I haven't encountered any sentient beings lately who think President Bush's "energy policy" is more than a bad joke. As a Republican, I'm embarassed. But, then, that's my usual reaction to the President's policies when it's not sheer outrage.
So why can't the Democrats articulate an energy policy that will inspire America? (No, don't answer that. Rhetorical question.)
We need someone with the folksy appeal of Ronald Reagan and the youthful energy of John F. Kennedy who can communicate a bold vision of American energy leadership. "Fellow Americans," the speech could begin, "over a decade ago we broke the back of Communist hegemony, and two decades before that we put a man on the moon. I believe we are the greatest nation on Earth, and that there is nothing we can't accomplish if we work together. The time has come to face humanity's next great challenge: by 2020 we will eliminate America's dependence on foreign oil and usher in a new era of abundant, clean energy for ourselves and for the world!"
Instead, the best the Democrats can come up with is an insipid, uninsipiring catalog of half-measures--a tax credit for this and new standard for that, incremental improvements and yawn-inducing wonkery. It doesn't matter whether they're the right policies, because no one is going to notice or care about them.
And that's the best. The worst (think Al Gore as the reincarnation of c. 1977 Jimmy Carter after suffering a blow to his head) is not just uninspiring, it completely misses the point: yes, America (and the world) is pissing away its energy savings account; but we won't move forward as a nation or as a species by cowering in our caves conserving the last few precious drops of the world's dwindling oil reserves, resigned to a gloomy future. That doesn't sell. And it's not that it doesn't sell because American voters cum consumers are greedy and shortsighted (they may be, but that's beside the point); it doesn't sell because it fails to aspire to greatness.
The future is very bright indeed, if you have the courage to look into the sun. If Howard Dean (or any other candidate) wants my vote, its time he got some cojones.
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