Thursday, February 02, 2006

Addicted to Oil

President Bush's State of the Union speech might well be remembered for his phrase that "America is addicted to oil". The rest of it, apart perhaps from a call on Iranians to get rid of their "small clerical elite", was a reiteration of the themes on which his presidency stands or falls. He gave not an inch on Iraq nor on his intention to "act boldly in freedom's cause" (nor on his wiretapping without warrants). One would expect that. They are the bedrock of his policy.
On all those policies, especially the foreign ones, he was defiant if at times somewhat defensive. His rallying call on Iraq, for example, was to say: "Fellow citizens, we are in this fight to win and we are winning." This, three years after war was first waged...

Some may say that his section on energy indicates that he is having to respond to the green lobby, which has been growing fast at a local and state level in the United States. I think that he might be only reacting to higher energy prices... It is worth noting, for instance, that he put energy in its place. He mentioned the need to detox from oil only as the sixth on a list of seven measures the United States had to take to stay "competitive." The preceding five were "keeping our economy growing", being "good stewards of tax dollars", opening "more markets for all that Americans make and grow", sorting out an "immigration system" and providing "affordable health care". The seventh was a plan to improve science and technology education... And he did not even mention climate change as the overriding concern behind energy policies!

If he has gone green, as some have been claiming, it is perhaps a lighter shade of green...


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