Who will I support? – part seven

After a relatively short post on Tuesday, I’m back to a more lengthy one today as we tackle an important part of any national candidate’s platform – energy independence.

I didn’t do this as part of my 50 year plan (truthfully an oversight on my part) but I’ve devoted many posts to the subject so I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version of where I stand.

  • I support oil and natural gas drilling in ANWR and the Gulf of Mexico (among other places) in order to secure as much domestic product as possible.
  • While renewable sources are the wave of the future, allow the market to dictate how much of an impact they have.
  • For a large part of my life, I’ve lived within 50 miles of two nuclear plants (Davis-Besse in northern Ohio and Fermi 2 in southeast Michigan) as well as two oil refineries (BP and Sunoco, both in Oregon, Ohio.) No major environmental problems occurred in either case so I feel confident in building more of both where needed.
  • While energy efficient buildings and automobiles are smart choices, that choice should be made by the end user, not the federal government.

Now it’s time to see how the candidates match up to my stance. Of course I’ll start with the Republican contenders.

Sam Brownback:

Due to years of neglect and short-sighted domestic policies, America is on the verge of an energy crisis. Our supply of energy has not kept pace with our demand. Today our nation produces 39% less oil than we did in 1970. This leaves us dependent on foreign suppliers, who often do not have America’s best interests at heart. This Congress, I co-sponsored the Dependence Reduction through Innovation in Vehicles and Energy (DRIVE) Act. This bill aims to reduce our oil consumption by 2.5 million barrels per day in ten years by taking an innovative, market-based approach that relies on advanced technology and an expansion of renewable fuels. I will continue to fight for energy independence.

On his website, Rudy Giuliani just updated his view.

Mike Huckabee weighs in on his website as well.

Mitt Romney also takes advantage of the internet to show his views, including video.

Tommy Thompson:

Governor Thompson believes America must become more independent in its energy needs and break reliance on foreign oil. We must begin with greater investments in renewable energy, like ethanol, so we can bring these technologies to market faster and more efficiently. And we must come together and deal with our changing climate.

I was a bit surprised that only five GOP officeseekers discussed energy. On the Democrat side, we get six who mention the topic at some length.

Joe Biden:

Joe Biden believes that domestic energy policy is at the center of our foreign policy and economic policy. Most of the world’s oil is concentrated in nations that are either hostile to American interests or vulnerable to political upheaval and terrorism. Our oil dependence undercuts the advance of freedom and limits our options and influence around the world because oil rich countries pursuing policies we oppose can stand up to us and undermine the resolve of our allies. Profits from the sale of oil help fuel the fundamentalism we are fighting. High energy prices hurt business’ bottom line.

Joe Biden’s first priority is energy security. He believes we can strengthen security by reducing our oil consumption by increasing fuel efficiency, transitioning to farm-grown fuels like ethanol and biodiesel, and expanding the use of renewable energy. But we cannot stop there. Joe Biden would make a substantial national commitment by dramatically increasing investment in energy and climate change research and technology so that that United States becomes the world leader in developing and exporting alternative energy.

Hillary Clinton looks at energy on her site.

Also taking advantage is Chris Dodd with his insights.

John Edwards needs to run his blowdryer too, so he has this to say.

Dennis Kucinich, among other ideas, wants to put NASA in charge.

Barack Obama‘s not left out either.

Finally, Bill Richardson surprised me with a good idea on veterans affairs Tuesday. He attempts to continue the string here.

As I mentioned on Tuesday, there are now 17 points at stake. Starting with Sam Brownback, here’s how they’re going to be assigned.

No, Sam, it’s drill, drill, drill! You are correct in citing the diminished refinery capacity but I just noted up above I want the market to take care of the amount of oil we use. Picking an arbitrary number to reduce consumption by (2.5 million barrels a day) via federal law isn’t the right way to solve the problem. I’m taking off 7 points from your score.

In reading Rudy Giuliani’s approach (one of his “12 Commitments”), I feel it’s a little vague in speaking to where the market works and where the government interferes, but overall it’s a good set of solutions. The only exception I take is saying, “America’s government, corporations, and individuals must engage in efficiency and conservation efforts that reduce demand for oil, without damaging America’s competitiveness worldwide or our standard of living.” If he inserted the word “voluntarily” I’d be much happier. As it stands, I’m still quite impressed with what he says and Rudy will pick up 14 points.

Mike Huckabee is quite ambitious (“We will achieve energy independence by the end of my second term”) but doesn’t quite get to Rudy Giuliani’s level of detail. Mike talks about conservation in a general sense along with exploration and alternative energy sources; however, he does list nuclear power first among the alternatives, which is a plus. He is correct when he points out that federal efforts are “haphazard and often pointless” but advocates “set(ting) aside a federal research and development budget that will be matched by the private sector.” It creates an opportunity to continue being pointless, unfortunately. I applaud the willingness of Mike to involve the private sector but don’t see the need for federal dollars for this effort. Overall, I’ll give Huckabee 11 points.

I like Mitt Romney’s advocation of drilling in ANWR and along the outer continental shelf. But three of the ideas he speaks about in his website videos give me pause: subsidies, “floor” prices, and maintaining or increasing CAFE standards. None of these are free-market solutions and with that much interference in the economy, I feel Romney should be docked slightly – I’m deducting two points from his score.

Tommy Thompson talks about two losing points: “investing” in the inefficiency of ethanol, and dealing with our changing climate. The only way most people in government want to deal with a changing climate is through higher taxes, such as a “carbon tax.” This is a wrong-headed approach and will drop him into negative territory as I deduct 10 points.

