The Energy Bill: The Death of Small Government Conservatives

“Pelosi: ‘This is a choice between yesterday and tomorrow’: Energy bill promises to change how we live” Headline from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday, December 19th.

I don’t know about you but I’ve had about enough of government changing the way I live.  From the moment I get up in the morning, until I go to sleep at night, the government is in my life and now they want to tell me what kind of light bulbs to use and what kind of car to drive and what kind of fuel to use.  

To make it worse, the candidates on both sides, except for Fred Thompson, have rolled over to the church of Global Warming and that’s in this bill, too. I interviewed Sen. Johnny Isakson regarding the Global Warming mantra in the energy bill.  He said, “It depends on whether you mean global warming as science or as politics.” Many conservatives, including me, have a knee-jerk reaction to the words, global warming and when you couple that with the words, energy bill — it makes us shudder.

The problem is that it’s not a level playing field.  The left says we want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil but you can’t use coal or new coal technologies, you can’t use “nucular” power and you can’t leave a bigger “carbon footprint,” whatever that is.  Put a call into Al Gore for clarification, please.  This is America; if the government gets out of the way we can do anything.

It’s understandable that in the fields of renewable energy, whether it’s ethanol or something else, there’s plenty of money for the second research phase after there has been a successful first research phase.  Rarely do investors want to be first.  There’s just too much risk in being first.  Especially, when you have to risk the government shutting down perfectly good and clean energy alternatives.

One of the saddest stories to date is the development of clean coal oil technologies and where and why they can’t be used.  The Southern Company and Orlando Electric entered into a partnership to build a liquid coal plant to generate clean coal for electricity in Florida. Governor Crist has told the parties not to even apply for a permit because Florida is not granting anything for coal.  So we can’t use a resource, coal, that we have an infinite amount of with the newest and clearest technology and we can’t use nuclear power.  How are we going to win this battle? The answer it without the free market we won’t win.

The problem with the Energy bill is not necessarily the bill.  It is Republicans that don’t know how to act like Republicans.  To support a bill for the President to sign that does not further clean coal and nuclear energy is like supporting a bill to fund the troops with everything but guns in it.  It’s not the full picture.

It was a sight, Nancy Pelosi in her Nancy Reagan red suit smiling with the President as he signed the energy bill.  Another example along with Campaign Finance Reform, The Agriculture Bill of 2002, No Child Left Behind, The Prescription Drug Bill, the Highway Bill…the list goes on…of the President signing into law bills that he knows not only go against the Constitution and Republican principles.

There are some bright spots in the bill, there were “no new taxes” in this bill but there was a great deal of pork.  There was some progress made to move the debate on nuclear energy where we may open our first nuclear reactor in 30 years. It will have to be debated in its own bill, but the groundwork was laid in this bill.  

I will never understand why on September 12, 2001, the President didn’t shut down the borders until we figured out what happened and we began drilling everywhere we could for oil, including my back yard, to offset Mideast oil.  We are funding the terror against us by our continued dependence on oil.  For now, though, oil is the lubricant for our economy. We have had more than 6 years to solve this problem — about as much time as we figured out how to get to the moon.  

The bill that the President signed yesterday with Nancy Pelosi smiling behind him is not the “one small step for man” that we needed to get this done.  Wake up! America and get the obstacles out of the way for a cohesive energy policy that works for America and sets the stage for all the other domestic reforms we need to make.  Let energy policy light the way for a domestic resurgence in answers for the new millennium.