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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Spotlight: Dems on Energy Independence

Edmund L. Andrews’ somewhat misleadingly-titled New York Times article “Candidates Offer Different Views on Energy Policy” is more a broad overview of the differences between Democratic and Republican presidential candidates as two groups on how — and when — to achieve energy independence for the U.S. This is not so helpful for making distinctions between the individual candidates, and disses all of the “second tier” candidates, except for a quick mention of Richardson’s CAFE goal (50 mpg by 2020 –highest and quickest).
The main point of the Times article seems to be that Dems as a whole have stronger policies for energy independence, which we knew already. The article does touch lightly on a few energy policy positions of Clinton, Richardson, Edwards McCain, Huckabee and Romney (the worst of both fields, arguably). But most of Andrews’ piece deals with the differences between the GOP field and the Dems in general terms. The candidates’ positions on energy independence and environmental concerns are too important to be addressed so once-over-lightly in the nation’s top newspaper.
So where do you go to get more detail on the energy/environmental policies of the Dem field? You go to their energy and environment web pages, collected here for your convenience:
Biden – “Energy” and “Climate Change” and “Protecting the Environment”
Clinton – “Promoting Energy Independence and Fighting Global Warming
Dodd – “Chris Dodd’s Energy Plan
Edwards – “Energy/Environment
Kucinich – “A Sustainable Future
Obama – “Environment” and “Energy”
Richardson – “Energy” and “Environment
Please read them all and feel free to share with us your thoughts on their relative strengths and weaknesses. No, we’re not going to do the same for the GOP field — that’s their job, and there isn’t much of substance in the GOP field anyway, except for McCain’s oppostion to oil and gas drilling in the Arctic (gasp) and Huckabee’s support for mandatory limits on greenhouse gases.
We need a louder echo chamber on energy and environmental issues. Why? As a survey by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for the Center for American Progress, conducted 3/19-22, found:

More than 3/4 of people believe the effects of global warming are already here.
Americans want immediate action on global warming – 60 percent believe that increasing pollution has set global warming into motion and “we must take action now or it will be too late to stop it.”
Unlike other issues before Congress and the President there is no strong partisan divide on stopping global warming.

The survey also indicated that energy and global warming “now rivals health care as the top domestic issue that requires immediate action.” We have a great opportunity here. The challenge is to bring it front and center.

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