Thursday, April 19, 2012

Comedian in Chief

WSJ editorial on Obama's Seinfeld Strategy:

On Tuesday President Barack Obama gave a speech about...nothing. At 11:27 a.m. in the Rose Garden, Mr. Obama did announce a crackdown on speculators in the oil markets. And he did call for more investigations, more regulation and more money for regulators. But we couldn't help wondering if perhaps a few pages had been left out of the TelePrompter.

Nowhere in his remarks did the President claim that speculation is doing any harm. He did not cite any negative impact on the oil market. He did not say that speculators are manipulating oil prices, nor did he describe in even the vaguest terms the individuals or institutions that might be involved. He didn't cite any research. Mr. Obama didn't even, well, speculate about whether oil prices would be higher or lower if not for unnamed actors who may or may not be affecting the markets.

But the President did make clear that if speculators were manipulating markets, that would be bad. "We can't afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage, and driving prices higher—only to flip the oil for a quick profit," he said. "And for anyone who thinks this cannot happen, just think back to how Enron traders manipulated the price of electricity to reap huge profits at everybody else's expense."

The Enron scandal happened more than a decade and two major financial-regulation laws ago. "So today, we're announcing new steps to strengthen oversight of energy markets," said Mr. Obama. "Things that we can do administratively, we are doing. And I call on Congress to pass a package of measures to crack down on illegal activity and hold accountable those who manipulate the market for private gain at the expense of millions of working families. And be specific."

That last line, delivered after a speech that contained not a sliver of evidence that even hinted at illegal activity, shows that at least Mr. Obama has a sense of humor.

Empty rhetoric about solving non-existent problems that result in nothing that actually addresses the real issues facing the nation? Sounds like a perfect summation of the Obama Presidency so far. Unfortunately, we're long past the point of being able to view this as a laughing matter.