- The Washington Times - Friday, February 15, 2008


As McCain moves forward

Gary Bauer failed to note two numbers in his Tuesday Op-Ed column, “Conservative yardstick: The numbers add up to John McCain”:

Seventy-seven — The age Sen. John McCain will be at the end of his first term in office.

Eighty-one — The age Mr. McCain will be at the end of his second term.

I hate to say it, but I think this will be an issue in November.


Las Vegas

Paul Greenberg and Oliver North worry that opposition from conservative ideologues could hurt Sen. John McCain’s election chances (“McCain and his critics,” Commentary, Monday, and “Decision time,” Commentary, Tuesday).

There are things the senator could do to reassure them. For instance, he could promise, as president, to nominate Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. That gesture, although symbolic, would send a twofold message: It would underline his flair for courageous independence while making a clean break with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat — who famously opposed Judge Bork for the Supreme Court 20 years ago. Mr. McCain’s coziness with Mr. Kennedy deeply concerns both his critics and his supporters. Such a break would come as welcome news to us.

Also, he could choose former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele as his vice president. Mr. Steele, who easily has as much substance as any of Mr. McCain’s Republican rivals, is exactly the sort of conservative running mate to stop the mouths of all fault-finders. Moreover, as a black Republican, he represents the sort of new direction the GOP should take when President McCain assumes the party’s helm.


Alexandria, Va.

Britain, take down that white flag

I was stunned to read that Britain would pay welfare benefits to multiple wives of Islamic men (“Britain clears way for polygamy benefits,” Page 1, Tuesday). This is contrary to British law.

I used to believe the boast, “There’ll always be an England.” Though the name may be the same, it won’t be the England we know and love. With the Archbishop of Canterbury soft-pedaling Shariah law and the government paying welfare benefits to multiple wives of Islamic men, Londonistan or Tehran-on-the-Thames can’t be far behind.

When the Church of England and the British government fail the citizens of Great Britain, the pillars upon which the country rests begin to crumble. German bombers and V2 rockets couldn’t defeat the British people, but capitulation to a radical minority immigrant population may. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never have so few done so much to shame and defeat the British people.

The British Bulldog should be replaced by a slaughtered lamb. I never thought I’d see the white flag of surrender flying over 10 Downing Street and Westminster Abbey.



The economy and oil

I much enjoyed Carl Henn’s Saturday letter, “America’s bleak energy future,” and agree that Roy Innis was incorrect in his Feb. 5 Commentary column, “Poisoning the economy,” to equate the total amount of oil, gas and coal we may have in the ground with the ability to supply our energy needs for more than 100 years. Mr. Henn explained that because demand has risen constantly, static estimates of national reserves based current usage rates are fatally flawed. Though this is a valuable observation, there is another overlooked aspect to the energy debate: the huge difference between reserves and daily production.

First off, there is a difference between estimated reserves and proven reserves of a particular resource. Proven reserves can be established only by a systematic program of drilling to define the extent and grade of the resource. Estimated resources are just that estimated. You can’t just tote up reserves from land that has never been drilled.

Now, assuming that we’re talking about actual proven reserves, we must conceive the huge difference between billions of barrels of oil in the ground or trillions of tons of coal and the ability to bring actual daily production online. For perspective, we consume more than 20 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil and oil equivalents, but we produce just 7-plus million bpd. Saudi Arabia’s daily production is running at about 8 million bpd. We would need the equivalent of nearly two Saudi Arabias’ worth of new production to become independent of foreign oil.

As for shale oil, it must be heated to release the kerogen, which then must be refined to make usable product. What does it take to heat it and refine it? More energy, of course. Coal reserves are better defined and can be used more easily than shale. We may have the coal, but to make up 14 million bpd of production would require turning half the country into a giant coal mine and coal-to-liquid refinery complex.

Should we do that or is Mr. Henn right when he says fossil fuels can’t be our energy future? Yes and no. What matters more than anything is that freeing up energy-resource discovery and production should be given a higher priority in our national political dialogue. I do not mean we should have more government control of the energy market; I mean we should have less much less.

The more we free up markets to compete, the cheaper energy will get. Let coal-to-liquid compete with crude, geothermal, nuclear, solar and wind energy. Maybe fossil fuels can’t be our long-term future, but they are all we have to sustain us until we get to that long-term future.

The idea of energy independence is pointless. In a time of peak oil use and falling world production since 2005, we’ll be very lucky to get the energy we need from the whole world without wrecking our economy. Pretending that we’re going to get it from within the United States, with a disparity of 14 million bpd of production to make up, is pure demagoguery. Economic survival is the real issue.



Election coverage

Your coverage of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee continues to be biased. On Saturday, he won a huge victory in Kansas and also won Louisiana, but your Sunday editions contained no headline mentioning these upset victories.

Instead, readers had to hunt through six paragraphs of an article about Sen. Barack Obama to find any information about Mr. Huckabee’s resounding win (“For Obama, a Super Saturday,” Page 1, Sunday).

Also, no mention is made of the strange goings-on in the Washington state primary, where election officials stopped counting votes at 8:30 p.m. without offering any explanation.

Late that night, with just 87 percent of returns counted, state Republican Chairman Luke Esser declared Sen. John McCain the winner. This smells like a real front-page story instead of the fluff piece featuring Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mr. Obama going to a political dinner.



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