Saturday, October 4, 2008

Guest Post: What I'd Like to Hear a Candidate Say

I'm very excited to share this guest post from "the Lifetime Learner." I think you will find it interesting, informative, and persuasive:

What I'd Like to Hear a Candidate Say: Energy Policy

Some day I would like to hear a President say something like the following in regards to energy:

“From now on, every new addition to our demand for energy will be met from our own production and our own conservation. The generation-long growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks right now… for I am tonight setting the further goal of cutting our dependence on foreign oil by one-half by the end of the next decade – a savings of over 4 ½ million barrels of imported oil per day.

"…To ensure that we meet these targets, I will use my Presidential authority to set import quotas…I will forbid the entry into this country of one drop of foreign oil more than these goals allow.

"…To give us energy security, I am asking for the most massive peacetime commitment of funds and resources in our Nation’s history to develop America’s own alternative sources of fuel – from coal, from oil shale, from plant products for gasohol, from unconventional gas, from the Sun."

The sad part is -- these aren't new ideas -- these are words taken from a speech that Jimmy Carter gave as President in 1979. Wonderful ideas at that time, but conservatives soon labeled this the “malaise” speech -- and that epithet has been a source of right-wing pride ever since. The country did not respond to Carter's challenge as one would have hoped. Instead, Americans have proven that they prefer the one liners of Reagan, Bush Senior, and Bush Junior. We prefer to think that we can have it all -- as opposed to recognizing that we have to make sacrifices when it comes to our dependence on oil.

So what will it take to get us on the right track to protect our future, and off the path of consuming until we have nothing left to consume? Can we imagine a day in which we don't import foreign oil? I’m not convinced that either candidate has the will to accomplish the dramatic changes that are required, as the short term hardships required for real change (higher gas prices, for one) would most likely result in a one term administration. I believe that ultimately we will be forced into action when the price of gasoline does finally rise to a tipping point. But if some environmental catastrophe that exceeds Katrina should occur in the next four years, or we suffer a terrorist attack against our main sources of foreign oil, then who would you want running the country?

McCain selected Palin to be second in command, so we know what his direction would be if oil was to become today’s banking crisis – to drill, drill and drill some more. On the other hand, although Obama is not to be confused with a candidate from the Green Party, I think he clearly provides the better opportunity to lead us in a direction of conservation and alternative energy sources and to give the kind of speech we once heard 30 years ago.

And by the way, to respond to Vox Populi's earlier post, Millard Fillmore does not make my bottom ten of worst U.S. Presidents. He served less than four years but helped to delay the Civil War with his passing of the Compromise of 1850.


Anonymous said...

sadly, even if we drilled every inch of this country we would have nowhere near enough oil to satisfy our consumption.

Anonymous said...

There is a good article addressing some of the stuff that people don't like to talk about like "conservation".