Surely I'm not the only observer out here who thinks $20 billion is a drop in the bucket compared to what this catastrophe is actually going to cost. It seems $100-$250 billion would have been a more palatable figure. This is not enough money for really correcting the problem. At the very least, we have a public figure of what BP has been forced by the president to cough up on the front end.
The president's Oval Office speech (published HERE) laid out a strategy for moving forward. I would have preferred if the president had spent more time raking BP and all the other oil companies over the coals a little more, and called in the full power of the U.S. Navy and called on the British Navy's full force (as this is British Petroleum we're talking about) to get this thing cleaned up ASAP.
I also would have preferred a more stringent set of environmental policies, a set of even more specific green energy implementation steps, and as I mentioned above...more money from BP up front. I would have preferred the political talk would have been limited, and the angry Commander-in-Chief showed us "whose ass to kick" to a greater degree.
However, we also need to realize that this guy is the president, and he is a balanced, serious, and stalwart individual; who doesn't make any decision lightly. Progressives who are not satisfied with the job he's done so far likely wouldn't be happy anyway. Some of us get really tired of the "circular firing squad" that appears whenever the lefties don't get absolutely everything they want right away. That effect undermined Carter early in his presidency, and he never recovered. Clinton fought back against it, but then again he was never a progressive per se, so it wasn't something he ran on.
It is important, in this critical juncture, that the American people of all stripes squelch the noise and criticism, and support the president in his effort to just git 'r done this one time. We need to line up and stand with him in order to protect our coast, and to show him that we do remember why we sent him there. We also need to focus on results, not on politics, right now.
The haters and the right wing will continue to bash him regardless. Fox News, for instance, is already sending advertising emails touting the "fallout" from the president's BP meeting today. Well, no one ever really thought they were going to drop the lies and anti-Obama rhetoric anyway, because they are an extension of the right wing of the Republican Party anyway, right?
Everyone else with a little common sense should know that this time is Obama's Katrina. He has responded, has done what he can in the midst of the crisis, and has been straight in characterizing the depth and grave concerns he has. He has been clear, and he is holding the perpetrators accountable, both in word and deed.
It is about time we give him the benefit of the doubt, and line up to help him fix this problem now. Only a strengthened president who has the people with him can do big things like put the choke hold on Big Oil. He needs us to have his back on this, and deserves to receive that power; even if it is so he can prove he means what he says.