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Finally, a president that understands.

From Steve Kroft's interview with Obama last night:

Kroft: When the price of oil was at $147 a barrel, there were a lot of spirited and profitable discussions that were held on energy independence. Now you've got the price of oil under $60.

Mr. Obama: Right.

Kroft: Does doing something about energy is it less important now than...

<Mr. Obama: It's more important. It may be a little harder politically, but it's more important.</p>

Kroft: Why?

Mr. Obama: Well, because this has been our pattern. We go from shock to trance. You know, oil prices go up, gas prices at the pump go up, everybody goes into a flurry of activity. And then the prices go back down and suddenly we act like it's not important, and we start, you know filling up our SUVs again.

And, as a consequence, we never make any progress. It’s part of the addiction, all right. That has to be broken. Now is the time to break it.

I had been watching the interview for awhile, and was impressed with how he handled the questions, and he seemed very presidential, and then it hit this segment.

"We go from shock to trance." It's something many of us realize, and understand, but it's something I don't think many presidents would mention. This is just the beginning of an actually intelligent president. For years we have realized this issue, and presidential candidates have said this and that about it, but they don't often mention this pattern. We all panic when the prices go up, and when they go down, everyone calms down.

I've witnessed it here in college. People are shocked at the $1.79 gas in Columbia, Missouri. And now I hear "we have plenty of oil," and "it's not that important." Obviously, "everything is ok now."

Of course it isn't.

Bush's last day can't come any faster.

Originally posted to realistic on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 05:37 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I thought this diary was going to be about (13+ / 0-)

    Obama's proposal for an 8-team college football playoff.

    The last time any party had this margin of victory in the Senate (58 seats), House (257 seats), and Presidency (52.7%): 1964.

    by Yirmiyahu on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 05:40:47 PM PST

  •  Don't think that this is coincidence... (11+ / 0-)

    The oil suppliers have sensed that a political climate was developing that would spur movement into alternative energy. They intend to hold prices down until this urgency goes away. President-Elect Obama has this exactly right. We would have ended oil dependence back in the 1980's if oil prices hadn't dropped.

    We can't let them fool us a second time.

    All that is required for evil to flourish is for good people to stand by and do nothing.

    by davewill on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 05:42:30 PM PST

    •  my Theory: Making hay while the sunshines (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bluebrain, cameoanne

      in early to mid 2008 Big oil realizes that the Dems are going to win and see that the current Oil Man in Chief and his pet congress will do nothing to investigate while they're in power.  So jack up the prices.  Now that it's closer to a Congress and president who WILL do something about it, pull back.  
      They made out like bandits while they could.  

  •  What I was waiting for: (7+ / 0-)

    Kroft:  Mr. President Elect, many people are now suggesting that this is the time to institute a federal tax on gasoline, to keep the price at around three dollars, so the impetus for alternative fuels and conservation of resources would be encouraged.

    What do you think about that?

    Obama:  That would be tough politically at this time, but it does make economic sense.  And part of what I must do is to make the connection between the benefits we get from government and the need to pay for it.

    It will be tough, after decades of delegitimizing all of government, but it is something that most be done.

    I can dream, can't I.

    •  I'd settle for a tax based on a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gogol, arodb

      percentage rather than a fixed amount per gallon. Give it a floor at the current 18 cents. Every time prices rise, we automatically have more funds to use for alternative energy.

      All that is required for evil to flourish is for good people to stand by and do nothing.

      by davewill on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 05:48:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  For starters . . . (6+ / 0-)

        . . . we should require the motor fuel tax to be high enough to pay for building and maintaining all roads and bridges. Why subsidize driving out of general tax revenue?

        Then maybe exempt biofuel from motor fuel tax, or give it a reduced rate.

        Then require half of motor fuel tax to go for trains and mass transit.

        Now we're talkin'.

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 06:01:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Definitely exempt biofuels... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HeyMikey, pi1304

          I've read horror stories about guys making their own biofuel getting gigged for evading the fuel tax. I'm less wild about forcing a fixed percentage to go to mass transit. That's the kind of crap that has made California's budget process a nightmare. Limit it to transportation, and possibly electric power generation, but don't micromanage.

          All that is required for evil to flourish is for good people to stand by and do nothing.

          by davewill on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 06:05:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I've lived in cities, suburbs and ex urbs... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and those who live in cities make too much of mass transit.  A large number of Americans, for better or for worse, live in small towns, suburbs or rural areas.

          Mass transit just doesn't work in low density, high distance regions.  Maybe if the car, with cheap gas, never was around, we would have had a different landscape.

          But we are stuck in a country that needs personal transportation, and when you are traveling a hundred miles a day, sometimes with a family, a sub compact, is a real stress.

