Like a crack dealer who sidles up to you and whispers sweetly in your ear that he wants to help you kick your cocaine habit, President Bush strained credulity last night when he declaimed America's addiction to oil, and announced a plan to help us petroleum junkies go cold turkey.
Some pundits are praising him for having the guts
to buck his big oil friends in order to point out the light sweet crude-covered elephant in the room, but this act of political "courage" is actually a dodge for what amounts to more of the same tired energy policy the Bushies have pursued since day one: drilling in Alaska, huge subsidies to the coal and ethanol industries, pie in the sky talk about hydrogen-powered cars, and a glaring lack of any substantive move towards energy conservation, either through reducing consumption or improving efficiency (read it for yourself here
Most telling of all, this morning has brought a notable absence of angry protests from big oil over Bush's energy policy. One would expect that, in the face of a policy shift that would truly move America away from a dependence on petroleum, the oil companies would squeal like swine who have been snatched away from the trough. Instead, the plan is greeted by deafening silence from the boardrooms of Houston, as the energy conglomerates lay low while Bush shifts public attention away from their record profits
and corporate scandals
After all, these self-same companies helped craft Bush's policy in the first place, and certainly see his headline-making "addiction" comment for the poll-driven kabuki dance that it is.