Last October, Barack Obama laid out a detailed, ambitious, and comprehensive energy plan, and he's been talking about it ever since.
A couple weeks ago, John McCain let loose a flurry of one-off energy gimmicks -- a gas tax holiday, offshore drilling, a prize for a car battery -- which he crammed together under the heading "the Lexington Plan."
According to Washington Wise Man Michael Hirsh, in a mash note that would embarrass a crushing tween, he puts Obama on the defensive. After all, "no one really cares what Obama said last October." More specifically, Hirsh doesn't care -- he can't be bothered to look into the competing policy proposals and assess which is more credible. He cares about who, like, totally dissed who, and McCain's people tell him Obama's on the defensive, so that's what he's going with.
In doing so he reveals an almost total ignorance of the campaigns' records and positions. Like this:
Now it's McCain who has laid out a clear -- if questionably feasible -- energy vision for the future, while the Obama-ites are still rushing to put together a comprehensive paper gathering all his ideas on the current gas crisis and the long-term energy crisis.
While the Pony Express may not have gotten Hirsh his "comprehensive paper" yet, using an online internet search engine called "Google," I discovered that Obama has an entire website devoted to how he would solve the "long-term energy crisis." Didn't McCain's people send Hirsh the link?
Obama has a paper trail on these issues a mile long, while McCain just unveiled his Frankenstein policy weeks ago. But like most D.C. pundits, Hirsh has Anterograde Amnesia and cannot form new memories. He floats along on the present news cycle, innocent (and gullible) as a babe.
Then get this:
True, Obama has called for an investment of $150 billion over 10 years, dwarfing McCain's incentive plan, as Furman points out. But he hasn't spelled out how that would be used.
Having gotten a taste for this "Google" business, I returned to it to discover that Obama's energy "website" contains more than a dozen bullet points spelling out in great detail "how it would be used." Perhaps Newsweek could hire a research assistant to "search the web" for Hirsh?
This takes the cake though:
Like McCain's embrace of global warming as a national-security issue, his new stance on energy is a studied repudiation of the Bush administration.
Like McCain, Bush consistently refers to climate in terms of "energy security" (his administration just put out a National Intelligence Assessment that deems global warming a national security threat). Like McCain, Bush supports offshore drilling and more oil and gas exploration in the West. Like McCain, Bush supports substantial new pork for nuclear power and "clean coal." Like McCain, Bush opposes increasing efficiency or performance standards for specific economic sectors. Like McCain, Bush is open to a gas tax holiday.
If McCain was aiming for a "studied repudiation" of Bush on energy, he shot somewhat wide of the mark.
And if Hirsh thinks an incoherent amalgam of media-friendly poses makes a candidate a "grown up," he's been in Washington way, way too long.
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