The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Although I have criticized her positions on a number of occasions, Speaker Nancy Pelosi got it exactly right this week when she muscled an important energy bill past Democratic energy committee chair John Dingell and a host of republican opponents. David Roberts provides a summary:
On Thursday, just over a year after winning the majority, Democrats in the House of Representatives voted through an energy bill that represents a stark departure from the administration's approach. It would raise vehicle fuel efficiency [Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE)] standards for the first time in over 30 years, by 40%, to 35 miles per gallon for both cars and light trucks and SUVs. A renewable energy standard mandates that utilities generate 15% of their power from renewables by 2020. It would set a renewable fuel standard aiming to generate 36 billion gallons of ethanol a year by 2022. A tax package would roll back some $13.5bn in oil industry subsidies and tax breaks to help pay for $21bn worth of investments in clean energy development, mainly in the form of investment tax credits for wind and solar, along with the development and purchase of plug-in hybrid vehicles. And it would raise efficiency standards for appliances and buildings.

In my view the bill is a good first step along the road toward energy independence, but only a good first step. Much, much more needs to be done -- right now! But even this bill will be opposed by many Republicans in the Senate. In addition, President Bush, in what can only be described as an act of shortsightedness that borders on abject stupidity, has promised to veto it. For a man that claims to be concerned about national security, his veto would be the height of hypocrisy.

As I have written many times in this blog, our country’s failure (over both 30 plus years of Democratic and Republican administrations and majorities) to achieve energy independence is the greatest political failure in my lifetime. It represents the politics of entrenched special interests that work against the best interests of our country. It reflects political cowardice and a public that refuses to demand better. It suggests that we are unwilled to accept short term pain to achieve long term health. It is, to be blunt, disgusting.

It’s possible that Nancy Pelosi’s actions on CAFE just might be a harbinger of a new direction. Time will tell.