Energy and Oil


Welcome to the sixth edition of the ongoing ‘Issues’ series which will document the Six Major Candidates’ (H. Clinton, J. McCain, B. Obama, R. Giuliani, J. Edwards, M. Romney) positions on every issue I can think of. G.W. Bush is included for… fun.

Feel free to go check out the archives here.

Pinched for time? Head straight to the “Bottom Line” section for each candidate to get a two-line read on his or her stance.

Energy and Oil

George W. Bush (r), (Incumbent, Will not Run in ’08)

G. Bush is no doubt the President most linked most with the word ‘oil’ in our history. In 2006, Bush announced his intention to replace 3/4ths of all oil imports coming from the Middle East by 2025. In many ways, that statement can be seen as the epitome of his administration- leaving numerous problems that will surely extend into the next presidency while failing to acknowledge them at the same time.

Indeed, 2006 saw foreign oil dependence raise 7 percentage points to 60% from Clinton’s last year in office.

Bush, though, has been relatively decent with alternative energy research. He’s devoted upwards of 10 billion dollars since 2001 in alternative energy, including his advocacy of a 22% increase in funding in 2006.

One of his controversial views was his willingness to obtain oil from US lands- a method which would drive down foreign oil dependence nonetheless.

The Bottom Line__

What he says: Decrease foreign oil dependence, alternate energy research important, against Kyoto

What his actions say: Foreign oil dependence has gone up, alternate energy research important

Hillary Clinton (d), (Candidate, ’08)

H. Clinton, too, has spoken of her desire to reduce foreign oil imports- but more specifically, foreign oil imports from those countries which “could harm” us. Most of the Middle East could potentially fall under that category.

Clinton has been vocally against the current administration’s energy policy (which she voted no against), which as noted, has seen foreign oil dependence creep up. She has also opposed the oil and gas leasing plan in the Alaska Coastal Plain.

Additionally, Clinton has advocated to reduce oil usage by 40% by 2025, and for the creation of a 100,000 hydrogen powered vehicle goal by 2010.

The Bottom Line__

What she says: Current dependence breaking methods are not stringent enough, reduce foreign “harmful” dependence, supports Kyoto

What her actions say: Her voting record backs what she says, though she doesn’t have nearly the track record Bush does in terms of alternative energy

John McCain (r), (Candidate, ’08)

J. McCain has opposed many aspects of the Bush Administration; its energy policy is one he voted no on as well. But it is unclear whether one can chalk that up to the fact that it didn’t pursue enough alternative forms of energy- in 1999, McCain voted to de-fund renewable and solar energy.

While McCain does not support Kyoto, he has expressed support for immediate reduction on greenhouse gases complements that. While he did agree with H. Clinton in pursuing a goal of 100,000 hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2010, he did not agree with reducing oil usage by 40% by 2025.

The Bottom Line__

What he says: Has not been too vocal on reducing foreign oil dependence, against Kyoto

What his actions say: In between the debate on oil or alternate energy, has not seemed particularly inclined to support either, has voted against increasing alternative energy funding in the 90’s

Barack Obama (d), (Candidate, ’08)

During the Taking Back America Conference of 2006, B. Obama expressed his desire for U.S. energy independence. In the past, he has supported decreasing oil usage by 25% by 2025, increasing the percentage of total energy coming from alternative sources to 20% by 2020, and prevention of drilling in Alaska.

Of all the Presidential candidates, Obama arguably has the biggest head-start in terms of the energy debate; his home state Illinois and the state of California embarked on a new era of alternative energy research in early 2007 with a unique plan (backed by the largest funding in alternative energy history) to be implemented at the University of California and University of Illinois systems’ respective flagship campuses at Berkeley and Urbana-Champaign.

The Bottom Line__

What he says: Against All Foreign Oil Dependence, supports numerous alternative energy research programs

What his actions say: voting record attests to his American oil independence stance, as does his “Energy Independence Plan for Illinois” to his alt. energy plans

Rudy Giuliani (r), (Candidate, ’08)

One of the most outspoken critics of B. Clinton’s refusal to open up the “Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” R. Giuliani undoubtedly is in support of obtaining oil from US sources if it would engender the driving down of oil prices.

Most of what is currently known on Giuliani’s oil and energy stance revolves around the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. He has said in the past that the SPR must be opened to prevent market manipulations by OPEC. Thus, one can infer that he too is in support of driving down foreign oil dependence, though in a more novel way than most other candidates who’d rather direct money towards alternative energy.

The Bottom Line__

What he says: Foreign oil dependence must decrease; the best way to do that is to directly rely on oil we already have

What his actions say: Foreign oil dependence must decrease; the best way to do that is to directly rely on oil we already have

John Edwards (d), (Candidate, ’08)

One of the few Democrats to approve the Bush Administration’s energy policy, J. Edwards did so because he believed it supported alternative energy to enough of an extent.

He agreed with J. McCain by voting to not increase alt. energy funding in 1999. Edwards strongly opposed G.W. Bush’s decision to omit “climate change” from the 2003 “State of the Environment” report. One (relatively) unique idea Edwards brings to the table is the concept of converting agricultural waste to alternative energy sources.

The Bottom Line__

What he says: Against foreign oil dependence, agreed with Bush Administration energy policy

What his actions say: Against foreign oil dependence, disagreed with increasing funding for “traditional” alternative energy research

Mitt Romney (r), (Candidate, ’08)

During his days as governor of Massachusetts, M. Romney set many incentives for those who purchased energy efficient products as well as set regulations on energy use for state buildings. A sign of his stance? For sure.

Romney has spoken about the importance of American energy independence in the past as well. Like B. Obama, he’s spoken of becoming independent of all foreign oil sources eventually. In order to achieve this, he has advocated a mix of what others have proposed- both investing money in alternative energy research as well as finding domestic sources of oil, in the vein of R. Giuliani.

The Bottom Line__

What he says: Energy independence important, mix of alternative energy and domestic oil

What his actions say: Energy independence important, mix of alternative energy and domestic oil

3 Responses to “Energy and Oil”

  1. It will be interesting to see how history treats President Bush’s administration’s effectiveness. Given the low ratings he has at this time, one may be tempted to think he’ll be rated very low, but Truman’s ratings were worse, and he is consided by many to be in the top 10.

    Fifty years or so will likely be needed to sum up his effectiveness. I guess I had better stay fit if I want to see that as I am in my mid 40s!

  2. 2 Ron

    Nice blog there, but I disagree w/ you on Bush. We know today what a crap president he is right now. 50 years from now, people will look back and think, ‘okay, jihaddis destroyed the WTC, and we invaded Iraq. WTF was up with that?’


  1. 1 Political Grind » Tuesday’s Top Pick 1 Round 3

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