Tell Me Now That Carter Was A Bad President

Please read this article about Carter’s 1977 speech and tell me now that Carter was bad for the country and Reagan was good. Go ahead. Tell me now which of those two presidents had the right long term plan for this country. Tell me how much worse off we would have been had we continued with Carter’s energy plan. Tell me that this speech of Carter’s didn’t detail a large chunk of the events that have now come to pass as a result of not following his plan.

Do you think that we would have the need to take over Iraq as the United States National Petroleum Park?
Do you think we would have been chanting “Drill Baby Drill”?
Do you think that maybe, just maybe, a significantly reduced demand for oil would have left today’s oil-rich nations in an economic state where they would be less able to fund terrorism?
Do you think that perhaps they would have been less angry at the U.S. and less likely to commit the attrocity of 9/11?

The first two points seem obvious. The last two are, of course, highly speculative. However, had the U.S. taken the lead in renewable energy from 1977 forward, it seems obvious, at least to me, that the technology would be far beyond where it is today. The technology would be providing a major portion of the world’s energy. The U.S. would have had a strong economy based on selling renewable energy around the world instead of a weak one based on importing an ever increasing percentage of a limited resource. As a direct result of all the renewable energy that does not now but would have existed in this alternate universe, the price of oil would be very low indeed. There would just not be much demand for it.

Certainly we would not have the psychotic level of demand we have today, of which, 25% of the world’s demand is ours here in the U.S. When I say psychotic, I really mean it too. Our view of the world and of energy are a true split with the reality of the limited resource and of global climate.

So, as election day draws near, please consider whether we want to continue to “Drill Baby Drill” our way into the oblivion of extinction taking many beautiful species with us or whether we want to at least try something new. Perhaps, just perhaps, we should finally try some of this newfangled renewable energy. And, perhaps, just perhaps, we will stave off the worst effects of global warming, energy insecurity, and our economic crisis all at once.

See, not only would renewable energy give us a stable source of energy, which is a lot more important than energy independence, it would create a whole new industry here in the U.S. We could have a renewable energy boom similar to the internet boom of the 90s. This would stimulate our economy now and provide stable, clean energy for tomorrow, a tomorrow that may otherwise not be there at all for our species.

Vote for clean energy. Vote Obama.

(Don’t love Obama? He wasn’t my first choice either. He is by far the best choice available now. Drill Baby Drill is not the answer to any of our problems, short term or long term.)

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4 Responses to Tell Me Now That Carter Was A Bad President

  1. greenola says:

    The “Drill Baby Drill” stuff made me want to vomit. When I saw all those McCain supporters chanting like that at their convention I was totally blown away. Sure drilling could potentially lower gas prices at the pump, but that is the least of our worries. Want to save a buck on gas? Ride a bike.

    Not only was Carter an advocate for the environment, but always much better president than Reagan. I don’t get the whole “my heart has a boner for Reagan” business. Come on conservatives, that’s all you got? Please.

    Conduct a Phased Withdrawal on Catastrophic Climate Change > http://www.greengroove.org

  2. Thanks Greenola. I’ve already surpassed these steps by quite a bit. I always reuse towels, have power strips for TV/DVD/Stereo as well as for cable modem and wifi. I always turn off what is not in use. I’ve also replaced all light bulbs with CFLs. The only one I don’t do is hang laundry to dry. That would be hard in a Manhattan apartment. For extra credit though, I:

    * take Navy showers (turn off water while lathering)
    * wash all laundry in cold water and only with full loads
    * do not use heated dry on the dish washer
    * Specific for apartment style heating/air conditioning units: have unplugged the fan to get heat only by convection (which does leave us a bit cool in winter, but that’s what fleece is for)
    * purchase carbon offsets for driving and flying
    * almost never turn on the air conditioner, unless company is over
    * use daylight instead of electric light whenever possible
    * avoid bottled water
    * carry canvas bags to the grocery store

    I may remember more later.

  3. Bman says:

    Well to answer your first questions “Tell me now that Carter was a bad president?” Well yes he was a bad president because of his inability to implement effective economic policy, his missteps in foreign policy and his inability to even implement his desire for a comprehensive energy policy. I will agree he gave a good talk and even had good intentions. But as the old saying goes “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I don’t want to descredit his impact on the renewable energy sector but Reagan, Bush Sr and even the caveman Bush Jr oversaw more renewable energy expansion during their time at the helm than Carter and Clinton did. United States geothermal, solar, wind, wood and waste energy production in 1980 was 5.51b(billion) Kwh. By 1992 that number was at 77.49b Kwh or an increase of 1180%. A pretty notable increase during the terms of Reagan and Bush Sr. During Clintons term at the helm the country continued to expand its renewable production but at a much slower pace. By 2000 annual electrical production from renewable sources was only at 85.70b Kwh or an increase of only 11%. During the cavemans reign of terror (Bush Jr), by 2006 the US production of renewable energy had grown again to 110.40b Kwh or an increase of 29% during his first 6 years in office. (source http://www.eia.doe.gov/iea/wep.html) Unfortunately the data only goes back to 1980 and only up to 2006. So to sum this up Carter could give a good heart warming speech, which was followed up by a lot of nothing. Clinton also was a lot of show and no go, as wierd as this may sound but the Republicans have actually “done” more for renewables than either Carter or Clinton. This would appear to be the signs of a complete energy strategy slowly moving us toward energy sustainability. I would agree that it has not been fast enough. However it may have been if we continued at the rate of increased production seen during Reagan/Bush Sr’s time in office.

  4. Bman,

    To say that a technology improved during the 30 years after Carter and that it’s use has increased as a result does not in any way credit Reagan, Papa Bush, Clinton, or Baby Bush with actually doing anything to make it happen.

    Sorry.

    Carter recognized a need and attempted to plan for it. Reagan, Papa, Clinton, and Baby did little to further the cause. In fact, one of Reagan’s first acts as president was to actively remove the solar panels that had already been installed on the White House. What an ass!!

    From then on, they all encouraged more and more use of foreign oil and all other forms of energy over any attempts at conservation. Even after 9/11, rather than really strike a blow at terrorists by hitting them in the wallet and reducing oil use, we simply went to war to gain a piece of the middle east oil reserves for ourselves.

    Sorry. You will not convince me that anything good happened as a result of Reagan, Papa Bush, or Baby Bush implementing a sane energy policy. They didn’t. They got us into the mess we’re in today.

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