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Ed Driscoll

Obamaschizophrenia

June 25th, 2013 - 2:18 pm

Barack Obama in 2008: “Under my plan, When I was asked earlier about the issue of coal…under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

Barack Obama in 2012: “Do you think that the president of the United States going into a reelection wants the prices on [energy] to go higher? Is there anybody here that thinks that makes a lot of sense?”

Barack Obama in 2013: Under my plan, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket:

But the move to impose greenhouse gas limits on existing plants — which account for a third of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and 40 percent of its carbon emissions — will raise consumers’ electricity prices in the short term as utilities are forced to shutter aging coal plants to comply with stricter pollution limits.

According to the Edison Electric Institute, a utility trade group, there are 1,142 coal-fired utilities in the United States and 3,967 natural-gas-fired plants, all of which would face new carbon limits under Obama’s proposal. Last year they accounted for nearly 68 percent of all electricity production, according to EEI, compared with nuclear and hydropower utilities, which made up 19 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively. All renewables combined amounted to 5.4percent of electricity generation in 2012.

Yesterday, Jim Treacher spotted a HuffPo writer having a Sputnik Moment:

Let’s see if you’re smart enough to follow this argument from Russ Blinch, writing at HuffPo:

Is the United States facing another Sputnik moment and will it rise to the challenge?

In 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the world’s first earth orbiting satellite, touching off a tsunami of concerns that the Communists were winning the space race. But the United States pulled together as a nation with big investments in its future that eventually sparked technological advances, including the Internet.

President Barack Obama is set to announce new measures on Tuesday to battle climate change in what many are hoping will be a big, broad plan that will stand as his legacy for his final years in office…

Obama will no doubt outline how the planet is in crisis from global warming, which it is. But he also needs to sell Americans on how tough new standards for carbon polluters can lead to innovation in the broader economy. And in his Sputnik moment, he needs to say the United States risks falling behind its modern-day competitor, China, if it does not act.

Blinch, please. There’s one big difference between the space race and the global-warming race:

Space exists.

It’s not a computer model. We’ve been there. We’ve seen it. That’s settled science.

Didn’t Obama already have a few Sputnik moments already in his time in office? Why yes he did, courtesy of his frequent speechwriter and golf partner Thomas Friedman. Or as James Taranto wrote in 2011:

Remember in 1957, when President Eisenhower said, “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment”?

Of course you don’t, even if you are old enough. Ike never said anything of the sort, nor did he need to. When you’re actually in such a “moment,” you don’t have to announce it.

So of course President Obama was talking nonsense when he said, in his State of the Union Address last night, that “this is our generation’s Sputnik moment.” He was merely trying to make his calls for pouring tax money down the drain of “renewable energy” and “high-speed rail” sound like inspiring ambitions rather than boondoggles.

(On high-speed rail, by the way, the president promised: “For some trips, it will be faster than flying–without the pat-down.” At the risk of overestimating the competence of the federal bureaucracy, could it be that the Transportation Security Administration insists on touching everyone’s junk because the president wants us to get excited about trains?)

“Sputnik moment,” however, sounded to us not just false but clichéd. And in fact, it turned out the president himself had trotted out the “our generation’s Sputnik moment” line before, at a Dec. 6, 2010, speech in North Carolina. But we doubted it originated in the White House speechwriting shop. It sounded like the work of a far, far worse writer. Sure enough, our suspicions were confirmed by a book review in the Sept. 9, 2008, edition of the New York Times: “Thomas L. Friedman’s latest book is a plea for a new Sputnik moment.”

Friedman, it turns out, has been beating the Sputnik drum since the Clinton years:

Read on for just a few examples of Friedman’s Sputnik sputterings over the years.

Of course, “the Sputnik moment” cliche when not specifically tied to new forms of enemy missiles being deployed is merely the latest example of the left’s moral equivalent of war cliche, which radical environmentalism is but one example.

An example previously deployed by Jimmy Carter alas, but then, isn’t everything about BHO a repeat of the Carter era? Back in 1977, libertarian economist Murray Rothbard wrote:

As the draftsman of his route to power, Jimmy Carter found the ideal candidate as his energy czar — the very man who supplied him with the phrase “the moral equivalent of war” — former Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, a Republican and liberal conservative beloved by the new rightist coalition for his pro-interventionist foreign policy. That this veteran symbol of the military-intellectual complex was all too ready is seen in Schlesinger’s interview with a fawning Time magazine, in one of Carter’s numerous public-relations devices to soften up and prepare the American people. Schlesinger, not unhappily, declared that America faces “constraint, curtailment.” Schlesinger added, in the veteran tones of the tyrant, “That is uncomfortable. Everybody will have to make some kind of sacrifice.”

Most revealingly, Time added,

But even more than that, Schlesinger views the energy crisis as a blessing in disguise, a beneficial testing of the nation’s spirit and ability to cope. In his estimation, the crisis, if handled properly, will provide the opportunity for the American people to recapture the old virtues of sacrifice and a sense of shared destiny. (Time, April 25)

In short, we are to obey their orders, and we are to sacrifice — to them. For, make no mistake: despite the collectivist rhetoric of “we,” we can rest assured that Carter, Schlesinger, and the rest are not going to do any of the “sacrificing”; that’s the job of the rest of us, while they applaud our willingness to suffer. Of course, the one problem that Carter & Company may have is that many of us don’t like to make sacrifices; and so there must also come the warning that we must forget our petty, narrow, individual “selfish” interests in the rush to the common good.

Which brings us back to Mr. Obama:

And not just from Air Force One:

President Barack Obama’s trip to Africa is estimated to cost American taxpayers $100 million – a hefty travel expense that has sparked criticism as the federal government is dealing with its sequester-related budget cuts.

The president is traveling to sub-Sahara Africa with his family from June 26 to July 3. The Obamas will be accompanied by hundreds of Secret Service agents and staff, which stack up transportation and accommodation costs. Military cargo planes will bring 56 vehicles including 14 limousines and three trucks loaded with bulletproof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the Obamas will stay. Fighter jets will fly in the air space above the first family to provide round the clock protection.

“For the cost of this trip to Africa, you could have 1,350 weeks of White House tours,” Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.) said on the House floor last week. “It is no secret that we need to rein in government spending, and the Obama administration has regularly and repeatedly shown a lack of judgment for when and where to make cuts… The American people have had enough of the frivolous and careless spending.”

Holding reminded lawmakers of the $16 trillion debt the US carries on its shoulders, and scrutinized the administration work spending an estimated $100 million on a weeklong visit. Holding said that while it is important to have security for the first family, the costs for this particular trip are “excessive”.

“The numbers don’t lie: either the administration is bad at math, or they simply don’t see a problem with their excessive spending,” he added.

Sacrifices are for the little people. Even during this week’s latest Sputnik moment.

Update: Victor Davis Hanson adds Obama’s destructive anti-energy policies to his defenestrated foreign policy and his antiquated socialist healthcare policies and concludes, “Next year could be a frightening one, in the fashion of 1979–80….We are back to the future, with the same old, same old sort of Carteresque engineered malaise.”

But then, as Glenn Reynolds warned throughout Obama’s first term, “at this point a Carter rerun is a best-case scenario.”

Flashback: Breaking down the “Carbon Footprint of Michelle Obama’s June 2011 Africa Trip.”

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