Try Anything

John McCain is doing his version of Franklin Delano Roosevelt when it comes to the energy crisis that faces this country. Barack Obama is playing a hip version of Herbert Hoover.

It was Roosevelt who said of efforts to pull the nation out of the Great Depression, “If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.”

Yesterday, McCain unveiled a plan to invest $300 million to build a better car battery. Smart idea, and if the price tag seems high, think in terms of a $1 investment per American for better energy security. Put in those terms, it actually is a little on the cheap side.

It is on the cheap side, because building a better battery would end America’s addiction to oil overnight. It would solve the emissions problem. It would be better for the environment. And it would be better for noise pollution, to boot.

This follows McCain’s call for a lifting of the federal moratorium on offshore drilling. Some environmentalists protested the effort, but it showed that the senator from Arizona was willing to change positions if the facts warrant it. And most working-class Americans who can’t afford $4-to-$5-a-gallon prices agree with McCain. If offshore drilling can be done in an environmentally safe way, why wouldn’t we do it?

McCain started this debate by calling for the temporary end of the federal gas tax. I don’t think that is a particularly good idea, but once again it showed that McCain was willing to do something to help ease prices for consumers.

McCain is also a big proponent of nuclear energy, a cutting-edge, scientific approach to better energy security, which once again solves our emissions problems. If you care about global warming, you would be for nuclear power.

Barack Obama’s response has been to play defense. No, we can’t allow for more offshore drilling. No, we can’t drop the gas tax, even temporarily. No, we can’t rely more on nuclear. No, we can’t! That sounds like something Herbert Hoover would say.

The American people want action on energy security. They want lower prices, lower emissions, and more reliable sources for our energy needs. They don’t want to be put in a position where we have to beg the Saudis or Hugo Chavez to pump a few more gallons.

John McCain is all about bold and creative experimentation. Barack Obama is all about “No, we can’t.”


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