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Obama's Great Awakening

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President Barack Obama

This writer has often shared the mortification of progressives in President Obama's persistent willingness to compromise to get what he can get instead of rising above mediocrity to fight for all that he should get. Few of us ever consider that, historically, it often takes a new President, on average, two years to adjust to the full measure of the power of his office. Watching and listening to the President's first address to the nation from the Oval Office, I felt first immediate disappointment in his inability to pair his inspirational oratory with the flow of words from the teleprompter; then a gradual sense that, though not FDR or JFKesque, nonetheless, I was witnessing an unfolding banner announcing Obama had finally grown into the shoes of the presidency: that his actions listed as taken to bring the Deepwater disaster under control spoke more loudly than any of his words of rebuke and prayer could.

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Oh, how deeply disappointed were many of the pundits who had gathered for the immediate reviews when the President had finished: from all of FOX, MSNBC, and most of those at CNN, though not all. I was among the under whelmed until I took the time to read the speech to separate the taint of expecting drama or lack thereof as the lone qualifier for thumbs up or thumbs down.

So I broke the speech down to three areas:

(1) What did the President say he has done about this catastrophe?

(2) What did the President promise to do?

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(3) What did the President regret about his involvement in all of this?

Actually, the President let the nation in on a lot of things he has done since the day in April 20, 2010 when the Deepwater Oil Rig exploded:

(A) "We've directed BP to mobilize additional equipment and technology," the President said, predicting, "In the coming weeks and days, these efforts should capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well; this is until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that's expected to stop the leak completely."

(B) "We now have nearly 30,000 personnel who are working across four states to contain and clean up the oil. Thousands of ships and other vessels are responding in the Gulf. And I've 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, they're ready to help clean the beaches, train response workers, or even help with processing claims. I urge the governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible."

(C) "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've approved the construction of new barrier islands in Louisiana to try to stop the oil before it reaches the shore, and we're working with Alabama, Mississippi and Florida to implement creative approaches to their unique coastlines."

(D) "I asked Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, who is also a former governor of Mississippi and a son of the Gulf Coast, 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, conservationists and other Gulf residents."

(E) "I've 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. Already, I've issued a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling."

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(F) "Over the last year and a half, we've 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."

The President promised:

(a) "We will fight this spill with everything we've got for as long as 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."

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Retired, Robert Arend was president of an AFSCME local from 1997-2007.

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