For weeks, I’ve been convinced that the White House is more concerned with managing media cycles than they are with managing the Gulf oil spill. For months, I’ve been wondering if Obama can only offer the country theatrics, instead of sound leadership. Last night cemented those suspicions.
In his first national address from the Oval Office, President Obama delivered a speech best suited for the big screen. It can be summed up as his trademark style: heavy on rhetoric, light on specifics.
The president needed to do two things last night in his Oval Office address to the nation. First, he needed to convey that there is a sound strategy in place for cleaning up what has already happened. Second, address the question “how do we make it stop?”
He did neither.
In what many are calling his “battle plan,” the president laid out some wishful goals for getting us out of the Deepwater crisis but refused to tell us how exactly he’d do it.
“We will fight this spill with everything we’ve got for as long it takes,” he stressed. While this sound bite is encouraging, this is the type of information is what we needed to hear weeks ago. What the public, and Gulf residents specifically, want to hear now are details about how we’re stopping the massive flow.
Obama also used the cameras and prime time audience to push for alternative sources of energy--a huge mistake. As long as there are thousands of gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf, we must be acutely focused on capping it. Talking about green energy right now made him look distracted.
Unsurprisingly, the president spent time assigning blame to BP. While there is no question the company deserves to be lambasted, fixing blame is for later. If we stumble upon a bad car accident, with the passengers badly bruised and the hood smoking, the first job is to get the passengers out of the fire—not figure out who was driving. That’s for later.
I do admire the president for encouraging us to pray. Residents in the Gulf desperately need help from a higher power, but while prayer is a powerful thing, it’s not going to be enough to get us out of this mess. We still need direction and leadership on the ground. Unfortunately, the speech did nothing to demonstrate that those key factors are in place.
While we won’t know right away if the speech left Obama on even weaker footing than before, we do know one thing: Obama’s address left us with more questions than answers. The biggest question being whether Obama himself is up to the job.
Andrea Tantaros is a FoxNews.com contributor. Follow her on Twitter @andreatantaros.
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Andrea Tantaros currently serves as co-host of Fox News Channel's The Five (weekdays 5-6 PM/ET). She joined the network as a contributor in 2010. Follow her on Twitter @andreatantaros or on Facebook.com/andreatantaros. Click here for more information on Andrea Tantaros.