February 1st, 2006


The Republican on energy independence.

In his speech last night, Bush said that his goal for USoil dependence was to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025 with alternative fuel sources.

While this might sound good on the surface to some, it actually means very little. It makes no promises to reduce dependence on overseas oil imports at all. It doesn't even promise that we won't increase our overall imports of foriegn oil! Instead, it blames the problem on *ALL* Middle Eastern oil imports, which is a rather racist, xenophobic, and unfair argument to make. It's like saying that importing oil from Kuwait or Bahrain is the same thing as importing oil from Saddam's Iraq or from Iran -- it unfairly penalizes couuntries based on where they are located. Arguably, this is a clear violation of WTO agreements. It's also not expecting very much, frankly, as only about 15% of our oil comes from the Middle East.

The truth is, because we have a global economy, it doesn't matter where we buy our oil. So long as we are dependant on other nations for energy, we'll be increasing global demand and will be effectively putting money into the hands of our enemies anyway. Likewise, if foriegn nations decide to hold us hostage by cutting their exports, then the price we pay for our oil will be the same, no matter where we buy it from.

For this reason, the only good solution is to not need foriegn oil at all, or at least to greatly mimimize our need for it. But why isn't Bush speaking out against actually reducing our dependence on foriegn oil, and reducing our imports?

Well, if his attitude is anything like those of the Senate Republicans (and of the oil companies that help bankroll them...) expectations of real change regarding imports of foriegn oil will just be all talk, and no action.

In 2005, a year before Bush started talking about the US being "addicted to oil", Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)proposed an amendment to the energy bill which would've established a goal for the US to reduce imports of foreign oil by 40 percent over 20 years. When it went up for a vote, every single Democrat and Independent in Congress voted for it... but it was voted down by every single Republican, being defeated 53 to 47.

Don't believe me?! See for yourself. If I were the Democratic Party leadership, I would put this legislation up for a vote again this year, and run ads, shaming Republican Senators for their cowardice on this issue.

Energy independence isn't just a nice, green, eco-friendly talking point. It's a critical national security issue. It's a critical economic issue. The future of our nation depends upon our ability to survive in a post-oil society, and these senators have been treating the issue as if it's some kind of joke, and all that matters is corporate profits. It just goes to show where their loyalty and priorities really lie. Until we can shake their world, change their loyalty and priorities, and demand real solutions, we're just asking for this kind of treatment.