March 23, 2011
President Sorta, Kinda, Maybe
By Jim Yardley
Listening to our President, a man who wants to avoid ambivalence, wants to be perfectly clear, and who does not want to be misconstrued, we now know that, in the issue of Libya, we are sorta, kinda, maybe going to get rid of Gaddafi. Or not.
We are not going to do more than offer a new "coalition of the willing" anything other than logistical support. That shows how much more intelligent the President is than the ordinary man-in-the-street. There is little doubt that the ubiquitous man-in-the-street was unaware that over 100 cruise missiles aimed at military targets should be considered logistical support.
We can doubtless expect this same level of crystal clarity, and an obvious adherence to strongly held principles to assure us that he is on the side of the unions in Wisconsin ... without the President himself actually having to say a word.
The President's lucidity has always been on display. The words, "If you like your Doctor, you can keep him", is a classic example of the doublespeak that the nation suffers under this new President's leadership...and teleprompters.
The President and his verbal artlessness have apparently been an inspiration for his various Cabinet appointees. Kathleen Sebelius comes to mind immediately, since she fought so hard to guarantee the seamless institution of the President's health care initiative. Seamless is, of course, a qualitative word that means pretty much whatever the speaker wishes it to mean. With the more than 1,000 waivers granted to allow favored groups and political supporters of the President to avoid compliance with the requirements of ObamaCare, there can be little doubt that Secretary Sebelius would describe a patchwork quilt as seamless.
Secretary Sebelius is also carrying the water to convince the American people that the elimination of private medical policies that are solely for children under 19 in favor of a nation-wide takeover of healthcare is good for children. How can anyone say in honestly that there is anything confusing about that?
Not just Cabinet members, but others selected by the President have always had enough respect for the intelligence of the American people to avoid statements that lack sharp clarity. For example, recall the words of Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein, who were later appointed to the Council of Economic Advisors by President Obama, when they said "with the stimulus spending, the U.S. unemployment rate this year would not exceed 8%." That was certainly unambiguous phrasing. It was completely wrong, but they could never be accused of ambiguity.
Of course Secretary Ken Salazar has always worked hard to assure everyone, especially the members of the United States Congress, that his department is doing everything in its power to move America toward energy independence. Witness his testimony two weeks ago before the House Natural Resources Committee when he stated that oil production in the Gulf of Mexico "remained at an all-time high, and we expect that it will continue as we bring new production online." He also stated that: "In 2009 there were 116 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, in 2010 in February, 120, in February 2011, 126."
Baker Hughes Reservoir Development Services, an independent oil analysis organization, and not part of the Department of the Interior, has indicated that Mr. Salazar's statements were sorta, kinda, maybe true...but only if you count the number of rigs that were located in the Gulf, not the number actually drilling and pumping oil. According to Baker Hughes:
Four days before the Deepwater Horizon accident there were 55 rotary rigs actually drilling offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.
On May 28, 2010, when the administration announced the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling, there were 46 rotary rigs operating in the Gulf.
Last week [March 3, 2011], 25 rotary rigs were operating in the Gulf of Mexico.
Any rational American can only conclude one thing from these few examples of the clarity, precision, directness, simplicity and unambiguity of the current administration. We can rely on, and trust, the leadership in the White House...sorta, kinda, maybe.