The Democratic philosophy on energy security is simple: Stick it to the consumers.
Energy independence in Democratic parlance is code for higher costs through mandates.
They say they want to take away tax breaks for oil and gas companies. What they will do is take away incentives to create more exploration and expand refining capacity.
They say they want to increase mileage standards for automobiles. What they will do is make it harder for the average consumer to buy the SUVs and minivans, by sharply increasing their costs of production.
They say they want a free-market cap and trade system. What they will do is create a mandate that will sharply increase the costs of air conditioning in the hot summers and heat in the cold winters.
The problem with the Democratic energy policy is that it is being driven by inside-the-Beltway elitists who can afford to drive a fleet of Prius hybrids and fit their homes with solar panels.
Despite all the global warming rhetoric, people outside the Beltway care way more about costs than they do climate change.
Tom Friedman of The New York Times talks about sharply increasing the gas tax, by a dollar or two, in order to secure more energy independence. That kind of proposal plays well in the salons of the very rich. But at the dining room table of middle America — the farmers, truck drivers and salesmen — such a proposal would be an economic catastrophe.
Al Gore has an Oscar from Hollywood, and for that he should be very proud. But when it comes to providing real energy security for the American people, Hollywood fantasies are counterproductive.
As the Senate debates energy policy this week, the Democrats are going to find that real-world concerns, especially as they relate to higher costs and job losses, are going to be more important than pie-in-the-sky dreams. You can push for more wind energy all you want, but at the end of the day, you better have a plan that really works for the American people.