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Obama's Great Awakening

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(b) "We will offer whatever additional resources and assistance our coastal states may need."

(c) "If something isn't working, we want to hear about it. If there are problems in the operation, we will fix them."

(d) "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."

(e) "Secretary Salazar and I are bringing in new leadership at the agency -- Michael Bromwich, who was a tough federal prosecutor and Inspector General. And his charge over the next few months is to build an organization that acts as the oil industry's watchdog -- not its partner."

What no pundit appears to have picked up on is the President's admission of regret for his pre-Deepwater opening of the gates for more deepwater oil drilling:

"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.

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That obviously was not the case in the Deepwater Horizon rig, and I want to know why."

So, President Obama didn't perform well enough for the pundits in the audience. No fist banging. Mild anger instead of rage. Sincere expressions of compassion were spoken for the plight of citizens living around the Gulf of Mexico and for the rest of the nation's struggling peoples--without headline-producing caustic words for those that done and continue to do them wrong. Some even derided his appeals for prayers for the people of the Gulf, concluding that as a summary of the entire 18 minute speech.

Of the disappointed pundits, I must be relieved none are the President of the United States. It is they who are all talk. The evidence is clear that this President has, without self-promotion nor fanfair, been a man who has acted, perhaps not always decisively, but acted powerfully nonetheless.

It is sad only that the most serious environmental catastrophy in the history of the United States had to happen before Barack Obama could be awakened to the fact he is not the usurper of the second Clinton presidency, but belonged in that Oval Office he broadcast from Tuesday night. He answered that 3:00 AM call and did what he was elected to do. And I pray this President never feels again he has to tip-toe out of some inward mistaken doubts that he doesn't belong where he has arrived.
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Retired, Robert Arend was president of an AFSCME local from 1997-2007.

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