Obama Plays Defense on Energy Policy
On Tuesday, the U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu publicly backtracked on his prior opinion that domestic gas prices need to rise to European levels. This same week, Obama spoke out against his Republican opponents for their “flat-earth” mentality on energy. The focus on energy this week is driven by gas prices that not only hurt the wallet, they hurt Obama’s re-election chances.
Obama argues that we need an “all-in” energy strategy that focuses on distributing federal funds to “green” innovation. In the same speech that Obama defends his innovation policy (see video above), he lauds big name innovators like Edison, Watts, Gates, and Jobs. Obama would like to champion his public funded innovation policy by aligning it with some of the greatest private innovators in American history. He would also like to accuse Republicans of looking backward when it comes to innovation, but I would argue that if he were to look back at the list of names he praises he will realize that none of them were successful because of a top-down federal innovation policy.
There is an obvious difference of opinion on where innovation should come from, but the biggest argument about energy is what we should do while other technologies are in development. Obama’s policy so far has been to refuse expanded resource extraction. This is what Republican’s find unnerving, because although solar or wind may be fundamental energy resources one day, they certainly aren’t now. As far as energy is concerned, Obama’s eyes are on the future but his feet aren’t on the ground.