In a recent speech on the gulf crisis, President Obama promised to make the gulf better than before. Really? After hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil have spilled into it? We can really make it better?
I felt like this was a promise out of Fantasyland. Right up there with oat bran donuts somehow being healthy. As if. I’m all for cleaning up the gulf but let’s be realistic. It will take years, maybe decades, for it to even get close to what it was before. To set up unrealistic expectations of making it better is just setting us up for a fall.
It reminded me of President Bush’s post-Katrina speech from New Orleans. Even though the town was still suffering from a power blackout, there was Bush standing in front of a strategically arc lit statue of Andrew Jackson. (Hint hint, Andy Jackson was a tough president too.) He said, “we will build better than we have before.” Notice that there is never a timeline associated with these grandiose promises.
“Making things better than before” must sit atop the grab bag of presidential speech writing. These writers forget one of the mantras of a successful leader, promise less but deliver more. Unfortunately our politicians usually do the exact opposite.