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.