The unfolding disaster in Japan is going to have a profound effect on Mr. Obama. It is going to cause him political problems.
The apparent meltdown of 3 nuclear reactors in Japan is a catastrophe, in many ways. The future of nuclear energy in Japan, where anything 'nuclear' is a touchy subject, will certainly be called into question.
The fallout (pardon the pun) will cause our country's eco-Nazis to freak out, and demand an end to all efforts at nuclear power. They have been successful at this for many years now. There have been no new nuclear power plants built in the US since 1966. These folks will scream for a permanent ban.
The problem for Obama is that he is very much pro-nuclear energy. It is a cornerstone of his clean energy policies, and absolutely critical to meeting his goal of having 80% of our energy produced 'cleanly' by 2035. Without an additional 120+ nuclear power plants coming on line, that goal is simply not obtainable.
So, Obama is stuck in a bad positon (for him). He pisses off the far left (his bread and butter base of support) even more if he stands behind nuclear energy for our future. If he ducks and runs from nukes, he's a flip-flopper, and he pisses off the far left by embracing evil oil and coal (which will be absolutely necessary to continue to power this country). The only way he pleases his base is to return us to the days of pre-combustion engine civilization. Don't know about you, but the propsect of that really has me feeling good about the future.
It will be interesting to see him walk a tightrope, trying very hard not to be pinned down to a specific positon prior to his reelection bid in 2012.