Presidents rarely control how such situations begin, and they can't always dictate how they will end. What they can do, in addition to their best efforts to resolve the immediate problem, is to use the opportunity to set the country on a better long-term course ahead: a better Middle East policy, a better Cold War strategy, a better approach to terrorism.
Obama aims to turn the oil leak into a serious commitment to wean our country from its disastrous dependence on fossil fuels — a goal that has eluded presidents since Carter. If his often-exasperating leadership style can accomplish it, we will gladly take that over a satisfying speech.
: The Editorial Page
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