Barack Obama: Speaking Loudly, Carrying The Same Old Stick
In an interview that will air tomorrow morning on Today, President Obama displays another example of what appears to be the “tough talk” strategy the White House adopted late last week on the Gulf Oil Spill:
(CNN) — President Barack Obama bluntly defended his administration’s response to the undersea gusher fouling the Gulf of Mexico on Monday, telling an interviewer he has met with experts to learn “whose ass to kick.”
“I was down there a month ago, before most of these talking heads were even paying attention to the Gulf,” Obama told NBC’s “Today” show in an interview scheduled to air Tuesday. “A month ago I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain talking about what a potential crisis this could be.”
A variety of critics have accused Obama of being too cerebral in his reaction to the undersea gusher now fouling the Gulf of Mexico, of failing to put the full force of the administration and of putting too much trust in oil company BP. But Obama told NBC his deliberations have been more than academic.
“I don’t sit around talking to experts because this is a college seminar,” Obama continued. “We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick.”
It will be interesting to see how the public and the media reacts to this, not the least being because this is the first time that I can remember that a President used and (admittedly minor) vulgarity in a public statement. This isn’t the 1950’s, so I can’t imagine that most people will think it’s that big of a deal, although I wouldn’t be surprised if the right-wing chatter machine tried to make it the outrage of the day for Tuesday.
More broadly, though, this is obviously part of the White House’s new strategy, which started on Thursday, to try to make it appear as though the President was angry and in charge when it came to the oil spill, A strategy that is no doubt a reaction to some of the complaints that have come from both the left and the right about the extent to which he has seemed to be disengaged throughout this crisis.
My question is to what end ? So the President has proven that he’s angry and is willing to use big boy words when talking about BP. How, exactly, is that going to accomplish anything substantive ?
The answer, of course, is that it won’t. Whether it’s the cerebral Obama or the “kick ass” Obama, the problems in the Gulf will still exist and the truth of the matter is that many of them are beyond the ability of the President, or the Federal Government, to solve. Perhaps it’s time that leaders like President Obama started communicating that truth to the American public, rather than acting like teenage boys in the school yard.