Thursday, August 7, 2008

August 8, 2008 - The Silly Season

If you have any sense of history, or are even a casual observer of politics, you must be in some degree of amazement at the low-brow level of discourse in this Presidential election.

Some in the past have called this the “silly season”…..America going stupid during a new term Presidential election. Unfortunately, this election is proving that adage.

Given the serious issues facing us, and the significant potential impact to not only us here in the US, but almost all other nations, you would assume a level of debate that would be more appropriate to the circumstances. Unfortunately, that’s not what we’re witnessing – a celebrity – Paris Hilton, articulates a more cogent position of an energy strategy than either main party candidate.

Here’s the crucial issues for the US:

  • The war against Islamic-Fascism

  • Dependence on liquid petroleum fuels with increased demand and limited resources

  • Financial and Housing market dislocation

  • Price Inflation due to above

  • Massive illegal alien population impacting our job market, health care, education, crime, and social structure

  • Education system failure

  • Health care cost and health insurance structure

  • Global competitors who are operating more efficiently than we are

  • Bloated government bureaucracy, and regulations, strangling our entrepreneurship

Has either candidate articulated an effective and rational plan, unconstrained by Political Correctness and Partisanship, to solve the problems and lead us to a better, safer life?

Didn’t think so, but just checking. You never know…..I might have missed something.

Here we go……..let’s talk about energy, since it’s front and center (now that it seems the war in Iraq is virtually over)

Teddy Roosevelt was a Conservationist, not an Environmentalist, or Preservationist.
A Conservationist saves in order to use later. Conservation means development as much as it means protection. Jerry Bowyer in TCS Daily presented a great example of this:

TR and his Director of Forestry Services, Gifford Pinchot created a system of 'wildlife Reserves'. They argued that it would not be fair for one generation to do all the logging and all the digging and to leave nothing behind for future generations. They didn't think of these reserves as something pristine…. In fact the shift in language from 'resources' to 'the environment' signals the shift in world-view from conservation to preservation. A resource, by its very nature, is
to be used, sparingly, perhaps, but nonetheless, used.It wasn't the conservationist Roosevelt who put ANWR's oil out of our reach, but the environmentalist Carter.

Sen. Obama said that the U.S. must "end the age of oil in our time," with "real results by the end of my first term in office." This, he said, will "take nothing less than a complete transformation of our economy." He calls for $150 billion over 10 years to achieve "energy independence," with elevated subsidies for renewable alternatives and efficiency programs. He also says he'll "leverage billions more in private capital to build a new energy economy".

The Wall Street Journal position on his plan is that:

Currently, alternative sources -- wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectric and geothermal -- provide less than 7% of yearly domestic consumption. Throw out hydro and geothermal, and it's only 4%. For the foreseeable future, renewables simply cannot provide the scale and volume of energy needed to meet growing U.S. demand, which is expected to increase by 20% over the next two decades. Even with colossal taxpayer subsidies, renewables probably can't even slow the rate of growth of carbon-based fuel consumption, much less replace it.

Problems like these are the reality of "alternative" energy, and they explain why every "energy independence" plan has faltered since the 1970s. But just because Mr. Obama's plan is wildly unrealistic doesn't mean that a program of vast new taxes, subsidies and mandates wouldn't be destructive. The U.S. has a great deal invested in fossil fuels not because of a political conspiracy or because anyone worships carbon but because other sources of energy are, right now, inferior.
Consumption isn't rising because of wastefulness.

The U.S. produces more than twice as much GDP today per unit of energy as it did in the 1950s, yet energy use has risen threefold. That's because energy use is tethered to growth, and the economy continues to innovate and expand. Mr. Obama seems to have other ideas……………

By the way....Martin Feldstein, Harvard economics professor and a Reagan administration chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, has published a clear response to Sen. Obama's statement that "We can't drill our way out of this".

The professor’s basic position came from simple economic theory: If you increase supply, you will lower prices, or at least decrease the rate of price inflation. But just as importantly, Feldstein claimed that even future increases in supply can have an immediate impact on oil prices, because buyers and sellers take expected changes into account when making decisions.

You can read the paper, here.

Then there's Sen. McCain. Karl Rove detailed a plan for the Senator's campaign:

· Keep raising questions about Mr. Obama's fitness to be president, starting with his failure to admit that the surge in Iraq worked.

· Mr. McCain needs to find ways to describe an Obama who is running on empty rhetoric. Do to Mr. Obama what Walter Mondale did to Gary "Where's the Beef?" Hart in the 1984 Democratic primaries

· He needs to lay out a bold domestic reform program, appearing in front of manufacturing plants where jobs depend on affordable energy, small businesses affected by fuel prices, and farms hurt by skyrocketing fertilizer costs -- and not in front of oil rigs, describing the consequences of specific domestic policy decisions.

