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Energy Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest ...

by a siegel Fri May 2nd, 2008 at 03:24:11 PM EST

My six-year old son is addicted to the Berenstein Bears. One of his first successfully read books: Ready, Get Set, Go which teaches adjectives and suggests that no one is best at everything.  How many times read between us?  10? 25? Maybe 50? As any parent can tell you, a favored book like that becomes imprinted in your brain.

"Good, Better, Best ..."  is the tag line in Ready, Get Set, Go.   Well, in the past few days, we've seen an example of this in reverse, something more from the film world. When it comes to politics and energy, we've had a display of Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest.

Clinton, McCain, Bush.  

Energy Dumb. Energy Dumber, Energy Dumbest.

Energy Dumb ..

As has been getting much play, Hillary has hopped aboard the McCain wagon for a temporary lifting of the gas tax.

Hillary Clinton yesterday criticized Barack Obama for opposing the concept of suspending the gas tax ..a plan both she and John McCain have endorsed.

My opponent, Sen. Obama, opposes giving consumers a break, I understand the American people need some relief."

The idiocy of the moratorium, how it will be counterproductive 2356136293_c7b5489843_m.jpgon virtually every single reasonable measure other than crass tactical politics, has been laid out by many others and doesn't need to be laid here other than to emphasize that this is simply ENERGY DUMB!  Even with taking the money from oil company profits in windfall profits, any reduction in gasoline prices simply will foster more use of gasoline in the economy in the face of Peak Oil and Global Warming.  And, at the end of the day, this could actually lead to increased gasoline prices due to even more strain on supply.  (And, by the way, what happens come September, two months before the election?)

What we require on energy is leadership and paths toward a better tomorrow. I've praised Presidential candidate Clinton's energy plan, which has many strong points that should become part of the next Administration's energy policy.  This pandering to near-term concerns over gas prices and the attacks on Presidential candidate Obama do that plan a serious disservice.  And, Hillary Clinton's campaigning against Democrats on gas prices could well weaken the Democratic Party majorities come this fall such that that plan could become unenactable.  

What is particularly sad is that Hillary Clinton, circa 2000, understood exactly how dumb this type of idea really is.  As Senate Candidate Clinton said:

Clinton, meanwhile, lashed out at [the] plan to repeal 4.3 cents of the gas tax, calling it "a bad deal for New York and a potential bonanza for the oil companies ...

"[O]ne of my fundamental disagreements during this campaign with my opponent was when he called for the repeal of the gas tax. Now, the gas tax is one of those few taxes that New York actually gets more money from Washington than we send. And we are totally reliant on it to do things like finishing I-86 in the Southern Tier, or the fast- ferry harbor works up in Rochester, as well as the work we need to do here in the city. So you can count on me to support infrastructure."

Yes, I am aware that Hillary Clinton has proposed taxing oil companies to make up for the missing tax revenue.  Hmmm ... and any thoughts as to whether the companies would simply pass that additional cost along to their customers?  Or, that Congress is unlikely to pass such a tax and George wouldn't sign it?

Maybe, on this issue, Energy Dumb Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton should be listening to Energy Smart Senate Candidate Hillary Clinton.

Energy Dumber ...

John McCain's has been known to 2316011585_45c6cd31c4_m.jpgtalk some serious talk when it comes to energy and Global Warming issues.  As to why there hasn't been progress on global warming,

Special interests. It's the special interests. It's the utility companies and the petroleum companies and other special interests. They're the ones that have blocked progress in the congress of the United States and the administration. That's a little straight talk.

When it comes to action, however, Senator McFlip's Straight Talk Express turns to Senator McFlop's Dirty Energy Twisted Action Delay Machine.  When given the opportunity to fund renewable energy, multiple times, via funds from the five largest oil companies, Senator McCain was absent. Oh, by the way, the votes: 59 to 40 to 1 (McCain).  Being there and voting for the measures would have placed $billions into renewable energy.  So much for McFlip's assertion that "We need to do green technologies."

So, what about Energy Dumber?

John McCain is the originator of this discussion of a potential gas tax moratorium, to this pandering to near-term concerns over longer term requirements.  Unlike Ms Energy Dumb, Mr Energy Dumber wouldn't worry about the costs: no path to make up for the lost revenue to the highway fund.  

Another chip in America's crumbling infrastructure?

Energy Dumbest ...

The Bush-Cheney energy policies have been a disaster for the nation, for the globe, for the future.  Fact.  

Mr Energy Dumbest held a press conference Tuesday that competed with his recent Global Warming speech for reckless truthiness.  As AP reported,

President Bush put politics ahead of the facts Tuesday as he sought to blame Congress for high energy prices

"Politics ahead of the facts".  From George W. Bush?  Well, I never ...

Americans are concerned about energy prices, and I can understand why. I think the last time I visited with you it was like -- I said it was like a tax increase on the working people. The past 18 months, gas prices have gone up by $1.40 per gallon. Electricity prices for small business and families are rising, as well.

Oh, yes, how much during your Presidency?  Over $2.50 in increased gasoline prices.  Who is responsible for this?

I've repeatedly submitted proposals to help address these problems. Yet time after time, Congress chose to block them.

