By Michael Goodwin, ,
Published May 07, 2015
Once again, President Obama channels Oscar Wilde, who famously said the only thing he couldn't resist was temptation.
So it is with Obama's attempt to turn the Gulf oil debacle into a reason why America should embrace his cap-and-tax energy policy.
No matter the crisis, Obama can't resist the temptation to exploit it in his quest to grow the government.
He did it during the financial meltdown, arguing the economic crisis proved America suddenly needed an idea he'd pushed all along, universal health care.
It didn't, and still doesn't.
Yet Obama showed last night he is ready for The Sequel.
Rolling out the military metaphors--"battle plan" and "siege" and "fight"-- he again embraced the philosophy of his resident thinker, Rahm Emanuel, that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.
It was an unpersuasive performance. It lacked the essential energy and mastery of detail that would show the president focused like a laser on the crisis.
Instead, it caught him looking starry-eyed into the wild blue yonder.
Earth to president: Come on down. He's been hammered relentlessly for not being engaged, but he's still not into the details of the prevention and cleanup.
He's got a czar, a commission and a dream, therefore he is. And, oh, he's got BP to kick around and milk like a fat cow.
His idea to tax all forms of carbon already failed once as the public gagged on his splurge in deficit spending.
Even Democratic senators and governors fear the impact it would have on energy prices and manufacturing jobs in coal and oil states.
But the idea is in play, repackaged as Obama's answer to the Gulf spill. It would be one thing if he came up with these industry takeovers as answers to the emergencies.
It's quite another when he uses the emergencies as a transparent excuse to sell a plan he had before the crisis hit.
With people along the Gulf worried about their jobs and way of life, and as oil continues to wash up on shore, he wants to expand the subject instead of taking charge of the immediate problems.
The fact that Obama is meeting with BP officials for the first time today shows how far behind the curve he is on the unprecedented disaster.
BP deserves the blame for the accident, but Obama's reluctance to do little more than use the company as a populist punching bag cost valuable time and let a bad situation grow immeasurably worse.
Unfortunately, it's typical of the president's M.O.
Lacking management experience, and self-absorbed with transformational ambition, he treats details affecting millions of Americans as a distraction.
The habit first surfaced during the 2008 campaign, when he resisted any suggestion he scale back his domestic goals as the financial meltdown gobbled up the nation's wealth.
When he took office, he simply added the $862 billion stimulus and other bailout programs to the budget, then spent a year pushing the health-care monstrosity.
Meanwhile, he seems to have given up trying to fix the job-growth engine, and the carbon tax would be another ball and chain on employers.
Americans could get behind a plan to reduce reliance on imported oil, a security issue as well as an economic one. And we must develop alternative fuels. But to try to reduce all carbon fuels is utopian to the extreme.
The last thing the nation needs is an energy plan that leads to higher costs, job losses and more federal debt.
Sometimes, even a president must say no to temptation.
Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor. To continue reading his column, click here.
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