Sunday, November 25, 2007

I Like Mike - Kinda

Sorry about that last post. A fit of roguish pique. Ted's been requisitioned elsewhere to help write online dating profiles...

In the meantime, Mike Huckabee's at it again - like a Jeremiah in the Heartland, calling on Americans to forgo their addiction to oil and cease financing the corrupt regimes of the Middle East. He is the only presidential candidate with the foolhardiness, or the courage, to actually tell the voters the truth about what we are doing. And - coincidentally? - he is surging in the polls.

Here's what he had to say today:

"Every time we put our credit card in the gas pump, we're paying so that the Saudis get rich — filthy, obscenely rich, and that money then ends up going to funding madrassas that train the terrorists. America has allowed itself to become enslaved to Saudi oil. It's absurd. It's embarrassing."

He continued: "I would make the United States energy independent within 10 years and tell the Saudis they can keep their oil just like they can keep their sand, that we won't need either one of them."

How extraordinary - a candidate leveling with the electorate, upbraiding us for our bad behavior and even, gasp, suggesting that our addiction has something to do with terrorism (I'm surprised Rudy hasn't pounced on him by now, that big adolescent bully). Still, if Huck's really ready to fess up, he will have to tell us what we will need to do to become independent of roughly 1.5 million barrels a day that we import from the Saudis. While it's pleasant to imagine that Huckabee would further surge when he told us of the austerity measures we would need to adopt, I rather suspect that he knows his surge would instantly end if he disclosed the specifics of what would be necessary. Indeed, at this point the Saudis are the only thing standing in the way of efforts by Iran and Venezuela to price oil in non-dollar currencies, a move that would instantly teach us a few things about austerity.

At least Huck hasn't begun lying to us that we can run our cars on prune juice or fairy dust - or, worse yet, divert food into our gas tanks, as is being peddled by many candidates - but he's more likely to tell us these kinds of tall tales than to level with us about the hard truth of what will be needed to break our addiction to oil and the corrupt and vicious regimes our dollars are supporting. Still, credit to him for telling us the truth about our complicity in this war on terror, and showing us the way to really defeating the terrorism born of Middle East fanaticism fueled by the iniquity of oil riches.


Anonymous said...

"I would make the United States energy independent within 10 years and tell the Saudis they can keep their oil just like they can keep their sand, that we won't need either one of them."...How extraordinary - a candidate leveling with the electorate

"Leveling" with us?!

If Huck was pres *nothing* would change, nor could it without congress and the public going along, which is simply *not* gonna happen. Is America going to walk eyes-open into a ten-plus year recession like that? Good way to get unelected! The only way we will wean ourselves of Saudi oil is when they run out. It's the cheapest form of energy around, and makes everyone, including us, richer.

This is the very worst form of feel-good pandering. Any fool can say this sort of tripe. Heck, why doesn't Huck just claim he will personally cut each of us a check for a million bucks? If we are talking complete and utter BS, why stop?

Michael Simpson said...

I have an idea: I'd be interested in seeing what Patrick Deneen, senior policy advisor to a President Huckabee, would put together as his plan for doing this. What do you propose?

Patrick Deneen said...

I hope this is not an invitation to join the campaign - I'd have to decline, if only because I'd be sure to sink what has been a rising ship.

My basic policy recommendation would be a quote from Wendell Berry: "we are going to have to learn to live poorer." That may not be a winning slogan, however! A nicer, but perhaps no less palatable way of saying this is "we are going to have to conserve, i.e., use less." According to a graph and story in todays NYT, not a single person among the "major" candidates (and they don't include Huck) lists conservation - using less energy - among their proposals. '

So, really, my point is less that I am here to offer any specific policy recommendations than I hope to show the VAST distance between admirable rhetoric of independence from Mid East tyrants and what would really need to be done to achieve that kind of independence.

In the meantime, they'll just keep owning more of us, literally and figuratively.

Anonymous said...

As Edwards says on the stump, "Americans hunger to rise to a challenge and work together." Like the cheers Dr. Pat received at the Georgetown forum he described a few months back.

Will the message of conserve and live simpler work political. Not really, unless we're at a real war, ahem. But many folks lost some of these values are already reclaiming them thru the voluntary simplicity movement, the local food movement, and the end-consumerism of December movement. The carbon offset craze of late is confusing to me. I like the recognition of externalities, but wealth permits transgression.

Price rises will alter some behavior, having models and ease of options will also help. God willing, we won't have to suffer to greatly until the rest of us are prodded.