Sunday, September 23, 2012

An issue for Romney to run on. We need an America first energy policy

One of my major concerns with Romney, then and now, is that he's running as generic campaign when it comes to messaging. Generic only wins on the presidential level when the other candidate blows it more than you did. Bush in 2000 got lucky that Gore was an arrogant jerk. In 04, Bush had a record, and John Kerry was frankly a traitor (when he accused American soldiers of being war criminals) when he got back from Nam. On paper, Bush probably would have lost that year against most opponents. Kerry was the least electable. Obama in 08 had not only the media in the tank for him, but had Bush fatigue and McCain as an opponent. 

You usually can't beat crap with generic. "The other guy sucks" will get you only so much of the vote. Romney's problem is that he isn't trusted (he should have coasted in the primary on paper), and really for good reason. He's not trusted.  Romney actually has good organization, and a good ground game. However, he needs to take risks with the message and go to specifics. Repealing Obamacare is one issue, and changing due to the economy is part of it as well. He needs to stop being generic and come forward with a plan. People don't have to like him, but one thing Romney can sell is competence.

"This is my plan. I fixed the Olympics. I fixed companies. I fixed Massachusetts. This is HOW I'm going to fix the economy."  How can we get America working again? Energy. Besides energy jobs themselves, they can reduce costs for energy for individuals and other companies.

I've seen Romney hint at this, but never fully got out into detail. One area that is booming is North Dakota with the energy jobs. REAL energy jobs, not snake oil green jobs. Solar can work in Arizona, but have of the time here the sun isn't even out. Wind is variable and even in windy areas, some of their biggest supporters want lots of windmills, but not on their property. 

There are three major problems, both from an economical and national security background with our energy policy.


1. A large amount of our oil imports are from counties that don't like us very much. Saudi Arabia. Venezuelan government. There are also a lot of unknowns with the unrest in the Middle East. Are the new bosses the same as the old bosses? Are they worse from an American standpoint? I don't know. We HAVE energy here. Oil. Shale. Natural Gas. Coal. Nuclear. Wood. The last thing from a national security standpoint, is to put it bluntly, have countries that don't like us have us by the nuts. Leverage is important, and another reason why we shouldn't be raising the debt ceiling, nor continuing to borrow and spend like Obama and to a lesser extent, Bush (and nobody has come close to these two), have done. Don't let potential adversaries have leverage that can be used to control our decisions.

2. Exporting energy. Why are we exporting our energy that we need . I know about comparative advantage economics, but I'm speaking from a security standpoint. Exporting excess energy that we don't need is fine, but exporting what we need is crazy, "World price" or not.

3. Radical Greens and Government restrictions. I consider myself a conservationist. I am not an environmentalist. However, when government is in the way to the extent that it keeps people out of work outside of the snake oil of government's buddies that gets sweetheart deals, we have a problem. I have little time to be worried about global warming and carbon dioxide (which we breath out) when our economy is in the crapper. Global warming may be real and may be bad. Energy shortages and their economic and security effects ARE real and ARE bad.  ANWR needs to be the decision of Alaskans, not the San Francisco Bay Area.

While rich so called progressives in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Seattle, and the university towns aren't affected by this and can afford setbacks, most of the rest of the country is affected, and can't afford the energy price increases and setbacks easily. 

Here's some unforced errors caused by our government. From Reuters

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Call it the Keystone of coal: a regulatory and public relations battle between environmentalists and U.S. coal miners akin to the one that has defined the Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline.
Instead of blocking an import, however, this fight is over whether to allow a growing surplus of coal to be exported to Asia, a decision that would throw miners a lifeline by effectively offshoring carbon emissions and potentially give China access to cheaper coal.
Having long ago lost their bid to prevent the extraction of fossil fuels, environmental groups aim to close transport routes that bring those carbon fuels to market, pulling local and state politicians into the fight alongside regulators.
Mining interests won a battle last week when the Army Corps of Engineers called for a quick study of plans to open the first coal port on the west coast at Oregon's Port of Morrow on the Columbia River, a review that will weigh impacts of hauling coal, not burning it.
Coal port skeptics say the ruling is ripe for challenge in the courts and they foresee a drawn-out fight over the review.
"I'm afraid that by choosing to perform a less stringent analysis today, the Corps will ultimately create a longer delay," Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said in a statement. Wyden, who is due to lead the Energy and Natural Resources Committee if Democrats hold the Senate, has said he supports a full review of the project and is reserving judgment until it is completed.
Delay is something miners can ill afford.
Alpha Natural Resources Inc, one of the country's largest coal producers, said last week it is cutting 1,200 jobs, roughly 9 percent of its workforce, as increased use of natural gas for power generation dents demand.
While coal foes in the Pacific Northwest can stymie the projects, the federal government will have the final say.
If President Barack Obama wins a second term, the issue will likely test his determination to curb the use of fossil fuels blamed for climate change, especially since his policies are partly behind miners' yearnings for Asian markets.
Tough new Environmental Protection Agency limits on power plant emissions are often blamed, along with low natural gas prices, for the drop in domestic coal use, but burning the black rock in Asia will have the same impact on the atmosphere.
No matter who wins the election, the intensifying fight ahead over coal ports is raising Keystone-like questions about energy priorities in a time when traditional fuels are still abundant.

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These regulations are hurting us here at home with the rising energy costs. That's why there's export pushes in the first place. However, China certainly understands leverage and doesn't have the same paranoia among its elites as the chattering classes here do with the cult of global warming.

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Analysts say Powder River Basin coal must cheaply reach Asia in the coming years to catch the strong demand in China, the world's No. 2 economy, and the rest of the region.
"The United States has no unique advantage in meeting the Asia coal hunger, and that demand will not exist forever," said Ailun Yang, a researcher with the World Resources Institute.

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Of course not. They want to buy time before they get to their own resources. China likes having the leverage (like our debt), not getting leverage against them.

As much as I'd like to pin the blame of this all on Obama, I can't. It started with Nixon and the congress from 1970.
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In a courtroom the fight could center on a reading of the National Environmental Policy Act from 1970, which requires federal agencies to study "all major federal actions that significantly affect the quality of the human environment."
Courts now expect climate-change consequences to be weighed under NEPA, so the question is how much Obama or his successor wants to consider the external costs associated with developing and burning coal, says Mark Squillace, who leads the natural resources law center at the University of Colorado.
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Laws are written too broadly and do not account for unintended consequences. Global Warming didn't become an issue at all until the 90's.  This law was back in the Nixon era. It did not consider the cult of global warming, but real pollution, but laws like that leave an opening.  

Government is in the way, again, of self-sufficiency. Government needs to stop costing jobs with regulations and get out of the way. 



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