          There is no easy, or simple, fix for what we are facing.

          •  We need high-speed long-distance rail, too. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It uses a lot less fuel than air travel, and up to about 400 miles it's time-competitive.

            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

            by HeyMikey on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 06:11:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  we will eventually have to find ... (0+ / 0-)

            another way to live.  Exurbs and all that are remarkably dysfunctional in a time of scarce energy.

            I recommend reading James Kunztler on this topic.

            Article 6: " religious test shall *ever* be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the U.S."

            by billlaurelMD on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 08:32:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  He's read Naomi Klein... (12+ / 0-)

    no doubt about it. That language telegraphs The Shock Doctrine. He knows what needs to be done, and he's going to push it as far as the electorate will make possible for him. That's where we come in--shifting the political center further to the left.

    You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

    by FrankCornish on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 05:43:26 PM PST

  •  Cruise Control Economics... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It seems that many Americans think like cruise control, gunning it over the crest and easing up on the downhill runs, which is of course an absurd way to react.

    •  Not so much absurd as...conditioned. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billlaurelMD, b4uknowit

      We've been trained to act and react this way over generations. How could we expect any different?

      Its a pretty big challenge to change these decades old patterns of behavior. One key requirement is the right leader. Another is us.

      Change is never comfortable or peaceful or unchallenged/unchallenging. This will be a fight, but it will be a fight worth winning. I don't even want to even think about losing this one...

      Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking. -J.M. Keynes

      by elropsych on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 05:54:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  combined with the calculus of the (0+ / 0-)

      fiscal quarter: lethal!

  •  Moreover... (0+ / 0-)

    What was the price of a gallon of gas under Carter? Was it any less of a problem then? Keep the pressure on Kossacks--energy independence is the #1 US strategic iniative for the next 20 years.

    You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, "How did I get here?"

    by FrankCornish on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 05:55:58 PM PST

  •  While I agree (8+ / 0-)

    I just watched the interview for the first time, and his ironically disingenuous response to Steve's question about the mother-in-law and the dog sealed it for me.  :)

    I noticed three things in this interview:

    1.  He's interested in taking right action, not rash action, and he's not terribly interested in playing with scripted responses
    1.  He and Michelle are absolutely devoted to each other and to their children
    1.  He and Michelle simply are normal people without having to pretend that they are normal.  

    What's the opposite of buyer's remorse?  

  •  i thought his defining moment was when... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, kat68

    he turned to michelle and said and said "then you asked would you take the kids to school tomorrow" and she said "i did not"

    i laughed out loud.

    "Four seconds is the longest wait " -Sleater-Kinney

    by delphil on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 06:41:30 PM PST

  •  For me, the defining moment was when Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, island in alabama

    said he planned to actually communicate with the American people...let us in on what he was doing and why and what obstacles we might meet along the way.

    I loved it when he said he wanted to recreate the bond of trust between the President and the American people.

    But so much of what he said was so good. It's a personal thing.

    Ah no, it's always just my luck to get/ One perfect rose

    by kat68 on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 06:46:33 PM PST

  •  For me it was about torture. I sensed that same (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    edge that was there when Michelle was targeted during the campaign.  I think that torture makes him mad at his core.

    "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at Him. Mark 12:17

    by bkamr on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 06:55:02 PM PST

  •  How About When Asked "Are You the Anti-Christ?" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billlaurelMD, xndem

    And he said...

    "Let me make this perfectly clear, I am not now, nor have I ever been the anti-christ.  And let me go further.  I promise the American people, I will never become the anti-christ.  I think it important for the people to know that."

    (it was cut from the show.)

    "I can't believe that the noblest impulse of man-- his compassion for another-- can be completely dead here."

    by Daxman on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 07:00:05 PM PST

  •  So True...T Boone Pickens (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    For all of his talk about getting off foreign oil etc has started to stall his plans for building his wind farms due in part to the drop in natural gas prices...because right now its not as "economical" to continue.  Geez, as if gas prices will never rise again!

  •  i liked that his d.c. apartment was a s*@thole (0+ / 0-)

    that was worse than his staff lived in & that michelle wouldn't even spend the night in.

    who cares what banks fail in yonkers - as long as you've got a kiss that conquers.

    by rasbobbo on Mon Nov 17, 2008 at 07:25:20 PM PST

  •  Interesting possibility for Energy Sec? (0+ / 0-)

    From NYT, where they are doing articles of possible Obama administration people:

    Dan Reicher is an environmentalist, amongst other credentials, and is being considered for energy secretary.  There was no indication of how likely he is to get the job, but it's comforting that he's being considered.  

    Apparently, one of his "drawbacks" is how much of a shock to the system he would be to the Department of Energy.  

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