Monday, September 15, 2008

Friedman on oil dependence

I haven't had a good thing to say about Thomas Friedman is a very long time, but he had a very good column in yesterday's NYTs.

Friedman begins,
Imagine for a minute that attending the Republican convention in St. Paul, sitting in a skybox overlooking the convention floor, were observers from Russia, Iran and Venezuela. And imagine for a minute what these observers would have been doing when Rudy Giuliani led the delegates in a chant of “drill, baby, drill!”

I’ll tell you what they would have been doing: the Russian, Iranian and Venezuelan observers would have been up out of their seats, exchanging high-fives and joining in the chant louder than anyone in the hall — “Yes! Yes! Drill, America, drill!” — because an America that is focused first and foremost on drilling for oil is an America more focused on feeding its oil habit than kicking it.

Why would Republicans, the party of business, want to focus our country on breathing life into a 19th-century technology — fossil fuels — rather than giving birth to a 21st-century technology — renewable energy? As I have argued before, it reminds me of someone who, on the eve of the I.T. pounding the table for America to make more I.B.M. typewriters and carbon paper. “Typewriters, baby, typewriters.”
One of my biggest disappointments with the Obama campaign has been their surrender to the GOP on the drill, drill, drill issue. Certainly, it's a tough issue, but Obama -- like Friedman yesterday -- has a lot to talk about on energy -- which he does in his stump speech. But he also needed to challenge McCain directly on the drill topic and press him to explain to the public the truth about drilling -- that with 3% of the world's oil reserves and 25% of its consumption we are never drilling our way out of anything. Call McCain out on his capitulation to oil interest and refusal to show real leadership. Americans are finally understanding that we need to be serious about conservation and long ago lost faith in Bush / Cheney on oil issues. Obama's decision to not offer leadership on the topic is a shame.

The drill issue should have been at worse a tie to Obama, but he let it get away.

No comments: