Obama's Energy Speech: Smart Politics, Lousy Plan

Early reaction finds little to get excited about
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2011 1:56 PM CDT
President Obama Energy Speech: Bloggers and Left and Right Say It's a Lousy Plan
President Obama speaks on energy policy at Georgetown University.   (Getty Images)

President Obama laid out his energy plan for America, with the headline-grabbing line that he intends to cut oil imports by a third in about a decade. Read the full text here. A quick survey of bloggers of all stripes finds them underwhelmed, in part because they don't see much hope of the president winning congressional approval on key parts:

  • Ezra Klein, Washington Post: It's "not a very good plan," with the first part focusing on expanding domestic production of oil, "the very fuel we need to be weaning ourselves off of." And it doesn't get much better. "Obama needs to look presidential and solutions-oriented while Congress squabbles over the budget for the rest of 2011. On all those measures, this plan will very likely be successful. It just won’t do much for the planet."

  • Economist: "It is hard to see his half-baked, reheated list of proposals as anything more than a reassurance to the environmentally-minded, and to Americans fretting about rising fuel prices, that the president feels their pain—unlike those nasty Republicans."
  • Andrew Revkin, New York Times: "It’s a creditable speech, emphasizing the need for responsible extraction of natural gas and safe production of nuclear power. ... But there are 'same-old' lines on biofuels and no mention of the need for Americans, as a patriotic responsibility at the very least, to reconsider energy habits."
  • Grist: On the ambitious goal of slashing oil imports: "It's hard to think of anything—short of an economic crash bigger than any ever seen in US history, or perhaps an alien race forcing all of us to take to our bicycles—that could conceivably accomplish such a goal."
(More President Obama stories.)

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