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Originally posted to Facebook on Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 10:08pm.

MCCAIN IOWA

2. John McCain doesn’t have a plan for energy policy.
I’m sure everyone has noticed that gasoline is a little more expensive than it used to be. These high prices have pushed questions about energy to the forefront of voters’ minds this election cycle. Everybody wants to know what prospective President McCain is going to do to magically dial the price of a gallon of gas back down to 95 cents. Does he have the answer for us? Let’s look to the speech.

McCain devotes 15 sentences in his speech to energy. This section could well be titled: We’ll Attack the Problem on Every Front or The Most Ambitious National Project in Decades (McCain uses both of these phrases). In this one short paragraph, John McCain systematically lists almost every single magic energy gimmick that I have ever heard of. Here they are, in no particular order:

Drill new wells off-shore (drill them now, drill them now!)
Build more nuclear power plants
Develop clean-coal technology
Increase the use of wind
Increase the use of tide
Increase the use of solar
Increase the use of natural gas
Encourage the development and use of flex-fuel
Encourage the development and use of hybrid automobiles
Encourage the development and use of electric automobiles
Harness the untapped power of beef cattle flatulence
Require all illegal immigrants to pedal stationary bikes connected to generators for one hour daily

OK, the last two are made up (thanks for the bike idea, Lance), but you get the picture. The only obvious point McCain missed was opening up ANWR to drilling. Curious, especially since he picked the Governor of Alaska as his running mate. And of course he didn’t mention the Obamaesque “alternative fuels” idea, which has done great things already for food prices by shunting feed corn away from cattle and into ethanol plants.

So now we know McCain’s plan for energy. Everything. Yep, everything. We’ll do it all, baby. Never mind that some of these items are illegal (off-shore drilling), some of them are impractical for producing any large amount of electricity (wind and tide), and some of them are currently technologically improbable (“clean-coal” and electric automobiles). Never mind that all of these ideas (except the illegal immigrants on bikes) are unbelievably expensive. Never mind that our government bureaucracy has never successfully completed an “ambitious national project” without untold amounts of waste and corruption. Never mind. We’ll just throw up a few windmills (vote McCain) and sink a few gas wells (McCain/Palin) and everything will be just peachy, dig it?

Not that we can’t eventually make all of these grand plans doable, you understand. I’m just pointing out that these are not easy fixes for high gas prices. These ideas seem to be more in the “I once read that these were the things you need to say about making gas cheaper in order to get elected” ballpark. Oh yeah, speaking of doable ideas, how does Citizen McCain plan to pay for all of these new projects? It’s right there in the speech! He says, “We’re going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much…” Really? Like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Georgia? Sure, I see that happening in a McCain administration, don’t you? I wish he could have just stuck with the slick energy talk instead of insulting my intelligence with a big fat bold-faced lie. I really could have done without that.

Despite what McCain says, this is not an easy problem, and it cannot be solved by a bunch of fancy sounding, speechy baubles. Americans need to be told the truth, not dazzled by smoke and mirrors. The road back to inexpensive energy will be long and difficult, but it is clear what needs to be done; the reason for high gas prices is obvious. I’ll give you one acronym: OPEC. Right now, oil is controlled by a foreign monopoly, therefore, we have to pay what they say. Until we break our dependence on the OPEC countries for our oil supply, we will continue to pay extortion to them. Why are we under OPEC’s thumb? Because our government has put us there. Our own government has made it illegal for private American companies to look for, harvest, and refine our own natural resources. We can’t go get the oil under our own Gulf of Mexico, or the oil trapped in oil shale out west, or the billions of gallons bubbling under the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. It’s nearly impossible to get permission to build any more nuclear plants (Chernobyl, anyone?) or any more coal refineries (they’re so dirty), and nobody wants more flatulent cattle. We have our own bike, for crying out loud, we have just been told by Mommy and Daddy that we can’t ride it.

So what’s the answer? It sure ain’t what McCain’s selling. John McCain is and has been part of the problem, not the solution. Our government, his government, has tied our hands, and delivered us bound to the mercy of OPEC. Instead of “the most ambitious national project in decades”, we need “the most ambitious government withdrawal from the free energy market in decades”. Instead of more inefficient government programs and worthless government spending, how about cutting back on waste and lifting some of the asinine, meddlesome restrictions on private domestic energy production? Just get out of the way and let Americans do what they do best: solve problems through competition and consumer choice. That will bring gas prices down. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life.

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