Deconstructing Gary Bauer

Gary Bauer was among the first Conservatives to pen a formal response to President Obama’s address to the nation on energy. His press release was typical talking point recitation, and so makes a perfect subject for a classical preparation; the deconstruction. His post begins with a quote comparing President Obama to Don Quixote:

Obama is tilting at the proverbial windmill with his energy policy, pretending that the United States can just decide to use hot-air power and ignoring the energy needs of our nation.

I am often amused when American exceptionalists like Bauer, people who take great offense when the President indicates that our nation is not perfect, are able to so quickly condemn our nation to mediocrity. I was raised with the belief that the United States can do, well, pretty much anything it has the will to. On the subject of clean energy, it is easy to show that Gary Bauer’s only proof for his assertions in this release, is in fact Gary Bauer’s imagination.

The United States will be dependent on carbon-based fuels during the lifetime of all who might have been listening to Barack Obama this evening….

To pretend that wind or solar energy can replace oil is to ignore the millions of dollars and many years of research that have proven that these two sources of energy are likely to provide an insignificant percentage of our overall energy needs for decades to come.  It is disingenuous to assert otherwise.

The United States will be dependent on carbon-based fuels during the lifetime of those watching, only if those watching decide it will be. There is simply no economic or scientific reason why we would be unable to make the change. Even excluding those silly notions like climate change from the calculus, the world will run short of oil in the lifetime of our great-grandchildren. Our grid will have to change, and I can guarantee that it will be cheaper now than later. Given this, it is not immediately apparent that “visionaries” like Gary Bauer care for the future of our nation at all.

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I am especially amused by the next nugget Mr. Bauer alludes to; the millions of dollars and years spent on research that “have proven” wind and solar are “likely to provide an insignificant percentage” of our needs. First, that someone (read: David Koch, the Board of ExxonMobil and others) has spent millions to prove that clean energy won’t help is absurd beyond description. Would that money not have found more utility had the donors invested in something like say, the myth of clean coal? Moving on, when you say that something “probably” won’t work, using disingenuous to describe an advocate of that something is, well, disingenuous. Also, do you suppose that Gary would care to elaborate on “decades to come”? Is it “in the lifetime of anyone watching”, or decades to come? Are decades to come ten decades, or three decades?

Being specific about these details isn’t important to someone who is pro-business like Gary; because Gary doesn’t have the first clue how to run a business. Being technically sound isn’t important to someone like Gary, because Gary thinks that science is something to be gamed. In fact, wind and solar could provide at least 30% of the United States electric demand within 20 years; with the conversion bringing may thousands of jobs to our nation. That my friends, is the low end estimate, and it scares the heck out of coal loving scoundrels like Bauer. Wind and Solar provide less than 1% of our power today, where coal provides 52%; you can see where the fear comes from.

The irony of the BP oil leak in the Gulf is that we are drilling three-miles under the surface…

Well, maybe I am being a nitpick, but if you are going to go on to criticize President Obama’s “executive inexperience”, you might want to make sure that your lackeys get their facts straight (or at least some of them). The leak is at a depth of 1600 meters, which is just about one mile deep.

His energy policies led to drilling in a dangerous location, and his sluggish response to the accident led to a massive disaster zone.

Amazingly, this man calls himself a Christian, yet has no trouble bearing false witness. The Deepwater Horizon was delivered in 2001, and spent George W. Bush’s two terms setting records for deep water oil exploration. Republicans, as is their norm for the past 18 months, having been turning themselves inside out trying to attack President Obama. The G.O.P., led by Dick Cheney, attacked the Obama Administration for drilling policies using the false claim of Chinese drilling in deep water between Florida and Cuba. To further the theme, the President had been under attack by liberals angry that he opened up huge stretches to off-shore drilling just weeks before the disaster.

On another note, what response does Gary presume would have changed the scope of the disaster? Would not B.P., who covered up the leak itself for several days and then the scope of the leak for weeks, not bear some culpability in the response? Gary Bauer is one of those individuals who has fought for years to push the federal government out of business. Now, in the dawn after the three most devastating market failures in history (The Big Crash, The Big Coal Explosion, and The Big Spill), Gary is in a rush to demand brisk government solutions to a free market problem. Bauer represents those conservatives that never learned the lessons of his teenage years; when the kid uses all of the gas, its not Dad’s job to fill the tank.

But his answer is to further hamstring proven energy sources, like nuclear…

So the funding for the first nuclear power plant in three decades (20 of those 30 years featuring Republican presidents), is hamstringing nuclear power? The last two sentences of the piece are typical Grover Norquist talking points: “Blah, blah, blah, taxes…blah, blah, blah.”

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Republicans have been lowering job-killing taxes for thirty years now, and the good jobs have all left. Republicans have been saving us from evil domestic spending, and our good infrastructure is now in decay. Republicans are trying to save us from clean energy now. Around the turn of the century (19th to 20th that is), America jumped to the head of the class in transportation and power. We started a century long binge of road-building, river-controlling, and electrifying that led our nation to the top of the world’s heap.

Now Republicans are trying to save us from being the best…I guess they just want the Chinese to own the 21st Century. Thank God they have Gary Bauer to help them on their quest.

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