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Vail Valley Voices: Obama’s chance for a home run

In the mid-’70s, President Jimmy Carter signed the Department of Energy Organization Act, whose goal was to end American dependence on foreign oil.

Thirty-three years, six administrations and hundreds of congressional hearings later, it’s fair to ask, “How is the Department of Energy performing in its assigned task?”

The Wall Street Journal reported the Department of Energy failed its own energy audit, but who needs a Journal article to tell us America’s “energy policy” is in disarray when we consider the 3.5 billion barrels of oil imported in 2009 and are inundated daily with images of tarred pelicans on Gulf Coast beaches?



Meanwhile, appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” Sen. John Kerry heralded his “comprehensive” energy bill positing that sweeping energy reform is necessary.

Facing him on screen, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas rebutted: “While I agree with parts of Sen.Kerry’s bill, it appears the senator from Massachusetts wants to hit a grand slam home run, when perhaps America would be better served if focused on hitting singles.”



Then the defining moment of the segment occurred. Sen. Kerry, figuring he had the double-barreled sound bite he needed to silence Sen. Cornyn while winning over the voters opined, “When Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams or Babe Ruth came to bat, they weren’t looking to hit singles. They went for the home run.”

It was in that moment the elitism of Congress revealed itself.

What extraordinary imagery Kerry’s statement conjured up — grand slams versus singles. How could any red-blooded American possibly be satisfied with hitting singles when we could hit home runs? But Sen. Kerry’s home run versus singles analogy not only presented a false choice, it was an enormous insult to the intelligence of the American people.



When Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Babe Ruth came to bat, their managers knew with certainty what the outcome of hitting a grand slam home run versus hitting a single would be.

Meanwhile, Sen. Kerry has no idea of the unintended consequences his energy bill with its attendant taxation will cause during a recession.

Similar to health care, in which “comprehensive health care reform” addresses “everything” instead of taking measured incremental steps toward an agreed upon goal, we also don’t know what havoc a “comprehensive” energy bill could wreak upon the economy.

If you doubt that statement, look no further than the CBO, which recently revised its projected cost of Obamacare $115 billion upward.

Perhaps a more honest analogy would have been if Sen. Kerry had referenced the space program. The United States didn’t hit a grand slam and send a man to the moon the month after President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 speech challenging us to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Rather NASA conducted five more Mercury missions over the next four years, followed by 10 Gemini missions, before even attempting the Apollo program.

With many false starts and setbacks, Mercury put the first Americans into space; Gemini taught NASA how to maneuver, rendezvous and dock with other space vehicles; and the Apollo program (the series of manned and unmanned space missions leading to the first manned moon mission) didn’t culminate in that first manned lunar landing until July 1969.

But Sen. Kerry’s remarks make a great sound bite for the uninformed. After all, it’s almost un-American to go for singles when the chimera of a grand slam is presented.

We have “comprehensive” health care (which 58 percent of likely voters believe should be repealed), and many of the same voices that pushed for Obamacare will argue indefinitely for “comprehensive” immigration reform when securing the border with enough National Guard would be the most effective first step toward eliminating the influx of illegals immigrants, reducing drug traffic and protecting ourselves from Middle Eastern terrorists who are infiltrating the U.S. from Mexico.

So I ask: Why would anyone trust the government to “comprehensively” reform anything, let alone energy?

And why are we even drilling in 5,000 feet of water? Politics created a myriad of incentives and regulations, which is the real reason we’re drilling a mile down with not-yet-proven technology and not in ANWR, where the technology is proven, safe and the per-barrel cost of extraction is less — all within a five-and-a-half-square-mile footprint, versus a 1,800-square-mile oil slick.

So what does this mean? I believe it’s a unique moment for President Barack Obama to rid him self of his “government-knows-best” image. It’s my hope Mr. Obama challenges America, as JFK did 50 years ago, and asks us to join him in an incremental time-bound energy plan that focuses on a single goal: developing alternative energy sources that reduce our dependence on foreign oil, period!

Global warming, carbon credits and attendant issues can be debated as more information becomes available. Let’s hope the president accepts the challenge.

Quote of the day: “Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best solutions.” Unknown.

Butch Mazzuca lives in Edwards.


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