The fix that never dies

    In a speech yesterday, President Obama lamented America’s foreign oil addiction and made a fresh pitch for energy independence. When he was finished, I couldn’t help but recall these key excerpts:”Why have we not been able to get together as a nation to resolve our serious energy problem?….What you see too often in Washington and elsewhere around the country is a system of government that seems incapable of action. You see a Congress twisted and pulled in every direction by hundreds of well-financed and powerful special interests. You see every extreme position defended to the last vote, almost to the last breath by one unyielding group or another….Often you see paralysis and stagnation and drift….”Our excessive dependence on (foreign oil) has already taken a tremendous toll on our economy and our people….This intolerable dependence on foreign oil threatens our economic independence and the very security of our nation….It is a clear and present danger to our nation. These are facts and we simply must face them….”The generation-long growth in our dependence on foreign oil will be stopped dead in its tracks right now and then reversed…We must face the truth, then we can change our course….”On the battlefield of energy, we can win for our nation a new confidence, and we can seize control again of our common destiny….You know we can do it…I firmly believe that we have the national will to win….I do not promise you that this struggle for freedom will be easy. I do not promise a quick way out of our nation’s problems, when the truth is that the only way out is an all-out effort….I have seen the strength of America in the inexhaustible resources of our people. In the days to come, let us renew that strength in the struggle for an energy-secure nation.”Actually, that’s not Obama talking. I plucked all those passages from an energy speech delivered by President Jimmy Carter – on July 15, 1979.Obama had a lot to say in his Georgetown University speech, but all he did was remind me that America has barely moved the needle in 32 years. Carter talked in ’79 about the urgent need to cut our foreign oil dependence by four and a half million barrels a day – and Obama talked yesterday about the urgent need to cut our foreign oil fix by three to four million barrels a day. Carter called for an “energy-secure nation” – and Obama said that curing our foreign oil fix is “the only way for America’s energy supply to be truly secure.” Carter was optimistic that the fix could be cured; after all, “we ourselves are the same Americans who just 10 years ago put a man on the moon” – and Obama says the fix can be cured thanks to our “unbridled optimism,” the same spirit that enabled a previous generation “to touch the moon.”And Carter wasn’t even the first president to bemoan our lazy, addictive gluttony. Richard Nixon brought it up in the early ’70s, and he couldn’t rouse America, either. As Obama pointedly admitted yesterday, “We’ve been down this road before.”Or, as the French would say, plus ca change, plus ca meme chose.

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    Donald Trump (see yesterday’s post) is merely newest denizen of nuttyworld. Propective presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, who has dwelled there for years, keeps insisting that Big Brother is coming to take away our light bulbs. I looked at that dim-bulb issue in my newspaper column today.

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