· Explain how his proposals on energy, health care, jobs and education will make a difference for ordinary families. Mr. McCain also needs to elevate his arguments. It's not only that he opposes tax increases and Mr. Obama favors them. Mr. McCain must also make the principled case that there should be a limit to what government can take from its citizens

· McCain should also talk about issues that increase Republican enthusiasm and win over independents, such as earmarks and judicial activism. And he should not shy away from appeals for bipartisanship. He's done it -- and talking about it undermines Mr. Obama, who hasn't

· Mr. McCain is the most private person to run for president since Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s. He needs to share (or allow others to share) more about him, especially his faith. The McCain and Obama campaigns are mirror opposites. Mr. McCain offers little biography, while Mr. Obama is nothing but.

Sen. McCain has run a loose race so far, but he needs to tighten it up if he really wants to win the Presidency.

Then there's Sen. Clinton.....

A number of articles and comments have appeared the past few days to suggest that since Sen. Obama hasn't taken off like a rocket in the polls yet ("he can't close the deal"), that Sen. Clinton, is looking for ways to exercise her options (did she ever really conceed?) Dennis Keohane in the American Thinker, listed some supposed steps that she's taken recently....

- Blogger Patterico alludes to the Hillary Clinton campaign burning up the phone lines to the super delegates. - Bill Clinton told ABC News, "I am not a racist" and contended the race card was played against him. Even when prompted in the same interview to state that Obama was ready for the Presidency, he did not deliver.

- Hillary's PUMA ( short for "Party Unity My A--.") supporters in Denver and nationally plan a rally at a Denver park during the convention.

- ABC news reported yesterday that Hillary Clinton does not rule out putting her name in nomination,contradicting earlier press reports.

Victor Davis Hanson, in National Review, wrote "The Left convinced Democrats to go with a messiah rather than a dependable nominee — and now they have neither"
He details the varied and sundry ways Obama has either mis-steped, or failed.

First, Obama was billed as a post-racial healer. Yet within weeks of the first primary, the outraged Clintons were accusing Obama of playing “the race card” — and vice-versa.

Americans also learned to their regret how exactly a Hawaiian-born Barack Obama — raised, in part, by his white grandparents and without African-American heritage — had managed to win credibility in what would become his legislative district in Chicago. That discovery of racial chauvinism wasn’t hard once his former associate, his pastor for over 20 years, the racist Rev. Jeremiah Wright, spewed his venom.

Obama himself didn’t help things calling his dutiful grandmother a small-minded bigot — no different from a “typical white person”, and ridiculing small-town working-class Pennsylvanians’ supposed racial insularity.

Without evidence, he unwisely has claimed his opponents (“they”) will play the race card against poor him. In contrast, on the hot-button issue of racial reparations, he recently played to cheering minority audiences by cryptically suggesting that the government must “not just . . . offer words, but offer deeds.” He later clarified that he didn’t mean cash grants.

Second, many are beginning to notice how a Saint Obama talks down to them. We American yokels can’t speak French or Spanish. We eat too much. Our cars are too big, our houses either overheated or overcooled. And we don’t even put enough air in our car tires. In contrast, a lean, hip Obama promises to still the rising seas and cool down the planet, assuring adoring Germans that he is a citizen of the world.

Third, Obama knows that all doctrinaire liberals must tack rightward in the general election. But due to his inexperience, he’s doing it in far clumsier fashion than any triangulating candidate in memory. Do we know — does Obama even know? — what he really feels about drilling off our coasts, tapping the strategic petroleum reserve, NAFTA, faith-based initiatives, campaign financing, the FISA surveillance laws, town-hall debates with McCain, Iran, the surge,
timetables for Iraq pullouts, gun control, or capital punishment?

Fourth, Obama is proving as inept an extemporaneous speaker as he is gifted with a Teleprompter. Like most rookie senators, in news conferences and interviews, he stumbles and then makes serial gaffes — from the insignificant — like getting the number of states wrong — to the downright worrisome — such as calling for a shadow civilian-aid bureaucracy with funding equivalent with the Pentagon’s (which would mean $500 billion per annum).

But the best of all was Charles Krauthammer, on Fox News, commenting that this was like an old-fashioned horror movie, where after the monster has been slain and everyone is walking away, the monster's hand with a bloody dagger, begins to rise.........

Is it time for Hillary to reappear?

Now for the lighter stuff........

Base Jump Flying.....Unbelievable!


Anonymous August 8, 2008 at 9:54 AM  

Nice summary of the issues the candidates continue to avoid. it is a shame our negligent media avoids them too. Our dumbed down population lacks the facts to make smart choices. Very Sad.

Anonymous August 8, 2008 at 9:57 AM  

Nice summary of the REAL issues our candidates and negligent media continue to ignore. That plus our dumbed down population makes me question the survival of this great experiment.... but I continue to hope for the best. I have this continuous tingle crawling up my leg....

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