Those nasty Congress-Critters. Keeping George from helping the poor working Joe (and Josephine ...).

Congress has blocked drilling in ANWR.  Congress has blocked new refineries. Congress has blocked "clean, safe nuclear power."  

What is George's solution to our problems?  Pumping ANWR.

 if Congress is truly interested in solving the problem, they can send the right signal by saying we're going to explore for oil and gas in the U.S. territories, starting with ANWR.

Unrestricted construction of refineries.

I proposed, you might remember, taking some 350999258_7b8d7cb581_m.jpgabandoned military bases and providing regulatory relief so we can build new refineries. I mean, if we're generally interested in moving forward with an energy policy that sends a signal to the world that we're not -- we're going to try to become less reliant upon foreign oil, we can explore at home,

Biofuels to worsen the competition between food and fuel. (Should we put pictures of starving children at ethanol pumps?)

as well as continue on with an alternative fuels program.

Nuclear power plants ...

As electricity prices rise, Congress continues to block provisions needed to increase domestic electricity production by expanding the use of clean, safe nuclear power.

Note to honesty: Congress already has enacted many measures to enable more nuclear power plants, George. And, these new plants won't be on line for many years and are unlikely to contribute to lower electricity costs (even if they reduce carbon emissions).

As policy to deal with our real requirements, topping Energy Dumb and Energy Dumber, showing himself (yet again) to be Energy Dumbest.

Nothing here about Negagallons (demand destruction). No mention of Peak Oil.  No mention of the relationship of energy use and global warming.  No mention of meaningful policies to deal with the fact, according to George's own words, that America is "addicted to oil." (And, as evidently George the alcoholic well knows, the best way to deal with addiction is by focusing on getting more product.)

Energy Dumb. Energy Dumber. Energy Dumbest.

Unlike the Berenstein Bears: Ready, Get Set, Go, Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest doesn't switch positions with as much ease. Sort of like Papa Bear, who couldn't beat his kids at anything (until exhausted sleep), Hillary ain't going to come close to outdumbing McSame McCain and Bush on her worst days.  McSame McCain has to work hard to outdumb Bush, but he does make it a race to the finish in too many arenas.  When it comes to the Oval Office, next January won't be too soon for some Energy Smarts.

Good, Better, Best ...

It really is sad that we need to be talking about Energy Dumb, Dumber, and Dumbest (and pimping to the truthiness rather than truths we need to face).

When it comes to energy and global warming issues, we had actually seen strengthening of Presidential candidate positions through 2007 and into 2008. And, both Obama and Clinton have reasonably good energy programs in their campaign positions. But, in the face of Global Warming, good isn't enough. We must be working hard to make the plans and coming programs better, because the perfect storm of Peak Oil and Global Warming will require the best for navigating the nation and the world community to a prosperous and climate-friendly future.

Sigh ... we can't afford to be talking dumb, dumber, dumbest when so much rides on moving from good to better and striving for best.

When it comes to the Oval Office, next January won't be too soon for some Energy Smarts.


There are some truly excellent discussions re the gas tax going on in the traditional media and in the blogosphere.  See, for example, Joe Romm at Climate Progress:  Gas tax holiday, Part 3: It is cynical and indefensible no matter who proposes it; Huffington Post; Washington Post; multiple conversations at Daily Kos; etc ...

NOTE: Video of Senator Obama's response.

It is amongst the reason why I can't see any hope of improvement for the US under clinotn. On paper many of her policies are as good, if not actually more coherent, than those of Obama.

But, the mood music that dominates is all wrong. You just know that all of the good things will be jettisoned in some triangulation nightmare of turning blue polices deepest corporate red.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 2nd, 2008 at 03:45:35 PM EST
Which is why many of us have been saying that Clinton and Obama are not virtually identical on policy.  And what we've seen of Clinton on this gas tax thing, along with her new "Operation Glowing Towelheads" policy on Iran, has backed up our view ever since.  She talks a good game, but in the end I don't trust her as far as I can throw her, and nothing she's done suggests I'm wrong.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri May 2nd, 2008 at 03:50:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And [here's Clinton ] saying she's going to introduce a bill for the gas-tax holiday in the Senate.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri May 2nd, 2008 at 04:20:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was telling Mig the other day that I'd calculated how much the gas tax holiday would save me, using a tool someone had set up on a website.  My savings?  Ninety two cents.

That and another eight cents will buy me a cup of coffee at McDonald's.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri May 2nd, 2008 at 04:22:55 PM EST
you should move to NYC, my local bodega sells coffee for $0.75. Make that tax cut really work for you.
by MarekNYC on Sat May 3rd, 2008 at 12:35:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Best diary from you ever! a real chucklefest, the berenstein bears bring back some memories.

 the gas 'holiday (from reality)'... won't everyone (who can afford it!) stock up like crazy before the holiday ends and then what.....?

it sure seems dumb, like giving a drunk person a double whisky while helping him into his car to drive home.....off a cliff.

why is 'thelma and louise' such a popular flick...is it a reflection of america's thanatic urge?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 2nd, 2008 at 09:19:34 PM EST

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