- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pump fake

“From the reports we’ve seen, it looks as if the McCain camp pulled a ‘pump fake’ on its VP choice [Monday] to gin up some press — make that any press — in the face of the current bout of Obamania,” Tom Bevan writes in the VP Watch at www.realclearpolitics.com.

“First they leaked to Bob Novak they might be choosing this week, then sources walked that notion back, telling Jonathan Martin it probably won’t happen. Those two items coincided with a third report from Chris Cillizza based on ‘sources close to the campaign’ letting it be known McCain is meeting Bobby Jindal in Louisiana [Tuesday].

“What to make of this? First, it would be foolish for McCain to pull this arrow from his quiver right now just to try and blunt Obama’s overseas trip. It won’t have a measurable effect, and the McCain camp probably knows it. Second, it’s clearly an advantage for McCain to be able to make his choice after Obama, and giving that advantage away at this point in the game just doesn’t seem like a smart move.”

Crazed prophet

Al Gore gave a speech last week ‘challenging’ America to run ‘on 100 percent zero-carbon electricity in 10 years’ — though that’s just the first step on his road to ‘ending our reliance on carbon-based fuels.’ Serious people understand this is absurd. Maybe other people will start drawing the same conclusion about the man proposing it,” Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens writes.

“The former vice president has also recently disavowed any intention of returning to politics. This is wise. As America’s leading peddler of both doom and salvation, Mr. Gore has moved beyond the constraints and obligations of reality. His job is to serve as a Prophet of Truth.

“In Mr. Gore’s prophecy, a transition to carbon-free electricity generation in a decade is ‘achievable, affordable and transformative.’ He believes that the goal can be achieved almost entirely through the use of ‘renewables’ alone, meaning solar, geothermal, wind power and biofuels.

“Here, however, is an inconvenient fact. In 1995, the U.S. got about 2.2 percent of its net electricity generation from ‘renewable’ sources, according to the Energy Information Administration. By 2000, the last full year of the Clinton administration, that percentage had dropped to 2.1 percent. By contrast, the combined share of coal, petroleum and natural gas rose to 70 percent from 68% during the same time frame.

“Now the share of renewables is up slightly, to about 2.3 percent as of 2006 (the latest year for which the EIA provides figures). The EIA thinks the use of renewables (minus hydropower) could rise to 201 billion kilowatt hours per year in 2018 from the current 65 billion. But the EIA also projects total net generation in 2018 to be 4.4 trillion kilowatt hours per year. That would put the total share of renewables at just over 4 percent of our electricity needs.”

Gore’s fantasy

“He’s a former vice president of the United States, Nobel Prize winner and best-selling author, so the lavish news coverage of Al Gore’s latest brainstorm was inevitable. Less understandable is why an idea so irresponsible — in economic terms, in fact, just this side of deranged — attracted so little ridicule,” writes Vincent Carroll, editorial page editor of the Rocky Mountain News.

“Gore proposed last week that the United States ‘commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.’

“Not just all new electricity, mind you, which would be challenging enough. But all existing electricity, too,” Mr. Carroll said.

“This would of course require utilities to mothball hundreds of existing power plants as they launched a crash construction program of solar plants, wind farms and transmission lines costing hundreds of billions and perhaps trillions of dollars. (To put this in perspective, T. Boone Pickens, another fellow who’s caught the wind-power bug, claims on his Web site, ‘Building wind facilities in the corridor that stretches from the Texas panhandle to North Dakota could produce 20 percent of the electricity for the United States at a cost of $1 trillion. It would take another $200 billion to build the capacity to transmit that energy to cities and towns.’)”

Next up

“It amuses me that some of those who criticize the present U.S. Administration for its Manichaeism — its division of the world into good and evil themselves allocate all past badness to Bush and all prospective goodness to Obama,” London Times columnist David Aaronovitch writes.

“As the ever-improving myth has it, on the morning of September 12, 2001, George W. and America enjoyed the sympathy of the world. This comradeship was destroyed, in a uniquely cavalier (or should we say cowboyish) fashion, through the belligerence, the carelessness, the ideological fixity and the rapacity of that amorphous and useful category of American flawed thinker, the neoconservative. They just threw it away.

“But there isn’t anything that can’t be fixed with a sprinkling of genuine fairy dust. What Bush lost, Obama can find. Where the Texan swaggered, the Chicagoan can glide. Emotional literacy will replace flat iteration, persuasion will supplant force as the preferred means of achieving what needs to be achieved, empathy will trump narcissism. Those who hate America may find their antipathy waning, those who were alarmed by unilateralism will warm to softer, moral leadership. A new dawn will break, will it not?

“Some on the Left are getting their count-me-outs in already, realizing that Mr. Obama is, after all, a big-game hunter, a full-trousered American candidate. They, I think, are more realistic than those who manage on one day to laud the Democrat as not being a real politician, and on the next to praise him for his sensible left-trimming when seeking the party’s nomination and his equally sensible center-hugging once it was in the bag. I say the antis are more realistic because, eventually, we will hate or ridicule Mr. Obama too — provided, of course, that he is elected and serves two full terms.”

End of the line

A bid to recall New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine appears to be sputtering toward an unsuccessful finish, the Associated Press reports.

The effort’s chairman, Carl Bergmanson, said Monday that backers have less than 100,000 signatures. They need 1.2 million signatures to get a recall question on November’s ballot.

Mr. Bergmanson said the group faces a Wednesday deadline to submit petitions but won’t be doing so unless they get an unexpected surge in petitions.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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