On energy, US Democratic presidential hopefuls are testing the limits of unruly utterance.
For many months, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York led what seems to be a contest in this area with her proposal to tax oil and gas so the government can spend $50 billion on alternative fuels (OGJ, Nov. 19, 2007, p. 17).
More recently, the two candidates who beat Clinton in the Iowa caucuses have been whipping her as well in energy demagoguery.
When the crude oil futures price topped $100/bbl during trading in New York Jan. 2, John Edwards called the event "another example of how corporate greed is squeezing the middle class."
He said the increase "shows the urgency of taking on the big oil companies so we can build a new energy economy and transition away from oil to other affordable sources of energy," which he didn't identify.
Tracking to the central theme of his populist campaign, Edwards declared, "It's time for us to rise up and take on the corporate greed that is taking over our democracy so we can leave a better America to our children."
In Iowa, Edwards won second place behind Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, who has his own strange energy voice.
"I'll be a president who harnesses the ingenuity of farmers and scientists and entrepreneurs to free this nation of the tyranny of oil once and for all," he said in his victory speech.
Apparently, Obama saw no contradiction between that promise and his assertion just moments earlier that "the time has come to tell the lobbyists who think their money and their influence speak louder than our voices that they don't own this government; we do, and we are here to take it back."
Let's connect the dots and fill in the missing word here: farmers, lobbyists, money...ethanol! No tyranny there, of course.
This is the candidate who wants the federal government to spend $150 billion over 10 years on "clean energy"—a sure way to run lobbyists out of town if ever there was one.
All for "our children," no doubt.
(Online Jan. 4, 2008; author's e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)