Nobody’s proposing a comprehensive energy plan, so I guess we’ll have to do it ourselves.
I’ve had this idea percolating lately that I wanted to develop fully before tossing it out. Maybe do a column on it first, roll it out on a Sunday with lots of fanfare. But hey, the situation calls for action, not hoopla.
So here’s the idea (we’ll refine is as we go along):
Reinvent the Unparty as the Energy Party. Not the Green Party — it’s not just about the environment — but a serious energy party. Go all the way, get real, make like we actually know there’s a war going on. Do the stuff that neither the GOP nor the Dems would ever do:
- Jack up CAFE standards.
- Put about a $2 per gallon tax on gasoline.
- Spend the tax proceeds on a Manhattan project on clean, alternative energy (hydrogen, bio, wind, whatever), and on public transportation (especially light rail).
- Reduce speed limits everywhere to no more than 55 mph. (This must be credited to Samuel Tenenbaum, who bent my ear about it yet again this morning, and apparently does the same to every presidential wannabe who calls his house looking for him or Inez).
- ENFORCE the damn’ speed limits. If states say they can’t, give them the resources out of the gas tax money.
- Build nuclear power plants as fast as we can (safely, of course).
- Either ban SUVs for everyone who can’t demonstrate a life-or-death need to drive one, or tax them at 100 percent of the sales price and throw THAT into the win-the-war kitty.
- If we go the tax route on SUVs (rather than banning), launch a huge propaganda campaign along the lines of "Loose Lips Sink Ships" (for instance, "Hummers are Osama’s Panzer Corps"). Make wasting fuel the next smoking or DUI — absolutely socially unacceptable.
- Because it will be a few years before we can be completely free of petrol, drill the ever-lovin’ slush out of the ANWR, explore for oil off Myrtle Beach, and build refinery capacity — all for a limited time of 20 years. Put the limit in the Constitution.
You get the idea. Respect no one’s sacred cows, left or right; go all-out to win the war and, in the long run, save the Earth. Pretty soon, tyrants from Tehran to Moscow to Caracas will be tumbling down without our saying so much as "boo" to them, and global warming will slow within our lifetimes.
THEN, once we’ve done all that, we can start insisting upon some common sense on entitlements, and health care. Change the name to the Pragmatic Party then. Whatever works, whatever is practical, whatever solves our problems — no matter whose ox gets gored. Leave the ideologues in the dust, while we solve the problems.
How’s that sound? Can any of y’all get behind that?