Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Obama energy speech: We were the leaders in wind

Obama gave a speech about energy policy today, at Georgetown.

Credit where credit is due: this is a good line, concerning the last time gas was $4 a gallon, in 2008: “And because we were at the height of political season, you had all kinds of slogans and gimmicks and outraged politicians -- they were waving their three-point plans for $2 a gallon gas. You remember that -- ‘drill, baby, drill.’”

BECAUSE YOU’RE GOING TO BE KILLING EACH OTHER FOR A GALLON OF GASOLINE, “ROAD WARRIOR” STYLE: “We’re going to have to think long term, which is why I came here, to talk to young people here at Georgetown, because you have more of a stake in us getting our energy policy right than just about anybody.”

Another good line, somewhat hurt because he beat it into the ground: “We cannot keep going from shock when gas prices go up to trance when they go back down -- we go back to doing the same things we’ve been doing until the next time there’s a price spike, and then we’re shocked again.”

He announced his grand objective: to reduce oil imports by 1/3 in ten years.

He said we should import oil from stable countries like Canada and Mexico (has he seen Mexico recently?) and maybe Brazil. “Part of the reason I went down there is to talk about energy with the Brazilians. They recently discovered significant new oil reserves, and we can share American technology and know-how with them as they develop these resources.” Our oil! Our oil! Our oil!

Of course the “hey, let’s only import oil from friendly, stable countries” idea is nonsense, since the oil market is global. Almost none of the oil used in the US is from Libya, but that didn’t shelter us from a price spike.

HARNESSES: “But our best opportunities to enhance our energy security can be found in our own backyard -- because we boast one critical, renewable resource that the rest of the world can’t match: American ingenuity. American ingenuity, American know-how. To make ourselves more secure, to control our energy future, we’re going to have to harness all of that ingenuity.” Like in “The Matrix.”

HE JUST TOTALLY GETS YOUNG PEOPLE, DOESN’T HE? “and I know how passionate young people are about issues like climate change”.

OBAMA TOTALLY MAKES FUN OF AMNESIA PATIENTS. AMNESIA IS A VERY SERIOUS CONDITION, MR. PRESIDENT: “And lately, we’ve been hearing folks saying, well, the Obama administration, they put restrictions on how oil companies operate offshore. Well, yes, because we just spent all that time, energy and money trying to clean up a big mess. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t have amnesia.”

He says Energy Secretary Steven Chu is “the right guy” to ensure that natural gas is extracted safely. “He’s got a Nobel Prize in physics. He actually deserved his Nobel Prize.” Oh good, Obama is finally admitting that he didn’t deserve his.

NERD! NERRRRRD!!! “And this is the kind of thing that he likes to do for fun on the weekend. (Laughter.) He goes into his garage and he tinkers around and figures out how to extract natural gas.”

Oh lord, he mentions switchgrass. Mark down “switchgrass” as another word ruined forever by George Bush. I hear it and I get flashbacks. Not that it tends to come up in casual conversation.

“We’ve also made historic investments in high-speed rail and mass transit”. 3,815 words before he mentions mass transit. It really could be a George Bush speech on energy, except he doesn’t make any disparaging jokes about electric cars looking like golf carts.

THE NICE THING ABOUT ENERGY EFFICIENCY: “The nice thing about energy efficiency is we already have the technology.”

Another goal: “By 2035, 80 percent of our electricity needs to come from a wide range of clean energy sources”. Of course he counts nuclear power and “clean coal” as clean energy sources.

He deplores the loss of our leadership in green energy: “in the 1980s, America was home to more than 80 percent of the world’s wind capacity, 90 percent of the world’s solar capacity. We were the leaders in wind.” Those were the days.

He wants those days of wind leadership back because “I want America to win the future.”

HE DIDN’T REALLY TEST IT: “I’ve tested an electric vehicle fresh off the assembly line. I mean, I didn’t really test it -- I was able to drive like five feet before Secret Service said to stop.”

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