If I were running for election in 2012, these are the three issues I’d run on:
- Green jobs
- Clean air and water
- Strong national security
Green Jobs: Move our workforce into a sustainable future. For example, take workers off the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and put them to work making wind generators and solar panels. You heard me: the pay is the same; it’s less dangerous; and it’s sustainable. Like Pres. Obama says:
We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if — I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.
…and this leads to Big Thing #2…
Clean Air and Water: No more oil rigs in the Gulf means no more volcanos of oil soiling the water, the beaches and marshes of the Gulf coast. Come on, stop being in denial — you know it’s going to happen again and again and again. So stop tempting fate. There’s too much at stake.
And another thing: hunters and fishermen — not typically a Democratic constituency — will be with you on this. You will get their votes in great numbers because they respect what a clean environment means to them and their children.
In Lousiana, for example, it means giving your children what your parents gave you: an opportunity for a job, an opportunity for recreation, an opportunity for freedom. A filthy environment takes all of that away from you. It forecloses the future.
[Sotto voce: You're also doing the right thing to mitigate climate change.]
All Americans have that common goal: to eventually give the environment to our children so that they can carry on the legacy we received from our parents.
Strong National Security: Energy independence means you can eventually stop being held hostage by hostile oil-producing states that use the money we pay at the pump to fund terrorism around the globe. Dry up that money and you take away a lot of their power.
Again, this is something that everyone — Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives — can agree on: when you buy foreign oil, you are funding terrorists. So move our economy into a greener future. It will provide sustainable jobs and will give our children a cleaner safer world — and make us safer against the outside forces of terror.
So my imaginary stump speech would conclude with this: No one — no nation — has ever cut its way to prosperity. To prosper, you have to do big things.
UPDATE: Here’s what my Congressman Rep. Bill Cassidy (LA-06) says:
“We in Louisiana understand that wind and solar can never replace natural gas and oil, and that’s what he spoke about doing tonight,” Cassidy said after the president’s speech.
That reminds me of what Henry Ford once said: “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.”
…Or what I’ve seen on more than one motivational poster: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
…Or what Marshall McLuhan said: “The future of the future is the present. And this is what people are terrified of.”