In the coming days and weeks, these efforts should capture up to 90% of the oil leaking out of the well. This is until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that is expected to stop the leak completely. – Pres. Barack Obama

What was he talking about?

It reminded me of something Dan Froomkin reported earlier:

Heightening that concern is Obama’s new conviction, first expressed Monday afternoon after touring a staging facility in Alabama, that “in the end, I am confident that we’re going to be able to leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before.”

That is a “ridiculous statement, and worrying,” said Susan Shaw, the director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute. “Obviously he has no idea of the consequences, or doesn’t want to.”

There is also no evidence that the relief well is “expected to stop the leak completely.” But Pres. Obama has more problems than that after his first Oval Office Address.

There was no vision at all.

There was no larger arc for energy.

And if you believe this is an environmental 9/11 for this country, which I do, like George W. Bush after our nation’s great tragedy in 2001, there was no larger call to action.

I would also have preferred tough talk in place of a prayer, like what Al Gore said today: “Stop censoring news from the Gulf”: This behavior is completely unacceptable. Access by reporters should be as unfettered as possible. This de facto form of censorship needs to stop.

Pres. Obama was heartfelt and finally had the background of what has happened since the BP blowout after his latest visit there. That’s the good news. But he had no purpose and didn’t come close to rallying the nation to a common cause. There was no lift or inspirational message on how we take the BP ecological tragedy and turn it into a wider calling for this country.

The worst part of it was Pres. Obama telling the American people that a relief well is “expected to stop the leak completely.” This is actually an unknown and a huge risk and doesn’t share the very real dangers the relief well also poses, which are great, especially considering BP hasn’t been able to deliver on anything they’ve promised so far.

“Command and control” are not two words I’d take away from Pres. Obama’s speech tonight and that’s exactly what was needed to be conveyed.

This essay has been updated.