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Sunday, September 14, 2008

McCain Energy Policy: Wrong Plan, Wrong Century

John McCain and Barack Obama agree that no one thing will solve America's growing energy needs. But note that the GOP has chosen to boil its energy plan down to one phrase: "Drill baby drill!" Not "Solar baby solar!" or "Corn baby corn!" (remember, McCain is no friend of South Dakota ethanol). No, McCain rallies the troops with a cry for more oil.

Thomas Friedman says this focus on old technology shows McCain is the wrong candidate at the wrong time:

Why would Republicans, the party of business, want to focus our country on breathing life into a 19th-century technology — fossil fuels — rather than giving birth to a 21st-century technology — renewable energy? As I have argued before, it reminds me of someone who, on the eve of the I.T. revolution — on the eve of PCs and the Internet — is pounding the table for America to make more I.B.M. typewriters and carbon paper. “Typewriters, baby, typewriters” [Thomas Friedman, "Making America Stupid," New York Times, 2008.09.14]

Friedman is no out-of-touch, America-hating lefty. He acknowledges that "we're going to need oil for many years." He wants America to be a world leader. But he knows being a world leader means building economic power through innovation, not old technology.

The Republican Party should know better. Their rhetoric shows they don't.


  1. One problem with this. You can't indict the whole Republican Partu on this issue...our own John Thune was an original member of the Gang of 10, for which he took quite a bit of heat.

  2. O.K., how about just the Republicans who rabidly chanted "Drill baby drill!" at the convention?

    I will look forward to Senator Thune's endorsement of Obama's forward-looking energy plan.

  3. That would be interesting, especially since Senator Johnson did the "me too" thing and endorsed the Gang of 10 proposal. If Johnson hasn't endorsed Obama's plan, should Thune?

  4. "But note that the GOP has chosen to boil its energy plan down to one phrase: 'Drill baby drill!'"


    I thought it was "All of the above" (develop alternative technologies, but drill too).

  5. True, "all of the above" makes the speeches. But sometimes words speak louder than words. The slogan the GOP is chanting is not "All of the above!" or "Drill, plant, panel, dam, and nuke!" They make oil their central meme. I suggest (and Friedman appears to agree) that word choice, not just in an occasional speech but in headline rallying cry for the party, says something negative about their philsophical/political focus.

  6. You can spin this anyway you want. BUT, right now our economy is driven by oil. There is nothing we can do to immediately change that, transition yes, but change immediately, no. Because of the high price of oil, our economy is hurting, i.e. individual consumers of oil directly thru cars and heating etc and indirectly thru higher prices on everything else. The solution to the immediate problem starts first with getting more of the product oil to the consumer, and unless we can say abracadabra and get the oil to our cars etc, we need the oil companies to drill more and get more to us.

    And we also at the same time need to be advocating for better and different technologies. But we need both, and in that order.

    First lets start to do what we can to get more of the product oil available. We know where a lot of it is, and there is nothing wrong with using that God given resource.

    At the same time let's invest in nuclear (which BTW Obama doesn't want) and all other forms of innovative technology.

    There is nothing wrong with the slogan "drill, baby, drill," when also advocating everything else, which IS what the Republicans are doing.

    This election is built on sound bites. Why else would Obama's "change and hope" be resonating so well when he doesn't exactly explain what and how it means in concrete terms. And that sound bite is rabidly chanted at every Obama rally BTW.

  7. Yeah, but we NEED oil because we haven't been drilling! So, it's "Drill, Baby, Drill".

    That's kinda easy to understand.

    And when hydrogen, or, heck, ethanol starts working; we'll be sitting pretty!


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