Taking Personal Responsibility
In anticipation of President Obama's Oval Office speech about the BP oil spill, Mike Allen of Politico, who was dubbed by the New York Times as "The Man the White House Wakes Up To," wrote: "White House advisers acknowledge that if it doesn't happen tonight, it probably never will."
Ever since the April 20th explosion in the Gulf, Obama has been the target of increasing condemnation from both critics and supporters, from both the left and the right. Most of the critics, who have called the devastating event "Obama's Katrina," have faulted the president for not taking sufficient action soon enough or decisively enough. So Mr. Allen was looking for him to take charge and to take action.
One of the best indicators of action is to track the use of the word "I" to indicate personal responsibility. A reading of the transcript provides the following:
- I assembled a team of our nation's best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge
- I'd like to lay out for you what our battle plan is...
- I have authorized the deployment of over 17,000 National Guard members
- I refuse to let that happen
- I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required
- I make that commitment tonight.
- I have established a National Commission
- I have issued a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling.
- But the one approach I will not accept is inaction.
- The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is too big and too difficult to meet.