(Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
President Barack Obama got Republicans dead to rights Thursday afternoon when he said they are “licking their chops” over rising gasoline prices. Rather than sympathy for consumers scraping by paycheck-to-paycheck, Republicans are gleeful at the pinched pocketbooks because they present a double-pronged political opportunity to blast the Democrats, Obama especially, and to pummel the public with yet another round of their standard “drill, drill, drill” approach to U.S. energy needs.
We heard the same thing in 2007, when I was running for President. We hear the same thing every year. We’ve heard the same thing for thirty years.
Well the American people aren’t stupid. You know that’s not a plan—especially since we’re already drilling. It’s a bumper sticker. It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge. It’s a strategy to get politicians through an election.
In the speech at the University of Miami, Obama credited his administration with a real strategy, one that focuses on increasing production of oil and natural gas, which has grown significantly in the past three years, but also a commitment to a diversified approach that includes a heavy commitment to the development and expansion of clean energy. He pointed to the requirement to greatly increase the fuel efficiency of automobiles and heavy trucks. He could also have spoken of other important steps in the right direction, too. Indeed, the administration has done more to promote the alternative energy than any president since Jimmy Carter more than three decades ago.
And there’s more of it in the proposed 2013 budget. The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would see an increase of $ 700 million to a total of $ 2.3 billion, if that budget had a chance of passing. It can be argued that the president’s push for clean energy is the closest thing to an industrial plan the nation has had since World War II.
What was missing from the president’s speech, however, was any mention of climate change.
(Continue reading below the fold)