After I watched President Obama's Oval Office address Tuesday night, I must admit I kept thinking, "When is this thing going to be over? I have more exciting things to do...like watch paint dry." Good thing I'm not a Gulf Coast resident. I'm just a blogger in pajamas.
Beyond being stale and offering little in the way of solutions and specifics what really caught my eye was this line:
"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.”
Now is the moment? Where have I heard that line before? Let me count the ways. He's been using this type of expression since his first days in office. Whether he says, “now is the moment” or “now is the time” it’s the same thing. Have a look below:
On healthcare: “Now is the time. Now is the moment. Now is the time for us to leave for the next generation and generations to come a stronger and more prosperous country. We are not backing down. We are not quitting.”
On the economy: “Now is the time to build a firmer, stronger foundation for growth that will not only withstand future economic storms, but that will help us thrive and compete in a global economy.”
On nuclear weapons ”Now is the time for a strong international response, and North Korea must know that the path to security and respect will never come through threats and illegal weapons.”
On the Middle East: “Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people.”
On beltway politics: “Now is the time to remind ourselves of what America is all about, and make sure we are working as hard as we can to return Democrats to the House of Representatives.”
Oy-vey. Everything's a crisis.
You only get so many "now is the time" or “now is the moment” lines in a presidency. I believe that is in the Constitution. I'll double check. Eventually these lines start to lose their power and the credibility that goes along with it. I understand that this administration came into office ready to do ‘big things” and that “now is the time” to do alot of it but this seems politically risky. Right now the majority in this country would prefer to hear the President say "now is the time/moment" to stop the out of control government spending and reduce the deficit but we all know that ain't happening anytime soon.
On the heels of government expansion in healthcare, stimulus money, financial regulatory reform and other areas as well is the country really ready for another big government project? Are we really ready for a big debate over cap and trade? ( the energy version of the toxic public option) Try explaining to residents in the gulf how cap and trade has anything to do with their livelihoods? There's no doubt Professor Obama could explain it to them by whipping out an 11 page power point explanation and the accompanying flow charts but is "now the moment and/or time" for that? Some would argue yes.
Look, I get it. There is a very rational case to be made for innovative ideas and solutions to our domestic energy issues. And if you can get a true bipartisan bill (75-80 votes in the Senate) then that would seem to be a good thing for our country and a political winner for the President. But you just have to wonder if this battle over energy legislation is going to turn into yet another scorched earth inside the beltway battle. Does the country really want or need that? (for that matter, do vulnerable Democratic politicians want that as well?) The truth of the matter is that folks in the Gulf region just want to see the federal government work effectively, efficiently and speedily. That is a crisis that really needs solving. It seems "now is the moment and time" to do exactly that.