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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama quotes: "[I]f somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them," and electricity rates will "necessarily skyrocket"

You know, you just can't be unhappy that gasoline prices have fallen and that the whole subject of foreign energy dependence seems less urgent as a result. Except that that ended up hurting the McCain-Palin campaign. Energy was the #1 domestic issue in the spring and early summer. Then the Dems started backpedaling on offshore drilling, and the credit markets went into the toilet. By the time anyone figured out that Obama has promised to bankrupt the coal industry, that wasn't nearly as scary as it would have been a few months earlier.

My bet, though, is that the Dems will continue to screw the whole subject of energy up royally, and it will be a fabulous issue for Gov. Palin to run on in 2012!


[Copied here for archival purposes on November 5, 2008, from the post linked above at HughHewitt.com.]

(Guest Post by Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar)

It has already become painfully clear that Harvard-trained lawyer Barack Obama is even more inclined to lie by parsing words than Yale-trained Bill Clinton was. Clinton, you will recall, famously denied having had "sexual relations" with "that woman, Ms. Lewinsky," based on his secret mental reservation to the effect that anything short of genital-on-genital penetration wasn't "sexual relations." Then he argued that he hadn't lied under oath about that subject because "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is."

Now Barack Obama has been caught in a very similar and equally sleazy episode of parsing: He's all in favor of using America's vast reserves of coal to help solve our national addiction to foreign oil — so long as we don't actually burn any of it. And anyone who wants can build new clean-coal fired electrical generating plants! It's just that Obama has sworn to tax and fine them into bankruptcy if they do (ellipsis in original, boldface mine; h/t DRJ at Patterico's):

“I voted against the Clear Skies Bill. In fact, I was the deciding vote -- despite the fact that I’m a coal state and that half my state thought that I had thoroughly betrayed them. Because I think clean air is critical and global warming is critical.

“But this notion of no coal, I think, is an illusion. Because the fact of the matter is, is that right now we are getting a lot of our energy from coal. And China is building a coal-powered plant once a week. So what we have to do then is figure out how can we use coal without emitting greenhouse gases and carbon. And how can we sequester that carbon and capture it. If we can’t, then we’re gonna still be working on alternatives.

“But ... let me sort of describe my overall policy. What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade policy in place that is as aggressive if not more aggressive than anyone out there. I was the first call for 100 percent auction on the cap and trade system. Which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases that was emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants are being built, they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted-down caps that are imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted. That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel, and other alternative energy approaches. The only thing that I’ve said with respect to coal — I haven’t been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as an ideological matter, as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it, that I think is the right approach. The same with respect to nuclear. Right now, we don’t know how to store nuclear waste wisely and we don’t know how to deal with some of the safety issues that remain. And so it’s wildly expensive to pursue nuclear energy. But I tell you what, if we could figure out how to store it safely, then I think most of us would say that might be a pretty good deal.

“The point is, if we set rigorous standards for the allowable emissions, then we can allow the market to determine and technology and entrepreneurs to pursue, what the best approach is to take, as opposed to us saying at the outset, here are the winners that we’re picking and maybe we pick wrong and maybe we pick right.”

That long quote comes from ABC News' Jake Tapper, as taken from a January 2008 interview Sen. Obama gave to the San Francisco Chronicle. (Something about being in that city apparently releases some of his inhibitions and permits him to accidentally tell the truth in between his carefully constructed and lawyerly word castles.) You can see a video clip with a recording of Obama's voice along with some pertinent statistics in the video at Gateway Pundit.

Obama is saying as clearly as it's possible to say that the taxes and penalties he's going to slap on both the coal and nuclear industries will bankrupt them based even on their very best current technology. He's only open to those fuels if there are magical new developments which let us release the energy in coal without releasing carbon dioxide or make spent nuclear fuels completely danger-free. That would require rewriting the basic laws of chemistry and physics — and as brilliant as The One is, he hasn't posted his plan to restructure the universe at a sub-atomic level on his website yet.

And contrary to Team Obama's protestations now, Gov. Sarah Palin was not taking Obama's remarks out of context this weekend, but giving them an absolutely fair interpretation — indeed, Gov. Palin was playing a recording of Obama's own words:

Palin told supporters to listen to the audiotape. “You’re going to hear Sen. Obama talk about bankrupting the coal industry,” she said. The Alaska governor also pointed to comments that Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden made to an environmental activist, promising no more coal-fired power plants in America. Biden was videotaped, likely without his knowledge.

“In an Obama-Biden administration, there would be no use for coal at all, from Wyoming to Colorado, to West Virginia and Ohio,” Palin said.

Tapper was wrong, though: The long quote above is not "the entirety of Obama’s remarks," and indeed, it is far from the only controversial thing Obama said on the subject of coal and energy in that interview. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has yet another video clip and transcript from that same interview (boldface Ed's):

The problem is not technical, uh, and the problem is not mastery of the legislative intricacies of Washington. The problem is, uh, can you get the American people to say, “This is really important,” and force their representatives to do the right thing? That requires mobilizing a citizenry. That requires them understanding what is at stake. Uh, and climate change is a great example.

You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, uh, you know — Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.


They — you — you can already see what the arguments will be during the general election. People will say, “Ah, Obama and Al Gore, these folks, they’re going to destroy the economy, this is going to cost us eight trillion dollars,” or whatever their number is. Um, if you can’t persuade the American people that yes, there is going to be some increase in electricity rates on the front end, but that over the long term, because of combinations of more efficient energy usage, changing lightbulbs and more efficient appliance, but also technology improving how we can produce clean energy, the economy would benefit.

If we can’t make that argument persuasively enough, you — you, uh, can be Lyndon Johnson, you can be the master of Washington. You’re not going to get that done.

A federal government completely controlled by Pelosi, Reid, and Obama can't change the laws of physics, but it damned sure can and will change the tax code, and it damned sure can — and here's Obama's promise that it will — tax and fine entire industries into bankruptcy. Obama thinks doing that to the coal and nuclear energy industries — as based on what he perceives to be the inadequacies of their very current best technologies — would be a good thing in the "long term." The problem is, friends and neighbors, that our economy can't survive the shocks on the "front end" that Obama admits his program will guarantee.

This, gentle readers, is madness masquerading as policy. This is a millimeter-thin patina of "reasonableness," achieved only by lawyerly word games, and it's being used to disguise a plan to radically transform our entire economy as part of some enviro-utopian pipe-dream.

Your very worst fears and nightmares about Barack Obama's policy ambitions are true. The only "dream" here has been the notion that Obama is any kind of moderate.


UPDATE (Sun Nov 2 @ 10:15 p.m. CST): Hugh has now posted an embedded video above which is the same as what I linked to earlier from Gateway Pundit. And apparently the story of this interview first broke in a post on Newsbusters, an update to which links this San Francisco Chronicle article, based on the interview, as proof that nobody at that most sanctimonious of mainstream media outlets bothered to notice the newsworthiness of, or otherwise bring any attention to, Obama's promise to bankrupt the coal industry as it currently exists.

[Further material originally posted here as another update has now been moved to a new post.]

— Beldar

Posted by Beldar at 05:05 AM in 2008 Election, Energy, Obama, Politics (2008) | Permalink


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