Obama’s Energy Policy – Big Hat, No Cattle

Why can’t Barack Obama close the deal?

That is the question that is being asked with increasing frequency by both the liberal media (major newspapers and broadcast television) and the conservative media (talk radio and FOX).

Well you don’t have to be a Washington D.C. political columnist or a radio talk show host to know the answer. I was born and raised in Eastern Montana, a part of the nation known for its taciturn but brutally honest denizens. The folks in Eastern Montana describe Obama thusly: Big hat, no cattle. In other words, there is no there there.

Obama is a skilled orator who has a gift of weaving magical tales of a wondrous tomorrow. But the true mark of leadership is not to just have a vision, but also a roadmap of how to get from here to there. Obama lacks any credible roadmap for his grand dreams.

Take, for instance, his energy policy. There are two problems facing Americans today regarding energy. First, there is more demand than supply for petroleum based energy. The limitation on supply comes from two factors — a lack of domestic production of oil and gas, and a lack of refining capacity for the supply that already exists. Second, there is an unhealthy reliance on foreign production, much of which is controlled by foreign governments hostile to America’s national interests (read Venezuela, Iran, and Saudi Arabia).

So what are Obama’s solutions for the energy crises.

Here are his solutions straight from his official website:

ï‚· Provide short-term relief to American families facing pain at the pump
ï‚· Help create five million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future.
ï‚· Within 10 years save more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined.
ï‚· Put 1 million Plug-In Hybrid cars — cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon — on the road by 2015, cars that we will work to make sure are built here in America.
ï‚· Ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.
ï‚· Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Let’s take them one at a time.

Providing short term relief (another temporary rebate) to American families facing pain at the pump does not increase the supply of energy. It is an election gimmick just like the “stimulus package” that Obama opposed in the primaries but now wants to increase in the general election. But this is even more asinine in that he will fund the relief by an “excess profits tax” on big oil which will simply raise the price of petroleum based energy for the very American families facing pain at the pump.

Investing $150 Billion to build clean energy. What does that mean? More wind generators? Currently, they can’t build wind generators fast enough to keep up with the demand. There isn’t any need for the government to pump $1 Billion dollars into wind energy let alone $150 Billion. So what are the other sources of “clean energy” to which Obama refers? He doesn’t know and neither do we.

Save more oil than we are currently importing from the Middle East and Venezuela? That it the mantra of the environmental extremists. In short it means going without, raise your thermostat in the summer and lower it in the winter, stop driving your cars (ride bicycles and use mass transit — a great solution for those living in rural America) and eliminate modern convenience that consume electricity (computers, televisions, hair dryers, etc.) Saving does not produce even one more watt of power.

Build one million plug-in hybrid cars. Well that is a great idea, but what do you suppose is going to power those plug-ins? You are simply exchanging one energy source for another without describing how you are going to increase the supply for the latter to accommodate the increased demand. Like I said, big hat, no cattle.

Ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025. Since Obama and his radical environmental supporters oppose hydroelectric power (in fact want to remove current hydroelectric facilities), the only proven renewable source they have identified is wind energy. According to the United States Department of Energy, in order to achieve ten percent of our electricity from wind generation, we would have to increase production from the current 11.5 Gigawatts (GW) to 150 GW — over a ten-fold increase. We would have to double the wind generation capacity each year for the next four years to reach Obama’s solution.

Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. This is another goal of the radical environmental movement embraced by Obama. It has nothing to do with resolving the current energy crises or achieving energy independence. The haze overlying the Beijing Olympics, even though China has shut down most manufacturing in the area, should be proof enough that a large part of the “greenhouse gas” problem emanates from foreign sources (China, India, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, etc.) Because Obama’s proposal does not effect those countries – much like the vaunted Kyoto Accords – the only thing that it does is impose an additional burden on U.S. based manufacturers resulting in either a competitive disadvantage in the global economy or a continuation of the migration of manufacturing to other countries.

And while Obama’s energy policy delivers little in the way of new energy resources, he and his liberal supporters continue to oppose offshore drilling, drilling in ANWR, increased coal production, increased natural gas production, development of oil shale, development of coal bed methane gas, and nuclear power.

Obama’s energy policy is the moral equivalent of fixing the nation’s deteriorating highway bridges by putting new paint on them.

As a side note, it is interesting to note that the Oregonian found Paris Hilton’s energy policy more noteworthy than Barack Obama’s. In an August 11 editorial, the Oregonian noted:

“But if Hilton was humorously suggesting a balanced look at meeting the nation’s energy needs, she is on to something. The dual crises of energy supply and global warming require an open-minded, all-ideas-on-the-table approach.”

