I wish that our "National Energy Policy Issues" were easy to discern but they are not. I wish there were a clear-cut choice for that candidate with the best Policy Proposals, but there isn't.
For the foreseeable future Coal and Natural Gas and Oil and Hydroelectric Power, and perhaps Nuclear Power are of enormous value to the Economy and the Welfare of the Union. Mr. Bush is quite correct to point out the irreparable damage done to our Economy by the heavy-handed Environmentalist policies of Clinton-Gore, who have done much to stop development of old-school energy sources, but who have not done quite enough to develop new ones.
The economic damage of such negative anti-productive policies has recently been demonstrated in California where all of a sudden the state realized that in the midst of deregulation they had not built new power plants for years. All of a sudden, there was not adequate power for day-to-day needs.
Regrettably, Mr. Bush does not seem to care enough about the future of the country to look a bit further down the road. The issue of Global Warming does seem to be worth incorporating into our strategies and this complicates matters dramatically. Mr. Bush seems to be ignorant of even the most basic tenets on this issue. While it would be damaging to our economy and welfare to sign the Kyoto accords, this does not mean that the nation should be so incapable of working for an Energy Policy which would incorporate a sound understanding of the importance of Global Warming issues. Mr. Bush's blind rush to advocate better "cleaner" coal use shows little understanding that all fossil fuel use is inherently contributory to Global Warming. I doubt that he cares, much less understands.
Republican contempt for Solar Energy and other Renewable Progressive Technologies is so palpable and unwarranted that one doesn't know what to say: Do they wish to pretend that these competing technologies can't contribute to our future or that Renewable Energy Technologies are a pipe dream of Socialists and Communists?
My complaint with Mr. Bush's apparent policies is not just that he is wrong in some areas, or that Republican contempt for Solar energy demonstrates a genuine lack of concern for the nation's future, but that he seems to be genuinely incapable of listening to cogent criticism and learning where he might be wrong. This, I think, is a scary quality in a Presidential aspirant.
My own experience is that there are much broader more interesting issues which arise in trying to study and understand a single narrow issue such as National Energy Issues.
Taken on all the issues, there is no possibility that I could ever vote for George Bush Jr., as there are so many other areas where I find his smug intollerant approach seem to lead him to points of view objectionable to me. (For example, on the issue of abortion, I think he is a pig, and pretty much what I would expect for a Republican from Texas). But on the narrower issue of Energy Policy, I cannot fault every aspect of his stances. I just wish that he could buy a clue when it comes to more progressive Renewable Technologies, and their importance in devising a genuinely sophisticated worthy Energy Policy Approach.
10/16/00: Election Notes:
I liked this quote from a recent news story: "'We need a bipartisan energy policy that transcends parties, and avoids short-term floundering,' said Dr. James Brooks, a professor on the politics of energy at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "
Both George Bush and Al Gore have recently deigned to discuss Alternative Energy Issues. With Oil at $36 per barrel, the Stock Market in retreat, the Fed Warning of Inflation and Electricity soaring in some markets, it's about time.
Most of the activists and interested parties I speak with have contempt for Mr. Bush and his Drill-for-Oil approach to our present problems. For my money, the galling thing about Mr. Bush's Energy stances is that he actually has a couple of good points to make.
Washington has indeed stood for too long in the way of honest productive energy cultivation. Yes, part of the reason has been a legitimate concern about the very real problem of global warming, but somehow we have failed to balance this concern against a protection of our freedoms to be productive and to ensure the security of our macro-economy. We have remained absurdly dependent on our military and civilian foes for our crucial energy supplies. We are in immediate danger of going into a recession (or worse) and ending one of the best economies in history... because we couldn't be bothered to do a better job of reassessing the huge impact of our environmental and political philosophies.
What other nation would be so arrogant as to insist on other countries befouling their entire environment to satisfy our needs while refusing to drill for billions of dollars of oil, coal and natural gas easily available to us at home? What other country would successfully prosecute an entire war to keep our oil supply steady, but would then do nothing to correct the dependencies which necessitated the war? While Mr. Gore and Bush argue about "Projecting American Strength and Purpose" in our foreign policy they might want to consider what utter whining babies we seem when we can't be bothered to think three minutes ahead in our demands for more and more Energy imports.
As seems to be so often the case with Mr. Bush, having made a couple of excellent points in attacking the excesses and severe deficiencies of Clinton-Gore Energy Policies, he cannot be bothered to think much further on the matter. He's paid a little lip-service to the Ethanol cause (not hard to do if you're a politician) and demanded more Hydrocarbon cultivation. Does he care about ending the ridiculous subsidies to the Oil and Nuclear industries? Does it bother him that he and Mr. Cheney have nothing but contempt for Solar Energy and other exciting important technologies? Do they care that global warming appears to be a legimitate problem facing all peoples, enough to make formulating a rational Energy Policy a more difficult challenge?
Republican contempt for Solar Energy, in particular, is so glaring and unwarranted that one wonders what is going on. Do Mssrs. Bush and Cheney wish to prove beyond any doubt that they are incapable of thinking about a realisable future, beyond the limited world of Oil that they know? Do they wish to remind us that they are two Rich White Spoiled Oil guys who got much of their success not by dint of hard work in an industry of great challenge and honor, but as a payoff because of their position in the world?
Mr. Gore and particularly Mr. Nader have been excellent in pointing out that Solar Photovoltaic Energy is a technology which could easily provide the US with much of its future energy needs, along with Hydroelectric, Wind, Nuclear, Wave Energy and other sources of power. We need a leader and a Congress which will look to the future as well as looking to the present to shore up our grievously dependent Energy Policy..
As to Mr. Gore, he seems to understand a great deal about the importance of looking to future sources of Energy. Regrettably, his words have not been backed up by action, as he and President Clinton have failed to do nearly enough to put us on the road toward those Energy sources. Worse, while he has failed to do his part to adequately fight for better energy technologies, he and President Clinton have been very effective in shutting down much Domestic Hydrocarbon Production with their land-buying and refinery-regulating. Now we stand at a point where our nation faces the prospect of severe Economic problems due to inadequate planning and arrogant environmental assumptions.
Ralph Nader is the only Presidential Candidate I've ever heard state things in a different way.... that Solar Energy is the answer for the future. I think he has an important point, and I hope that he will be listened to, by both Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush.
There are dozens of important issues to consider, I think, in deciding one's vote for President, and I don't think that my own vote will be cast primarily in consideration of Energy Policy Issues. But in momentarily focusing in on Energy Policy issues, my own thought is that both candidates need to reasses their views and improve upon them.