Economics, Energy and the Environment

Obama’s energy straw-man parade

Once again, President Obama has turned to his favorite rhetorical trick, the parade of straw men:

“Lately, we’ve heard a lot of professional politicians — a lot of the folks who, you know, are running for a certain office, who shall go unnamed — they’ve been talking down new sources of energy. They dismiss wind power. They dismiss solar power. They make jokes about biofuels,” Obama said. “They were against raising fuel standards because apparently they like gas guzzling cars better. We’re trying to move towards the future, and they want to be stuck in the past.” Those same people, Obama said, would’ve thought the Earth was flat, that television wouldn’t last, that the automobile was only a passing fad. “If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society,” he said. “They would not have believed that the world was round.”

Who would this be, exactly? As it happens, I don’t agree with the whole “all of the above” thing, but most of Mr. Obama’s opponents do in one form or another:

Newt Gingrich: “My administration will pursue an ‘all of the above’ American Energy Policy that allows expanded development of oil, natural gas, coal, biofuels, wind, and nuclear sources of energy.”

Mitt Romney: “Government has a role to play in innovation in the energy industry. History shows that the United States has moved forward in astonishing ways thanks to national investment in basic research and advanced technology. However, we should not be in the business of steering investment toward particular politically favored approaches. That is a recipe for both time and money wasted on projects that do not bring us dividends. The failure of windmills and solar plants to become economically viable or make a significant contribution to our energy supply is a prime example.”

“Concentrate alternative energy funding on basic research, utilize long-term, apolitical funding mechanisms like ARPA-E for basic research.”

Rick Santorum: “Expand domestic innovations and energy resources. This includes oil, natural gas, hydro, biomass, wind, solar, clean coal, and nuclear energy.”

Ron Paul: “Make tax credits available for the purchase and production of alternative fuel technologies.”

As for who likes gas-guzzling cars, well, the president really isn’t one to talk: His primary ride gets 8 MPG. But of course, comparing the presidential limo to a regular car would be, well, an unfair comparison, unlike, say, comparing people who disapprove of costly wind turbines and solar power parks to members of the Flat Earth Society.

2 thoughts on “Obama’s energy straw-man parade

  1. This post is not a very fair post. He’s responding to statements made in the past few days like:

    “You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.” -Romney

    “I think this summer as gas prices keep going up, one of our campaign techniques should be to go to gas stations with jar of algae and say to people would you rather have the Gingrich solution of drilling and having more oil or would you like to try to put this in your gas tank.” – Gingrich

    These two statements are certainly straw-men, yet they didn’t make it into your article.

  2. Normally I like Kenneth Green’s realist point of view regarding energy, but in this post he’s clearly showing his Republican teeth. Obama’s administration has supported alternative energy start ups, which was bashed, and now Mr. Green lifted his leg on President Obama’s statement that referred to recent statements from the Republican candidates. Seems like Obama can’t say anything right.
    With all the information and knowledge he has, why isn’t Mr. Green out there offering his advice to these candidates as fuel for the presidential campaign fire. I’m sure he hasn’t missed that the Republican’s, aside from Ron Paul, don’t really give a crap about alternative energy. Why not offer up some of this infinite wisdom instead to the one candidate who is in a position to use it, and actually support the research and development and implementation of alternative fuels; President Obama. Support the cause and get past the party politics.

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