It is strange that the Oregonian can laud a lightweight Hollywood celebrity like Paris Hilton while it ignores the Congressional Republicans who have been advocating an all-ideas approach to energy independence for over four months. But then again, for the Oregonian politics always comes before news or common sense.

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  • Jerry

    The most balanced energy policy for us all to follow is this:

    1. Inflate your tires to the proper allowable maximum.
    2. Buy a bike.
    3. Ride that bike.
    4. Park that car.
    5. Turn the cooling up.
    6. Turn the heat down.
    7. Buy only wind and solar energy except on cloudy, windless days.
    8. Use candles at night.
    9. Sell that big screen TV and go to 13 inch B/W. Get a coupon from the government for next year so that baby will still function.
    10.Turn your computer off when you are not using it.

    Clean, simple, easy to understand, easy to do, and it will work!! I like it. I like it a lot.

  • Bob Clark

    The insanity of Oregon’s current energy policy of restricitng new energy supplies to untested, variable renewables is a recipe for disaster sometime down the road. If the wind doesn’t materialize and solar panels are buried in snow on some cold day, the state could run seriously short of energy during a deep freeze. People could literaly end up freezing to death for lack of energy for heating. It would take several years to correct such an energy shortage, too, but the folks who instituted this program would be long gone either in retirement or in new jobs and the renewable energy profiteers would have made all the quick bucks and moved on to new government supported scams.

    Obama’s energy policy is to extend Oregon’s untested renewable energy programs to the rest of the nation at great risk to the safety of all citizens.

  • dean

    Larry…ALL the folks in Eastern Montana describe Obama that way? And how do they describe Senator MCCain, who is all over the map on energy, advocating cap and trade to raise fosil fuel based energy costs, and at the same time advocating a gas tax holiday and off shore drilling to lower costs, and still opposing drilling in ANWR, where we know there is some oil to be had?

    There is not MORE DEMAND in the US for pertroleum. Demand is going down ever since gas prices topped $4 a gallon. We should be celbrating that fact rather than gnashing our teeth and rending our garments about it. We send umpteen billions of dollars overseas to buy oil to drive over sized personal vehicles on under inflated tires. It is spoiled, childish behavior to want to keep doing that.

    Its not lack of domestic production that is the issue. It is lack of domestic reserves. We have nowhere near the domestic reserves needed to slake our thirst, even if we open the entire OCS AND ANWR. Drill it all….then what? We just need to use less for starts. Its not rocket science.

    Rebating money to Americans who feel the pinch of high energy prices is not a stunt. It is necessary in order to build sufficient political support for the painful stuff (transition,) which will raise energy costs even further over the short term. Cutting gas taxes is the stupid, counter poductive position. Anyway, why are you against tax rebates? I thought Republicans were tax cutters?

    Investing in clean energy means a lot of things. It means extending the tax credits for alternative fuels. It means investing in the grid so that wind energy can be better integrated. It means funding R&D.

    Saving oil has zip to do with your thermostat. Few houses in the Northwest or anywhere outside the northwest use oil for home heating. Insulation, better glazed windows, and so forth make fuel burning for heat less necessary at no loss of comfort. What century are you living in? 70% of our oil consumption is for TRANSPORTATION. We have all the technology we need to cut that use in half at no sacrifice other than driving smaller vehicles, inflating tires, and driving a bit less.

    Plug in hybrids can be powered within the existing available supply, using off peak hour capacity already in the system. Do your homework.

    Obama and his supporters do not oppose Hydro electric power. Where do you get that? Some specific dams don’t provide enough energy for their economic and environmental costs and should be taken down, but most will stay right where they are. We are already on pace to reach 10% wind generation. All we ned to do is maintain the tax credits, which Republicans in Congress have blocked, and upgrade the grid, at a total cost of about 10 months in Iraq. I say get busy and stop griping.

    Cap and trade is not radical. It is mainstream. McCain is also for it, so whomever we elect is going to implement it. The US equals China, which has 4 times our population, as the largest greenhouse gas emitter. We need to take responsibility for our share and stop pointing fingers at others. We are supposed to be world leaders, not followers.

    Obama favors limited new off shore leases as part of a bigger compromise. Both he AND McCain are against ANWR drilling, which would be far quicker and more effective at increasing domestic oil.

    Republicans have been advocating what? Give me a freaking break Larry. They blocked increases in CAFE standards for years. They blocked energy tax credits for alternatives. They blocked release of oil from the strategic reserve. And many of them, including Gordon Smith and John McCain continue to block ANWR. Clean up your own house before you cast more stones.

    • Jerry

      I can’t wait for my rebate. Can you send me $1,000 Dean and then I will pay you back when I get mine.
      This is not a stunt.
      I have an SUV.
      How was I to know this would happen???

