Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 26, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

BUSH AND OIL....George Bush spoke today about oil and gasoline shortages in the aftermath of our recent hurricanes, and in just a few short sentences managed to show off practically everything that's wrong with his governing instincts. Here's what he said:

Bush called on Americans to "pitch in" and conserve gas by reducing non-essential travel, teaming up in carpools and using mass transit.

....Bush said the administration is also continuing to waive rules that require special gasoline and diesel blends in some parts of the country in an effort to cut pollution.

...."These storms show that we need additional capacity in America to be able to meet the needs of the American people," Bush said. He said he would ask Congress to look at expediting the ability of the country's refiners to expand or build new refineries.

He said alternative sources of energy needed to be developed, too. "That's why I believe so strongly in nuclear power," Bush said.

First, he talks about conservation but asks only that people "pitch in." He is unwilling to propose any serious government action to reduce oil use.

Second, he talks about environmental restrictions disliked by the energy industry. On this score, unlike the first, he is happy to propose government action.

Third, at the end of a discussion directed solely at oil use, he suggests that nuclear power is part of the answer, seemingly oblivious to the fact that nuclear power is a source of electricity, an industry that uses virtually no oil. Increased use of nuclear power would have no effect on oil consumption at all.

So there you have it. An instinctive aversion to using government power when it's opposed by the industry industry, even though conservation measures could have a big impact on oil use; an almost palpable eagerness to use any excuse to strip away environmental rules the energy industry dislikes; and a bland ignorance of basic energy policy that would embarrass a high school student.

This is the Bush administration in a nutshell.

UPDATE: And there's this from the Los Angeles Times:

Republican leaders in Congress announced plans to introduce new legislation or amend existing measures to bestow more tax breaks on the [energy] industry....it appeared the hurricanes may have provided the perfect political storm for industry-backed initiatives that didn't make it into the big energy bill approved earlier this year.

It's like watching pigs at a trough. Oink oink.

Kevin Drum 10:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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