Obamateurism of the Day

It’s one thing for a President to fall short on a public-policy promise when facing a hostile Congress. But when it only takes a little re-prioritization of executive branch funding, there aren’t too many places to hide from sunlight … especially when sunlight is the issue:

Last October, the Obama administration announced plans to install solar panels on the roof of the White House by the spring of this year, returning the power of the sun to the pinnacle of prominence a quarter-century after Jimmy Carter’s pioneering system was taken down.

Spring has come and gone, and the promised panels have yet to see the light of day.

Maybe there’s no such thing as a shovel-ready roof?  As enviro activist Bill McKibben notes, this kind of project doesn’t require a whole lot of effort or advance planning:

Nancy Sutley, chairwoman of the Council on Environmental Quality, added that by installing the system on the most famous roof in America, President Barack Obama was “underscoring (his) commitment to lead and the promise and importance of renewable energy in the United States.”

McKibben, who along with other environmentalists had met with White House officials to urge such an installation, was surprised and gratified by the announcement a mere two weeks later. But the missed deadline has left him downcast.

“Nine months is a pretty long time. You can have a baby in that time,” he said. “On the list of things that get done, this isn’t all that hard. It doesn’t require SEAL Team 6. It just requires a good-faith effort. You can just open the Yellow Pages and get page after page of solar installers.”

Perhaps Obama is being trapped by red tape, just like the rest of his shovel-ready projects … or maybe it was, like so many other promises, simply a sop to pacify the Left.  This comes down to one of the most basic of political truths: don’t promise what you can’t — or won’t — deliver.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!