By Ben Geman - 04/25/12 08:27 PM EDT
A free-market group has scored a hit with an ominous, gloomy video warning that environmental regulations and restrictions on fossil fuels are putting America on a path to ruin.
The roughly five-minute video, titled “If I wanted America to fail,” is from the group Free Market America and has made the rounds on conservative websites including the Drudge Report, The American Spectator and pundit Michelle Malkin’s page.
“If I wanted America to fail, to follow not lead, to suffer, not prosper, to despair, not dream, I would start with energy,” states narrator Ryan Houck of Free Market America.
“I would cut off America’s supply of cheap, abundant energy. I couldn’t take it by force, so I would make Americans feel guilty about using the energy that heats their homes, fuels their cars, runs their businesses and powers their economy,” the he says over images including an oil derrick, a coal plant and an airport.
Houck says the nation’s energy policy will bring dire consequences, and warns of an environmental agenda that’s an “economic suicide pact.”
The clip — which comes off as a mix between a movie trailer and a political ad — has more than 500,000 hits on YouTube since its posting earlier this month.
The latter is business-backed group in Florida, which Houck headed, that battled a 2010 ballot initiative called Amendment 4. The plan, which critics called anti-development, would have required local voters' approval of changes to local governments’ land-use plans.
Florida voters rejected the proposed amendment to the state’s constitution.
In the video, Houck says if he wanted the nation to fail, “I would empower unelected bureaucrats to all but outlaw America’s most abundant sources of energy,” and “I would concede entire industries to our economic rivals by imposing regulations that cost trillions.”
But those unelected bureaucrats, and the political appointees that oversee them, would likely take issue with plenty in the clip.
The Obama administration — which isn’t called out specifically in the video — has touted green energy as an economic driver while noting that domestic oil production is at its highest levels in roughly a decade.
And EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has criticized industry lobbyists for peddling “doomsday” scenarios about agency regulations, calling the attacks at odds with a decades-long history of clean-air protections that have not hindered growth.
The Free Market America video is being greeted enthusiastically on conservative websites. Malkin, for instance, called it “compelling and extremely relevant this campaign season.”
Houck closes the video saying, “If I wanted America to fail, I would prey on the goodness and the decency of ordinary Americans. I would only need to convince them that all of this is for the greater good. If I wanted America to fail, I suppose I wouldn’t change a thing.”
— This article has been corrected to reflect that the video has received more than 500,000 hits on YouTube.