Aug 06


Daniel Henninger writes in tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal:

With gasoline over $4 and with life as they love it in the suburbs being shut down, did people call for the windmills? Nope. A heavy majority want to drill the bejeezus out of anywhere in America we can find familiar black slop.

Fearful of an up-or-down vote on drilling for oil in, of all places, our own country, the Pelosi House and Harry Reid’s Senate shut down Congress. House Minority Leader John Boehner calls drilling the greatest issue Republicans have had in his political lifetime. A party flat on its back is ready to run on oil pumps.

Why stop there?

Republicans shouldn’t settle for making the world safe for SUVs. What’s going on here is about more than $4 gasoline.

When Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats spent a week holding the people’s chamber under house arrest, they made plain a political vulnerability beyond drilling. To achieve greenhouse gas goals in the out-years, they are willing to risk a slowdown now in the American economy. How else can you interpret what happened this week? These Democrats aren’t environmentalists. They’re enviromaniacs.

An environmentalist with two feet on the planet is someone who admits that fixing what economists call “externalities,” such as air pollution or climate effects, requires a balance between those goals and protecting the productive economy.

An enviromaniac is the sort of person who would say: “Breaking our oil addiction . . . will take nothing less than a complete transformation of our economy.” The complete transformation of our economy?

So said Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in his major energy statement this Monday. Though the speech had hedged bows to oil, coal and nuclear, it was overwhelmingly a Goreian jeremiad about “building” a new economy on a promise called renewables.

We can see shuttered factories open their doors to manufacturers that sell wind turbines and solar panels that will power our homes and our businesses,” he said. “We can watch as millions of new jobs with good pay and good benefits are created.” This will “meet our moral obligations to future generations.”

Whoa. “Millions” of new jobs building solar panels and wind turbines, and this is to “meet our moral obligations?”

Virtue aside, here’s the biggest problem with Sen. Obama and Democratic enviromania: It’s a risky roll of the dice with the U.S. economy.

The economy we’ve got works. We know that carbon makes the U.S. economy run like a Swiss watch (transportation, distribution, production, commuting). The bet between carbon inputs and growing American outputs is virtually 1:1.

Mr. Obama and his Democratic colleagues in Congress want a “complete transformation” of an already successful economy. Not partial. complete. Can any of them say what the odds are that all this economic activity, including the nation’s electrical grid, will work as well with their new fuels? Assuredly, growth’s odds aren’t as good as the ones we have now.



Democrats this week chose the prayer of alternative energy over proven prosperity. They’ve handed prosperity in the here-and-now to the Republicans. Run with it.

Henninger’s entire column here.

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