Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ebony & ivory vs. elderly & ivory: energy

here are the candidates on the issues. drawing from the debates and the campaigns and various news sources i want to talk about the issues facing the country and where the candidates stand on them. i had been toying with the idea of just attacking the character of the 2 candidates until things got really ugly and i was leaning that way for a while but let's give this a whirl.

i'm gonna be a little bit of a maverick here and not start with the economy. we are going to talk about
energy. which relates to the economy, and national security and foreign policy and all that of course but we'll try to keep it a little more focused on the topic at hand. we'll just pretend this is any question asked of sarah palin in the v.p. debate and talk, talk, talk about energy. i flipped a coin and casey called in the air over gmail chat and determined that obama's stance will be presented first.

energy is what obama called priority one when asked to list his top 3 by tom brokaw in the second debate. he notes our immediate economic crisis but in the long term he considers the energy question one of the biggest challenges we face- although he sees it as not exclusively so but also as an opportunity. his plan is for a new energy economy that will create over 5 million jobs here in the states. this is a big focus of his economic plan and his efforts towards job creation and rebuilding the economy. we need to shift from importing our alternative energy vehicles from places like japan and south korea and to retool the auto plants in the heartland- in detroit- to create these fuel-efficient vehicles. these will be the plants creating wind turbines and solar panels; this industry of clean energy that will be the driving force of economy for the next century (much like the computer and internet industry has been for the few decades). ever the democrat, obama wants to invest in things. it's like the new new deal. but investing in infrastructure and alternate energy creates jobs, and included in the improved roads and bridges is a new electricity grid that will get alternative energy to the communities that are using it. how will he pay for it? he has a plan, we'll talk about that at another time (ecooonomy!) we have new jobs though, you guys.

obama's plan is fairly all encompasing. he focuses a lot on alternative energy, calling for investments in solar, wind, biodiesel and geothermal. in obama's plan, alternative energy would further boost our economy as green technologies are developed that we can export to countries like china. this would be a great turn around from the current situation where we are, as the senator observes, borrowing over $700 billion from china to send to saudi arabia. obama summed it up nicely and effectively "it's mortgaging our children's future." yes, well put.

despite claims to the contrary, obama does also support nuclear power, with the caveat that the waste be disposed of in a safe and clean manner. this is a point that mccain loves to ridicule obama about which i actually find a little confusing. i can't figure out why it is so foolish and funny. mccain even goes so far as to chastise obama for holding the views of an "exteme environmentalist" mocking "it has to be safe" with one of his weirdo 'we're in on the same joke' looks. only i am not in on that joke, dude. obama also, despite contention, supports
clean coal. again, the insistence that the energy be clean and not contribute to the global warming crisis seems to be the main point of disent between the 2 campaigns. seems like there is an obvious choice there, not sure why the repubs wouldn't be on board with clean energy but then again, as sarah palin pointed out, we don't really know to what extent these problems are man-made so we may not even need to worry how clean our emissions are. phew!

obama also supports expanding domestic production of oil. hey oil companies! yeah you guys, you know the acres you've leased but aren't drilling? hey- use 'em or lose 'em! uuf-ta-face-ta. obama wants to look into limited off-shore drilling (a phrasing that mccain has baby over. mr. fancy pants elitist man with his siren's song- don't fall prey, mccain will break the spell and drop a truth bomb. he doesn't really want to drill!) obama's main concern though is that we cannot drill ourselves out of the problem; we have 3% of the world's oil reserves and use 25%. as the saying goes, do the math. we cannot effectively deal with the climate crisis if the only solution is using more of the fossil fuels that contribute to global warming.

much like his approach to iraq, obama believes in setting attainable goals and deadlines and work towards those. energy independence is, of course, of great concern in terms of national security and obama places us free from venezuelan and middle eastern oil in 10 years. he aptly calls this a realistic goal. in the second debate he allowed us to make the obvious and flattering connection to kennedy's famous leadership qualities, calling back to jfk's statment that we were going to the moon in 10 years. "nobody was sure how to do it, but we understood that, if the american people make a decision to do something, it gets done." he lent a credibility to his plan while inspiring the public to join him in this goal and equating himself to a great leader. iraq is the obvious but not the only national security threaght worsened by the u.s. dependence on foreign oil. obama thinks that energy is also key in dealing with russia, reducing our consumption limits the money going out of america and into the hands of those like russia, intent on "making mischief" around the world. they better not get up to the cold war again or they'll be tremblin' in the kremlin.

