We have an important choice to make. Do we want to control our energy supply and its environmental impact? Or, do we want to outsource it to China, Russia and Saudi Arabia?
--Sarah Palin, The Washington Post 7/14/2009
Sarah Palin, in her new incarnation as an I-don't-know-what, has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of her poorly-timed and tearful resignation press conference, and has reemerged as (drum-roll please) an op-ed writer for The Washington Post.
Palin's intentions have never been particularly easy to grasp, but now they're even more ambiguous. She's stepped down as governor of Alaska to ... freelance rail against President Obama's energy plan? That's not even a lateral move, that's a demotion through and through. Now, there's no doubt that many in the state of Alaska -- and therefore Palin's cronies (Palin's pals?) -- would stand to gain a lot by increased domestic drilling, but many people thought that Palin was stepping down to either a) focus on a presidential run in 2012, or b) cash in on her fame through book deals, speaking gigs, or even Playboy spreads. Given her bizarre behavior, the former seems highly unlikely, but the latter seemed to be a pretty good bet. Perhaps this column is a stab at just that, but it appears to be an odd way to go about it.
Even more insidious is the fact that it's misleading. Obama's plan would create jobs, and lots of them, and would do so in a way that would benefit the country and the world. It would also move us forward and hopefully away from fossil fuels. Palin wants more of the same, which is going down a path that is doomed for failure because fossil fuels and natural gas are finite resources. They're not apt to run out in our lifetimes, but there's no time like the present to begin thinking about alternatives. Palin appears to want to torch this.
Also, she's flat wrong. According to statistics from the Department of Energy, the United States imported just over 4.7 billion barrels of crude oil and "oil products" in 2008. Guess which country was far and away the largest exporter to the US? Nope, not Saudi Arabia. Not Iraq, Iran, the UAE, or Venezula either. The answer is Canada, from whom we import 900 million barrels or just under 20% of our crude oil. Saudi Arabia is high, with 550 million barrels or roughly 11.5%, but what about Russia or China? We import 170 million barrels from Russia (3.6%) and China a whopping 6 million barrels (.1%).
Clearly, Sarah Palin is resorting to tried and true scare tactics to further her own and her party's interests. What will the next moves be for the former Alaska governor? Your guess is as good as mine. Stay tuned.