Sunday, August 10, 2008


Isn't it going to be interesting to see where this whole presidential tire fiasco will go? Barack Obama says inflate your tires to reduce oil consumption; John McCain mocks him for this stance, then John McCain capitulates, saying that AAA and NASCAR both recognize proper tire inflation is an important component of maintaining the fuel economy of an automobile; then Barack Obama capitulates saying that raping the earth drilling for yet more oil is the answer to the US' energy consumption.

You have to admit, that's a helluva bipartisan compromise -- a major figure on the Democratic ticket and a major figure on the Republican ticket both admitting they were wrong and the other was right, on the same damn issue at the same damn time. Maybe Ahnuld's post-partisan politics is actually taking root.

What I really find interesting about that little policy rally is how inane the recanting of *both* claims are.

John McCain really does deserve all the flack he gets for this, and I hope there's no shortage of it. He chose to attack the most completely sensible, effortless, cost-free*, benefit-heavy suggestion anyone has ever made about fuel consumption and mocked it. He deserves to have this point raised time and time again "John McCain thinks there's nothing you should do to help the energy crunch. John McCain would just rather see the oil companies get all the profits they can. Not only is he in favor of public policy that supports ongoing record windfall profits for oil companies, he actively discouraged YOU from doing anything about it."

As a raging liberal, let me point out that my solutions to the energy crunch involve driving less, using less, massively funding public transit initiatives, and tying highway development (not maintenance) funding to be proportional with funding for mass transit development. To use a strict-parent metaphor, if you want dessert (more and wider highways for your car), then you better eat your broccoli (funding non-personal-automobile solutions so they become viable sooner rather than later, and so you grow tall and healthy).

But Barack Obama didn't suggest any of that hippie shit. He just pointed out a simple, empirical fact: Y'all check your air pressure today, and we can start saving as much oil daily as what the big-business corporate welfare whoring of the coast would do. And it can happen at no cost to you, and it can happen today, not decades from now. He didn't suggest that you take such a radical, liberal douchebag step as driving slower or not at all, taking the bus instead of driving to work, or offering to carpool with a coworker in the neighborhood. All he suggested was that people take advantage of an easy, free option with no impact to lifestyle at all and stop funding terrorist nations through their oil sales.

Jesus, what a screwball. Totally not ready to lead.

And then there's that whole bit about how he says we DO need to drill for oil in wildlife reserves. I would just like to know what the hell good he thinks that's going to do. Even if he's not all about supply-side economics, there cannot be any doubt that the current gas situation with $100+ fill-ups has put intense pressures on the market to allow us to avail ourselves of solutions that involve *using* less oil and involve getting off oil completely in many situations. "Fixing" this issue on the supply side removes some of these great new market incentives we have to not just get rid of our dependence on FOREIGN oil as McCain would have us do, but get rid of our dependence on oil entirely, in favor of better, cleaner, ideally renewable sources of energy.

I thought Barack Obama might want that, too, but given this latest round of talking to pundits and polls instead of real people, I'm not so sure.

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