Bush’s rhetoric on renewables

Great words from the president, but where’s the action?

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Untitled Document Just before George W. Bush’s State of the Union speech in January, a top administration official gushed that the president would announce new policies for energy independence that “will knock your socks off.”
Well, my socks are still tightly attached. Bush basically mouthed the same words he’s used before: Stop America’s addiction to oil by investing more federal funds in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. Great words! But where’s the action? He said the same thing in his 2006 State of the Union homily, yet his subsequent budget actually called for less spending on efficiency, conservation, and renewables than was spent in 2001, the year he came into office. After six years of Mr. Knock-Your-Socks-Off, America is more addicted to oil than ever, and his actual energy policy (as opposed to his rhetorical policy) continues to be based on more oil consumption. Nonetheless, the day after his January speech, Bush zipped up to Wilmington, Del., for a photo op with DuPont scientists involved in biofuel development. He bragged that under his regime the federal government was using more alternative-fuel vehicles, adding that it was important for Washington to lead by example. More great words! But check George’s own example. To get to Wilmington — only 110 miles from Washington — did he show leadership by driving a hybrid biodiesel car? No, he flew on Air Force One! This massive plane guzzles totally nonrenewable jet fuel and gets less than one mile per gallon! When Bush touched down in Wilmington, was he greeted by a fleet of energy-efficient vehicles to haul him and his entourage to the photo-op to talk about renewables? No, his motorcade was made up of two dozen SUVs, vans, and limos — all gas-guzzlers. Now that knocks my socks off.

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, columnist, and author.

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