Critics on the Left: Obama's Oil Speech Didn't Kick A--

Liberals pan speech as technocratic

By Greg Wilson
|  Wednesday, Jun 16, 2010  |  Updated 5:36 AM PDT
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President Barack Obama is photographed after delivering a televised address from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday June 15, 2010. President Obama said the nation will continue to fight the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for "as long as it takes." (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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With the BP oil spill being called his "Katrina," the pressure on President Obama to strike the right tone in his highly-anticipated speech Tuesday was intense.

Obama, who recently tried to tack away from his coolly intellectual approach by telling Matt Lauer recently that he was looking for "an ass to kick," was back on more familiar ground, pledging reforms, new oversight and pressing his big picture solution of a new energy policy. It shouldn't surprise that the president was roundly blasted by his usual detractors on the right, but this time, the criticism from liberal quarters was nearly as universal. 

  • Writing for the New York Post, liberal columnist Kirsten Powers complained that the speech focused too much on grand plans for the future, and not the crisis at hand. "We don't need any more plans or commissions," Powers wrote. "We need a permanent moratorium on deepwater offshore drilling and some sort of functional cleanup system for the damage that's been done."
     
  • "It was a great speech if you were on another planet for the last 57 days," said MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, as he hosted a post-speech panel with a similarly disapproving Howard Fineman and Chris Matthews.
     
  • "Were you looking for something that resembled a fully-realized action plan, describing a detailed approach to containment and clean up?" wondered Huffington Post blogger Jason Linkins. "Or perhaps a definitive statement, severing the command and control that BP has largely enjoyed, in favor of a structured, centralized federal response? Maybe you were looking for a roadmap-slash-timetable for putting America on a path to a clean energy future? Well, this speech was none of those things."
     
  • Some sympathy came from the San Francisco Chronicle, where blogger Zennie62 said Obama faced an impossible situation, and did reasonably well. "He explained in detail what happened and what needed to be done to solve the problem. Obama also explained what he wanted to see from British Petroleum," Zennie62 blogged. "No, it wasn't a great speech, but how can any political speech about a disaster, a man-made disaster as was the BP Oil Spill, be a great speech. It's impossible."

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