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View Diary: (UPDATED) SOTU: Bush's "alternative energy" a day late and gallon short (103 comments)

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  •  I agree, BUT .... (none)
    I agree with Rep. Slaughter about the lousy Bush energy policy, but, in the end, really ending our dependence on petroleum will require the kind of political steps that turn elected officials into "former elected officials."

    To wit:  Reducing petroleum use will involve somehow reducing automobile use.  I doesn't help to raise CAFE standards if eveybody takes their new hybrid cars and moves to the exurbs with 50-mile commutes and 10 mile shopping trips in single occupancy cars.   It also doesn't help energy use if people still insist on the "American Dream" of owning a detached 3,000 square foot house that is heated with oil or natural gas, or electricity generated from coal.  To really solve this problem, a large percentage of middle class Americans will have to move into apartments or row houses and use the bus as their primary mode of transport (or they could walk or use a bike.)

    Considering how nearly all the middle-class Americans I know (including many good liberal Democrats) have a whiny fit when the price of gasoline goes from $2.20 a US gallon to $2.50 a gallon, I suspect that anyone telling the American public that they shouldn't expect an entitlement to cheap and abundant fuel will end up defeated on Election Day.

    That's in addition to the fact that in order to get people to live closer to where they work, shop, and play would step on the toes of the real estate speculation, er, development industry.  Considering that the European settlemtn of North America was primarily an exercise in real estate speculation, and that, as my poli sci professor told us back in college, "the 'realtors' control all local and state politics" [and I suspect are influential on the nationals scen as well], those are some toes that politicians step on at their own peril.

    Good luck, Prepsentative Slaughter.  I hope you can push back more on Bush, and I hope that sense can prevail and rational policies can be formed on transportation, real estate development, and energy use.  But somehow, I fear that anyonw who tries will not prevail.

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