and now, senator mccain - on energy, sir. on energy and- not climate control as he corrected bob schieffer- climate change. thank you, please enlighten us on your plans. first of all; drill, baby, drill. follow up: drill here, drill now. sorry, i jest. let me start out with a direct quote from the 3rd debate "energy -- well, first-- second of all, energy independence". oh stop, i'm terrible.

mccain is a great proponent of nuclear energy, he just loves it. it's great. i can't help it, every time he starts talking about nuclear power plants i picture that 3-eyed orange fish from the simpsons. mccain is so enthusiastic about nuclear power he says that we will eliminate foreign dependence on oil by building 45 new plants right away- yippee! and there is more good news: we can store and reprocess the spent fuel. we know how he feels about obama's concern with safe disposal and he dismisses it further by saying they have been storing and reprocessing spent fuel on navy ships' power plants for years. obama wouldn't know about that, whippersnapper. i may be wrong, but storing and reprocessing fuel does not eliminate waste all together. disposing of the waste in a clean manner remains an issue. but let's just gloss over that shall we?

mccain's opener is nuclear power and then he follows up with the whole shebang: wind, tide, solar, nuclear (again), natural gas, flex fuel, hybrid, clean coal(heartland!) and off-shore drilling. he usually stumbles over one or more of these. he also usually also adds that obama opposes off-shore drilling. um...

mccain also stresses that energy independence will create millions of jobs--millions of jobs in america. we also need to eliminate foreign oil, and mccain says we can "if we put our minds to it" because we are dependent on "places in the world that harm our national security". mccain agrees that we have to stop sending $700 billion to the saudis but he just calls them "countries that don't like us very much" (oh wait, should i save that comment for their approaches to foreign policy?)

now, we must not underestimate the importance of drilling. i know this nuclear power stuff is sleek and sexy but we also have to keep it old school. we have to drill offshore, now. this is muy importanté. it will lower the cost of oil, show the other countries we have out own oil (a "nyah nyah" is not uncalled for here), and we have the technology. what is a little hard for me to reconcile is that despite the republican ticket's enthusiasm for drilling, they seem to really have it in for the oil companies. is this something we pass off as maverickiness? mccain brags that palin negotiated with and faced down oil companies. t hey are some of the old boys that she has shaken up, no doubt there was some tough talk and (proverbial) cleaned clocks. she also showed them by building the $40 billion pipeline of natural gas to "the lower 48". (bonus- if alaska seceded we could charge import taxes!) then mccain - channeling creepy troll mccain- stones 2 birds at once when he criticizes obama for voting for an energy bill loaded down with goodies for the oil companies. oh snap, those greedy oil companies- all your goodies. and mccain got to say pork-barrel and ear-mark which he loves doing. now, admittedly, the goodies were there and obama did support it but he did so because it was the first proper energy bill brought to the floor and he wanted to support that and i take that at face value. mccain claims in contrast he was one of the first to bring energy to senate floor. i have no backup for this statement.

cutting spending also seems to be crucial to mccain's energy plan (and platform in general) because he almost always starts talking about that next.

so in conclusion:
obama supports limited drilling, nuclear power (as long as its safe) and clean coal technology - basically keep the energy sources that contribute to global warming limited and as clean as possible. he really wants to invest in alternative energy and get it made right here in the united states so that we create more jobs and exportable technologies and reduce our dependence on other countries. yay for the economy and national security.

mccain wants to build beaucoup de nuclear power plants and thinks that obama should stop being such a pussy about safe disposal. he also supports clean coal technology (his support of clean coal is more supportive than obama's). he thinks that we need to drill now. he leaves out that drilling won't get us oil now but "drill here, drill now" is much catchier than "drill here, have hold-ups due to a shortage of refineries, have oil in 5 plus years". he also supports all those other energies; whatever it takes to be energy independent. also, he is a maverick who will reach across party lines, fight for reform and eliminate wasteful spending just like he has done his entire career.

both candidates feel that a big problem is that the government has done nothing significant to address climate change for the last 30 years. obama points out that mccain has been in the senate for 26 of those. oh. snap.

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