A presidential speech from the Oval Office such as the one President Obama delivered this morning (his first) usually falls into one of two categories: the commander-in-chief is responding to an immediate crisis, or he’s trying to change the dynamic of an ongoing one.

Slate points out, “it’s too late to be a dramatic first-responder”.

The oil has been leaking for 55 days. Why it has taken so long for Obama to deliver an Oval Office address on this crisis is one question.

Why he chose to bookend his commitment to clean energy, plus a plan to roll out a three-stage recovery plan (partly funded by BP) with that favourite Presidential cop out, a call to prayer, is another:

What sees us through — what has always seen us through — is our strength, our resilience, and our unyielding faith that something better awaits us if we summon the courage to reach for it. Tonight, we pray for that courage. We pray for the people of the Gulf. And we pray that a hand may guide us through the storm towards a brighter day.

Keep praying, Louisiana, because right now the Gulf of Mexico needs nothing short of a miracle to counteract the disastrous side effects of an unthinking and unaccountable corporation initially reluctant to clean up a mess very much of its own making, a mess that is still spewing 35,000-60,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf waters.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey