil right now is the safest it has ever been, and not as safe as it will be ten years from now. That’s the way these things work, and this horrible accident doesn’t change that fact. The true risk here is when governments force the oil companies to drill in deep water. If this leak were in 500 feet of water instead of 5000 it would have been capped by now but the government, aided and abetted by the environmental lobby, keeps pushing the rigs further out. It is true that oil is finite, however. By most accounts we only have a few hundred more years worth of oil left. We better act now.

We consume more than 20% of the world’s oil, but have less than 2% of the world’s oil reserves. And that’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean—because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.

Actually, that’s not why. It’s because people like you won’t let us drill on land and in shallow water. ANWR, anybody?

For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we have 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.

But now I, Bravely Bold Sir Barry, will ride forth and be bravely bold!

The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries that should be here in America. Each day, we send nearly $1 billion of our wealth to foreign countries for their oil. And today, as we look to the Gulf, we see an entire way of life being threatened by a menacing cloud of black crude.

Is he actually suggesting that China…the country that banned cars from its capital during the 2008 Olympics because of the pollution is going to “go green” before us? The country that’s building coal plants at a staggering pace? Umm…I don’t think so. China’s probably got about thirty years before it catches up to where we are now.

We cannot consign our children to this future.

Standard Democrat talking point. Do it for the children. What? What can we do for the children? Here’s the windup…

The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash American innovation and seize control of our own destiny.

This is not some distant vision for America. The transition away from fossil fuels will take some time, but over the last year and a half, we have already taken unprecedented action to jumpstart the clean energy industry. As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses are making solar panels. Consumers are buying more efficient cars and trucks, and families are making their homes more energy-efficient. Scientists and researchers are discovering clean energy technologies that will someday lead to entire new industries.

And here’s the pitch…

Each of us has a part to play in a new future that will benefit all of us. As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of good, middle-class jobs—but only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation—workers and entrepreneurs; scientists and citizens; the public and private sectors.

When I was a candidate for this office, I laid out a set of principles that would move our country towards energy independence. Last year, the House of Representatives acted on these principles by passing a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill—a bill that finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America’s businesses.

That’s right. This entire speech was, in the end, a pitch for Cap and Trade, a proposal that wouldn’t do anything to limit our dependence on foreign oil but would absolutely destroy the coal industry and throw a whole lot of people out of work.

Now, there are costs associated with this transition. And some believe we can’t afford those costs right now. I say we can’t afford not to change how we produce and use energy— because the long-term costs to our economy, our national security, and our environment are far greater.

So all of you people out there who are worried that your utility bills will skyrocket…well, you’re right. But if you’re not willing to bite that bullet for Barry’s awful agenda, you’re just a part of the problem.

So I am happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party—

As long as either party doesn’t include ideas that won’t dramatically expand the size and scope of the Federal government.

as long they seriously tackle our addiction to fossil fuels. Some have suggested raising efficiency standards in our buildings like we did in our cars and trucks. Some believe we should set standards to ensure that more of our electricity comes from wind and solar power. Others wonder why the energy industry only spends a fraction of what the high-tech industry does on research and development—and want to rapidly boost our investments in such research and development.

All of these approaches have merit,

Acrtually, no they don’t. Obama thinks they have merit because they all have one thing in common: a massive increase of government.

and deserve a fair hearing in the months ahead. But the one approach I will not accept is inaction. The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is too big and too difficult to meet. You see, the same thing was said about our ability to produce enough planes and tanks in World War II. The same thing was said about our ability to harness the science and technology to land a man safely on the surface of the moon.

Except that we knew how to make planes and tanks, and we knew how to build rockets. We have absolutely no idea how the “green agenda” is supposed to work. It’s all just pie-in-the-sky theorizing at this point.

And yet, time and again, we have refused to settle for the paltry limits of conventional wisdom. Instead, what has defined us as a nation since our founding is our capacity to shape our destiny—our determination to fight for the America we want for our children. Even if we’re unsure exactly what that looks like. Even if we don’t yet know precisely how to get there. We know we’ll get there.

It is a faith in the future that sustains us as a people. It is that same faith that sustains our neighbors in the Gulf right now.

Each year, at the beginning of shrimping season, the region’s fishermen take part in a tradition that was brought to America long ago by fishing immigrants from Europe.

