President Obama and BP executives emerged from a much-anticipated White House meeting today with a tentative deal to create a $20 billion escrow fund to pay for damage claims related to the weeks-old gulf oil spill.
“This is not theater,” declared President Obama on the Today show last week. He was defending his response to the BP oil spill, which he insisted was designed to get actual results, not to put on a show. But there he was on TV again last night to deliver an Oval Office address, which is—if any commander in chief’s action is—a piece of theater. Here is where our presidents seem most presidential, talking directly and sincerely to the American people: where Carter described the national malaise and Bush tried to calm a nation rattled by the 9/11 attacks. That’s the idea, anyway.
On June 10, NEWSWEEJ published an interview with Tom Bower about his new book, "Oil: Money, Politics, and Power in the 21st Century." Much of the interview focused on BP and its former CEO, John Browne. He wrote the following letter to NEWSWEEK's editor, Jon Meacham, to dispute some of the author's assertions.
As part of an ongoing look at the players in the Gulf Coast oil spill, their biases, successes, and failures, we examine the officials mentioned by President Obama in his Oval Office speech. Who is Michael Bromwich, and what has Steven Chu been doing all this time?
In his address from the Oval Office on Tuesday night, President Obama eloquently laid out the case that we have failed to confront our dependence on fossil fuels, and that now is the time for us to do so. But he failed to use this opportunity to marshal public support for a logical, tangible goal that would reduce our destructive consumption of oil and coal.
Sharron Angle, the Republican nominee for Harry Reid's Nevada Senate seat, has called for armed revolt against the government. Glenn Beck's new novel, "The Overton Window," encourages concerned citizens to pick up a gun, too. And they're not the only public figures calling for violent insurrection.
Somewhere between Pensacola and the Oval Office, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico went from an “assault” to an “epidemic”—and President Obama went from commander in chief to surgeon general. And that, in short, is why his speech to the nation fell so flat even as he delivered it.
The core message of President Obama’s Oval Office speech was about more than BP or the activity off the Gulf Coast. Looking straight into the camera, Obama diagnosed the nation’s energy problem and our ongoing dependence on fossil fuels.
Capitol Hill is still oozing optimism that an energy bill is possible, even inevitable, within the next few months. Why? The gulf spill certainly helps sway opinion toward alternative fuels. As does the deepening oil dependence on unfriendly countries. But politically speaking, energy is the rare political issue with room for both parties to claim victory.
Obama and BP are locked in a deadly, messy transatlantic dance. The U.S., deeply in debt and facing a voter rebellion over that fact, needs as many billions as it can siphon from London-based BP to pay for the cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico.
Most of us would call the BP spill a tragedy. Ask an economist what it is, however, and you'll hear a different word: "externality." An externality is a cost that's not paid by the people using the good that creates the cost.
I agree with virtually everyone out there who's complaining on camera and in print that our response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been just terrible. Except that by "our" I don't mean the government's or the country's but ours—the media's.
The Obama administration has mothballed the space-shuttle program and tilted military spending toward drones. In doing so, it has upended the careers of thousands of NASA and Air Force employees who are based in Florida, home of the Kennedy Space Center and a state with one of the highest concentrations of traditional fighter jets in the country.
In an apparent effort to build support among powerful senators for the nomination of James Clapper as new national intelligence director, the White House has sent a letter to Capitol Hill confirming its support for an intelligence bill that had been stalled in Congress for months.
As the father of two formidable daughters (one is 5, the other 2, but they already seem formidable to me), I loved the splendid evening female candidates had last Tuesday in primaries from South Carolina to Arkansas to California. Leaving aside the politics of the winners, the returns ratified the cultural and political shift that took place in 2008, when Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin played central roles.
Accusations have arisen that Democratic South Carolina Senate candidate Alvin Greene was a GOP plant. The party has asked him to withdraw, but so far the unemployed 32-year-old has refused. Can the Dems kick him off the ballot anyway?
The trailblazing journalist will be 90 years old on Aug. 4. She has been a fixture in Washington and an undisputed pioneer. It's her storied career that should be remembered, not just a few moments of a YouTube video.