Obama in the Oval Office
Obama in the Oval Office –This Emperor Has No Clothes!
An Oval Office speech is a rare and powerful event. With both the American flag and the president’s flag at his back, and the White House Rose Garden glimpsed through the windows, the president sits behind the Resolute desk, made from the timbers of HMS Resolute, an abandoned British ship discovered by an American vessel and used by nearly every president since 1880. It has the Great Seal carved on its front.
The whole nation is watching an Oval Office speech; all the domestic news channels broadcast it, it’s aired live to U.S. military personnel around the world. When the president speaks from the Oval Office he has the entire authority and power and might of the United States behind him. It epitomizes his role as leader of the United States and of the free world.
President Kennedy used the Oval Office speech to accept personal responsibility for a disaster; President Reagan used it to announce a bold new vision and set out a plan to achieve it; President Bush used it to lay out our response to the September 11 attacks.
What did President Obama do? He blamed everyone he could think of for the Gulf oil fiasco– BP, President Bush, the bureaucracy, Mother Nature, and the American people (for consuming too much oil) — but of course NEVER took responsibility, himself, for his own administration’s slow and bungled response.
What answers did he offer?– The typical Obama solutions: we’ll throw money at the problem, lots of it, but we’re not quite sure yet what we’re throwing it at or how it will turn out; we’ll confiscate a private company to punish it; and with stirring and eloquent words tells the American people “trust me,” everything will be okay.
I’ve written Oval Office speeches, and been there when they were delivered. I was in the White House the night Nixon resigned, and the night Ford pardoned Nixon. I was there when President Reagan gave the “Star Wars” speech. What do all Oval Offices speeches have in common? Leadership. At their best, they are given by a strong and decisive president presenting a bold and visionary and specific plan, exhibiting competence and inspiring confidence.
The mainstream media will no doubt fawn all over president Obama’s first Oval Office address, and applaud his vague call for energy independence and his fuzzy plan for how we get there. Just like they did with Jimmy Carter.
But when I watched last night’s Oval Office speech, I wanted to scream “This Emperor Has No Clothes!!!!”