What? By “fishing immigrants?” Were his speechwriters on a break?

It’s called “The Blessing of the Fleet,” and today it’s a celebration where clergy from different religions gather to say a prayer for the safety and success of the men and women who will soon head out to sea—some for weeks at a time.

The ceremony goes on in good times and in bad. It took place after Katrina, and it took place a few weeks ago— at the beginning of the most difficult season these fishermen have ever faced.

And still, they came and they prayed. For as a priest and former fisherman once said of the tradition, “The blessing is not that God has promised to remove all obstacles and dangers. The blessing is that He is with us always,” a blessing that’s granted “…even in the midst of the storm.”

The oil spill is not the last crisis America will face. This nation has known hard times before and we will surely know them again. What sees us through—what has always seen us through—is our strength, our resilience, and our unyielding faith that something better awaits us if we summon the courage to reach for it. Tonight, we pray for that courage. We pray for the people of the Gulf. And we pray that a hand may guide us through the storm towards a brighter day. Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America.

Now I’m sure there are Kool-Aid drinkers true believers out there who wept with joy at the rousing finale, but this speech was a mess. Instead of a ten minute speech where Obama came out and addressed the problem and reassured the public, we got a 20 minute campaign commercial for Cap and Trade with a few gratuitious shots at both George W. Bush and British Petroleum. It was, like almost everything this President does, a cheap political stunt.

The Round Up: Michelle Malkin’s syndicated column is about Obama’s fetish for Czars. Hot Air calls the speech “a disaster.” In America’s Newspaper of Record, Jonah Goldberg calls the speech a “gusher of presidential goo, while on National Review he points out what the real green energy is.”

Not Letting The Gulf Crisis Go To Waste

June 15, 2010

Tonight Barack Obama will be addressing the nation from the Oval Office, his first such address. Typically, addresses of this sort are done in times of emergency or catastrophe. One thinks of Reagan’s touching address to the nation after the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.

What this means is that the President has decided that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is of sufficient importance to merit an address to the nation of this kind.

He’s right about that. Late to the party, but right.

My concern, unfounded at this point, is that Obama will revert to type and use the address as a way of polishing his own now tarnished reputation. I’m sure he will impart information about the Federal Government’s efforts in the Gulf, but if history is a guide the speech will more than likely be little more than an attempt to 1) sound tough and in command; 2) try to reverse his increasing negative ratings; 3) blame the Bush administration; and 4) advance a policy agenda, most likely Cap and Trade.

This calamity in the Gulf is not a political issue, but the President is the most intensely political person to ever hold the keys to the White House. He seems genuinely incapable of seeing that an environmental catastrophe of this sort transcends party lines, or he would not even be thinking along these lines:

“I think it’s fair to say, if six months ago, before this spill had happened, I had gone up to Congress and I had said we need to crack down a lot harder on oil companies and we need to spend more money on technology to respond in case of a catastrophic spill, there are folks up there, who will not be named, who would have said this is classic, big-government overregulation and wasteful spending.”

It’s a ridiculous comment on a lot of levels (Dan Riehl has some here), but the most important level is that in a time of national emergency Barack Obama has managed to casually and egregiously insult the opposition party for no reason other than that’s just the way he rolls. The oil spill presented Obama with an opening to slap the Republicans, and he seized that opportunity. The fact that the Republicans had nothing to do with this is beside the point. This gem of Progressive thinking from Rahm Emanuel immediately leaps to mind:

“You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid.”

The important thing for Obama in the current crisis is not gratuitously insulting Republicans. That’s just a bonus. The important thing for Obama is getting his Cap and Trade energy policy passed. I’m betting that Obama, partisan hack that he is, will not be able to get through his speech tonight without reminding us that we need some type of comprehensive energy policy, that we need to move beyond fossil fuels, that we need to pass Cap and Trade. Of course, Cap and Trade doesn’t really have anything to do with oil, and while a world that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels may (or may not) be desirable it’s not going to happen any time soon. But that is irrelevant. There is a crisis in the Gulf now, and Obama has let it go to waste for nearly 60 days now.

That will likely change tonight.

Michelle Malkin’s on target with Obama’s revolting comparison of the Gulf to 9/11, while Mona Charen chimes in on what Obama should say (but won’t) on NRO.

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