The right is blasting Obama’s Oval Office speech for pushing too hard on costly clean energy initiatives. Wait a minute, the left is blasting Obama’s speech for not pushing nearly hard enough on clean energy initiatives.
What is going on here? To me it looks like a de facto left-right alliance to tear down this president halfway into his term.
The right’s pro-oil agenda is clear enough. As for the left, I’m beginning to think there are those who just love to proclaim their disappointment — the more extravagant and apocalyptic, the better.
“Where is the President Obama whom we believed in? Where did he go?” wrote one friend on Facebook. “I do not understand why he did not announce the commandeering of oil tankers,” wrote Yobie Benjamin, knowing full well that there was no way Obama was going to do any such thing. But this is the routine: Hold Obama to expectations yanked from unreality, then announce your shock that he failed to meet them. “Mr. President, you failed your first Oval Office speech,” Benjamin continues. “I am only one supporter, a decline-to-state, one blogger and though I lean progressive and will continue to do so, I hope someone runs in a primary against you. I’d love to look at progressive options.”
Good luck with that. How wearying, this sort of petulance.
Look, I’m not saying it was a great speech. But some of the reactions on the left seem to issue from an alternate universe. The president did not lay out a vision for a clean energy future? Didn’t he say this?
For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we’ve talked and talked about the need to end America’s century-long addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires. Time and again, the path forward has been blocked — not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor.
The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. [...] We cannot consign our children to this future. The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America’s innovation and seize control of our own destiny.
I understand some of the criticisms — it’s taking too long, he’s not channeling the public’s anger, etc. But many on the left are at a point where they just will not give Obama any credit, for anything. And when 2012 rolls around, by failing to rise to this president’s defense in the face of what is sure to be the ugliest right-wing assault yet, they might just help Sarah Palin take over Washington.