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    Thursday, January 28, 2010

    State if the Union: It's Campaign Season, Y'all! (In other words, a repeat of already broken promises)

    Tonight's SOTU speech was long (we watched the DVR'd American Idol while it was going on and when we finished, Bam was just exiting the building), and, according to Fox News and the blogosphere, was a return to campaign mode for Obama.  Victor Davis Hanson gives you all you need to know.

    Obama would have a lot more credibility if he didn't practice such massive hypocrisy.  Calling for earmark reform when he signed bills with over 9000 earmarks doesn't help.  Calling for lobbying reform when his administration is full of former lobbyist, does not help.  Calling for more drilling offshore and clean coal when he's pushing AGW accords that would kill our economy, does not help.

    I am amazed, in the aftermath of this, at how tone deaf he is politically.

    Every president this century has understood that the engine of commerce in this country is the availability of cheap energy.  And, the cheapest source of energy has been, and remains, fossil fuels, primarily in the form of oil, coal, and natural gas.  In the early days, we were largely self-sufficient in these sources, and were pretty much the largest driver of demand.  In the '60s and '70s, the environmental movement succeeded in placing restrictions on drilling for oil in this country, but, as long as there was plenty of fuel available from overseas sources, this really didn't matter to the economic engine of the US.  The first fuel crisis of 1973 exposed our vulnerability to foreign sources of oil, and prompted Nixon to propose the first of many "energy independence" initiatives.  Since that was pre Three Mile Island,  the nuclear industry still held great promise as an environmentally friendly, albeit expensive, supplement to coal and gas.

    However, Nixon's initiatives went nowhere in the aftermath of Watergate, and we failed to take decisive action when we were warned.  This led to the second energy crisis in 1978-1979 and the Carter effort to establish energy independence.  Ouch.

    Reagan re-established the natural order of things, and with strong, decisive leadership, the Middle Eastern sultanates knew it was better not to piss off the United States, the obvious eventual winner in the Cold War (hey, those guys know nothing better than a winner).  Bush 1 used his influence with Saudi Arabia to essentially ensure a steady flow of oil from that country, and we wouldn't be seriously pressed with another energy crisis until the combination of neglect (lack of domestic drilling and refining capacity, and the degradation of our nuclear industry) and increased demand from India and China brought the demand side of the equation up to levels that forced the price of oil from dirt cheap to just cheap.  But, with no end in increased demand in sight (driven by those countries), the focus now has to turn to increasing the supply of energy to retain prices where we need them to be to ensure continued economic growth.

    Which brings me to this administration.  Sure, we have an economic panic that is financial industry and not energy driven.  But, we have largely weathered that storm now.  But, if this admin persists in strangling our economy through anti-energy policies like cap and tax, and EPA regulation of CO2, and pushing cars that no one wants, well, then, we are due for a slow recovery, if we have one at all.

    The time is now to increase domestic production of energy.  Perhaps the O admin realizes it.  We'll know they are serious when cap and tax is scrapped, and production actually increases.

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