7:08: What to do during the "siege." A decision has been made to speak in military terms. Of course, he's not the first President to ask us to think about a nonmilitary problem in military terms. The War on X... the moral equivalent of war....
7:12: To make sure this won't happen again, Obama is establishing a commission.
7:15: We need to "jump start" the "clean energy" future. There's "the potential" to create "millions of jobs" but "only" if we "act together." We need to do something big at the national level to make this happen. Some people say we can't afford this, but he's saying we can't afford not to do it. He's vague about what this will be. The only thing he won't accept is doing nothing. He won't accept the "paltry limits of conventional wisdom." So even though we don't "precisely know" what we need to do, we will do it. Like we did in WWII and in going to the moon. We'll do something. And it will have to be big, but we don't know what it is. Then he drops from that scarily high level of abstraction and the unknown to... shrimpers. Something about shrimp people. We must think BIG and... shrimpy.
7:20: And suddenly, it's getting religious. I think he's bringing this speech in for a landing, because... it's a bit prayer-like. There's a "hand" that will "guide us." And — yes — it is the end: "May God bless America."
7:26: Well, that was a terrible speech! When it wasn't grim and dreary, it was grandiose. But the grandiosity was so vague... and half-hearted. Oh! The malaise!
AND: Here's the text of the speech. This is the part that interested me most:
As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs -– but only if we accelerate that transition. Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation –- workers and entrepreneurs; scientists and citizens; the public and private sectors.This is the anti-capitalist move. There is all this opportunity, but free enterprise and capitalism can't take advantage of it. We need a top-down, government-imposed scheme, he announces. He doesn't explain why. It's an article of faith.
Now, there are costs associated with this transition [towards energy independence]. And there are some who believe that we can’t afford those costs right now. I say we can’t afford not to change how we produce and use energy....This is such embarrassing cliché rhetoric: Some say we can't do it. I say we can't not do it.
He cites a bunch of modest ideas that have been suggested and says we should think about them, then says that we have to do something, even though you could take all those things together, impose them, and still not break what he calls our "addiction" to fossil fuel. He blathers about WWII and the moon landing -- as noted above -- and talks about "what has defined us as a nation": "the capacity to shape our destiny.... Even if we’re unsure exactly what that looks like. Even if we don’t yet know precisely how we’re going to get there. We know we’ll get there." That is so hopelessly grandiose and vague, and to keep us from looking at it too long and despairing, he's all: Look! Shrimp!
Each year, at the beginning of shrimping season, the region’s fishermen take part in a tradition that was brought to America long ago by fishing immigrants from Europe. It’s called “The Blessing of the Fleet,” and today it’s a celebration where clergy from different religions gather to say a prayer for the safety and success of the men and women who will soon head out to sea....It's the shrimp and religion combo platter. Yummy!