      • dean

        How eere you to know what would happen?

        Jerry…why is a rebate different from a tax cut? I thought you liked tax cuts?

    • John in Oregon

      Dean, you know better, > *Its not lack of domestic production that is the issue. It is lack of domestic reserves. We have nowhere near the domestic reserves needed… Drill it all….then what?*

      False, FALSE, *False*
      Lets start with your deception using the term “Oil Reserves”. The USA has a lot of Oil in the ground. Oil in the ground is not counted toward “reserves” unless it is
      1] Evaluated as profitably recoverable under current economic conditions,
      — AND
      2] Accessible under current regulatory schemes.

      Since the Democrat policy is, as aptly demonstrated in the House of Representatives, block development of oil in the ground, our Colorado oil shale (around a trillion barrels) is only oil in the ground and NOT a reserve.

      This is the basis of your false claim that the United States only has small percentage of the world’s petroleum.

      I will give you credit for being honest that you disapprove that the United States > *”[B]uy[s] oil to drive over sized personal vehicles on under inflated tires. It is spoiled, childish behavior to want to keep doing that.”*

      I understand which behavior you consider “childish”. I also understand you want the government to coerce the “adult” behaviors of which you approve. The problem of course is the government power to select the “approved” behavior is not found in the US Constitution.

      I also disagree that the free American people are childish and incapable of making acceptable decisions in their own self-interest.

      You are consistent that Government must manage energy > *Rebating money to Americans… build sufficient political support for the painful stuff…Cap and trade…Carbon tax… Investing in clean energy… extending the tax credits for alternative fuels… investing in the grid so that wind energy can be better integrated… funding R&D.*

      In the late 80s and early 90s the State of California invited automotive industry research into ways to reduce air pollution. Ford in particular did extensive research into alcohol additives and ethanol and methanol alcohol based fuels. Ford flex fuel vehicles were capable of operating with either fuel amendment.

      Ethanol is produced from sugars in agricultural food products. Methanol is produced from farm waste products such as corn stocks. Farm, timber, and municipal waste is a feed stock for methanol production. More importantly, the waste of methanol production can be returned to the soil as a soil amendment. A waste free closed loop cycle.

      But then, as you advocate, Government stepped in and picked Ethanol the winner and Methanol the looser. A choice Government made for political reasons unrelated to facts or reality.

      As a result we have a generation of inflexible flex fuel vehicles that _do not support methanol._ And we also know the impact of that Government [de]mandate on world food prices. Clearly Government has no place in picking winners and losers. The Government [de]mandate, as usual, made the wrong choice.

      > *There is not MORE DEMAND in the US for pertroleum. (sic) Demand is going down ever since gas prices topped $4 a gallon. We should be celbrating (sic) that fact rather than gnashing our teeth and rending our garments about it.*

      I disagree.

      In a free market when price goes up the market responds by producing more product. With production blocked by Government action, the demand remains while consumption declines. This is rationing by price.

      You are further in error in that personal motor transport is more flexible and only a small portion of the transportation fuel sector. The need for transport of goods, via rail, Air, Ocean Freighter, River Barge transport and motor freight remains.

      I find it alarming that we now have two of the three Carter stagflation factors currently in place. The Nixon era rationing, currently in the form of price rationing, and Carter’s oil quota, now in the form of horde and block box.

      We only lack the Carter windfall profits tax between us and the Carter train wreck economy. And we have a presidential candidate proposing the windfall tax directly, and others indirectly in the form of a cap and tax scheme.

      Dean, you day > *THe (sic) first rule of conservation is: do we really need this? The second is putting it in the least damaging place. The third is compensating for the damage done. Its not extortion. Its internalizing the costs rather than externalizing them.*

      Conservatism and its sibling Libertarianism is a philosophy of free markets, free people, willing buyers and willing sellers. Neither are a road map of rules of behavior imposed from above as you have just said.

    • John in Oregon

      Oh and Dean as for > * They blocked release of oil from the strategic reserve.*

      I assume you mean the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

      Taking oil out of storage at the SPR would reduce prices in the short term. Say, for about three months. Oh wait, three months huh. Lets see, September, October, November. Oh I see, sweep it under the rug until after the election. Guess that’s why the Speaker and Obama like the idea.

      I find I agree with Obama’s comments before his flip flop. Like the gas tax holiday, its just something to make it look like the politicians are doing something.

      Speaking of petroleum reserves, how about the National Petroleum Reserve. Why doesn’t Congress simply tell the Federal alphabet agencies that after decades they have 90 days to complete the pipeline permit process?

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