Flipping over to the Democrats’ side, Joe Biden also likes the job-killing (not to mention possibly driver-killing) raising of CAFE standards, along with adding to the ethanol craze and raising our taxes to “dramatically” increase our “investment” in climate change and energy technology. So he’ll pretty much cut the market out and not seek to use resources we can easily attain. I’m taking off all 17 points.

Hillary Clinton also covets a batch of market-killing items like taxing oil companies and mandating 20% of electricity be created from renewable sources by 2020. She also hits me where I live:

Hillary would require all federal buildings to steadily increase the use of green design principles, energy efficient technologies, and to generate energy on-site from solar and other renewable sources. By 2030, all new federal buildings and major renovations would be carbon neutral, helping to fight global warming and cutting the $5.6 billion that the federal government spends each year on heating, cooling and lighting.

As I’ve said, I have no objection to more energy-efficient buildings, but the idea that federal buildings help to promote global warming (aside from the hot air coming out of Congress) to me is laughable. She’s docked all 17 points too.

Chris Dodd is way, way, way out there. Corporate Carbon Tax? 50 MPG fuel economy in 10 years? Corn as fuel instead of food? Okay, maybe not the last one but he does state that, “The Dodd Energy Plan would set the goal of renewable fuel usage in cars and homes at 8.5 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2008 and steadily increasing to 36 billion gallons by 2022.” And we will eat what? Another instance where I regret I can only take off 17 points.

Let’s see. For John Edwards…tax on “polluters”, check. Job-killing higher CAFE standards, check. Government “investment” (e.g. higher spending), check. And of course, he doesn’t stop there. How about a “GreenCorps” as part of AmeriCorps? Or a new “global climate change treaty”? (Didn’t we reject the Kyoto Protocol once already?)

Now I will give him a slight bit of credit for bringing up “smart” electric meters which display both usage and price. If a utility wants to make that investment they should be encouraged to. But not the federal government. He loses 16.5 points.

Dennis Kucinich would sign Kyoto in a heartbeat and has worked with Mikhail Gorbachev on a “Global Green Deal”. Enough said, 17 points off.

Barack Obama also has a laundry list of items increasing the size and regulation of the federal government. The sad part is that he’s talked a few Republicans into helping him support these measures. He also wants to make a Faustian bargain with auto companies where the government helps pay for retiree health benefits in exchange for investment in technology to make more fuel-efficient vehicles. Not only does that interfere with the auto market, he gets the daily double of placing the government even further into the realm of nationalized health care. You guessed it, another 17 point deduct.

And I had such high hopes for Bill Richardson to actually break away from the pack. Guess not. While he says on the one hand, “Market-based principles should guide our energy policies, laws and regulations. We must support competition in energy markets by bringing forward new technologies, efficiencies, and energy sources,” he then says in the very next sentence, “We can do so by setting high standards and providing incentives, and allowing the private sector to respond.” Now wouldn’t providing government incentives influence the free market? Another 17 point loser.

Man, all of these Democrats practically sound the same, spewing their bullshit about global warming and such.

The GOP field shuffles once again. Like I said, this was a possible high-impact category and indeed it helped two fortunes in particular (while really hurting two others):

  1. Mike Huckabee, 23 points
  2. Rudy Giuliani, 22 points
  3. Tom Tancredo, 19.5 points
  4. Duncan Hunter, 17 points
  5. Ron Paul, 13.5 points
  6. Sam Brownback, 7.5 points
  7. John McCain, 3 points
  8. Fred Thompson, 2 points
  9. Mitt Romney, 1 point
  10. Tommy Thompson, -8.5 points

Meanwhile, by shutting up, Mike Gravel helped himself out pointwise on the Democrat side.

  1. Mike Gravel, -19 points
  2. Bill Richardson, -32 points
  3. Joe Biden, -36.5 points
  4. John Edwards, -39 points
  5. Chris Dodd, -42.5 points
  6. Barack Obama, -45 points
  7. Hillary Clinton, -46 points
  8. Dennis Kucinich, -57.5 points

My next subject is almost certainly a trap for Democrats and may ensnare some GOP folks as well – I’m going to delve into entitlements like Social Security and Medicare. Yep, that third rail. I’m not afraid to touch it, we’ll see if the candidates still are.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

3 thoughts on “Who will I support? – part seven”

  1. I can’t remember if it’s BP or Exxon, but one of them runs an ad in the Harvard Business Review every month that says something like this: “There are 137 countries in the world, and none of them are energy independent.” It’s true, and it highlights how misguided this ‘goal’ is…

    Maybe I read the goal too literally, and think it to mean 100% of our oil needs to be US-sourced… maybe other people use the term “independent” to mean 60% US-sourced. Then I always wonder about Canada — will we consider that domestic oil, like we consider the cars they build ‘domestic’? What about Mexico? If we include those two countries (#1 and #3 on the list of countries we import from), then ‘domestic’ sources would be providing just over half of our needs (I need to run those numbers again, but it’s close). If we can’t trust Canada, who can we trust?

  2. back to the point of your post — Romney is no longer an eligible candidate for me with his claim “We must become independent from foreign sources of oil.” Populist drivel.

    Hillary loses bonus points by trying to frame Her Will as a choice: oil companies can invest in renewable tech or pay into a fund. Great, where can I sign up?

    Obama: “America’s Achilles heel is the oil we cannot live without.” Really? Seems to me like it’s a resource that helped us become the greatest economy and most productive and innovative country in the world. Oil isn’t dragging America down, it’s freeing us up to do more important things.

    I could go on, but I guess all of the candidates fail my test by thinking that they know better than the market — and by market I don’t just mean oil companies, but the rest of the economy that buys oil products, right down to individual consumers that choose buy one product over another and invest our resources where we see fit.

Comments are closed.