Dave Spicer: Senator Obama, Real Leaders Have a Strategy
“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Ronald Regan’s mantra was simple but effective in ending the Cold War. Achieving this goal involved a lot of moving parts, but he had a strategy for ending the cold war and we knew what was important.
“It’s the economy, stupid!” While Bill Clinton had his problems in office, his catch phrase defined his strategy. It seems that politicians and mere mortals alike are most successful when they can focus on one overarching vision, a strategy.
Our two candidates today expound on a plethora of maladies confronting us including terrorism, the Iraq war, global warming, our ever-weakening economy and the energy crisis, with gas prices breaking records daily. But neither Obama nor McCain has established a focused message, a rallying cry for the people. Where is their equivalent of “It’s the economy, stupid!” or “Tear down this wall!”?
Our country’s current dire situation has been brought about by seven years of inept and leaderless government in Washington—and my disdain is bipartisan. Proving a negative is often difficult and sometimes impossible, but proving we’ve had no leadership in Washington is relatively easy. I challenge anyone to recite our country’s current strategy in 50 words or less… Time’s up! No strategy, ergo, no leadership. QED. Ultimately, the electorate needs to take responsibility and I shoulder my share, but given only a choice between dumb and dumber I’ll vote for dumb every time. It appears though that this time we at least have two intelligent choices. However, since both Obama and McCain have been active participants in this inactive government of ours it’s fair to ask why they will be able to demonstrate leadership now when they didn’t in the past?
Senator Obama’s intelligence, communications skills, and charisma have captured the hearts and minds of Americans like no other since JFK—and I’m old enough to make the comparison. Of the two presumptive candidates left standing I believe he has the best chance of winning and actually making a positive change, of being what we’ve lacked for so long, a real leader. But to do so, he needs more than charisma and oratory skills; he needs a strategy, a vision as bold as the ones employed by his (successful) predecessors.
Of the maladies above that confront us, one stands out, unique among the rest: energy. A bit of thought will uncover that what makes energy unique in our list is that the other issues are all manifestations of it. We can actually do something about this, namely on our dependence on oil. It’s interesting that while the economy is still an issue, it’s been downgraded to a symptom of what should be our new mantra, “It’s energy, stupid!”
Having energy as the primary focus is a good start, but then we need to make choices about which of the many energy paths to follow. Again, both candidates, when discussing energy policy, rattle off the standard list of solar, nuclear, wind, biofuels, etc. claiming that we need to do all of these. Unfortunately that just highlights their degree of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge. Any attempt to employ all forms of energy transformation will result in none. We simply don’t have the time or resources, and when a bit of thought is put to each of these, most will be found to fail, in spite of having been pushed by their respective K Street lobbyists.
What we need is not just a replacement for oil, but for the internal combustion engines that need it. We need a wholesale replacement of our current fossil fuel economy with one that will alleviate the symptoms contributing to our demise and will put this country back on track to its rightful place in the world order.
A bit of research will indicate that we have two options for an energy economy replacement: hydrogen and electricity. The oil companies are quick to point out their work on the “hydrogen economy” and almost gleefully tell us that while the idea looks promising, we are decades away from having the infrastructure necessary to support it. Hydrogen economy advertisements portray oil companies as caring global citizens while in actuality it’s allowing them to continue gouging us at the pump for at least the next twenty years…clever PR.
The replacement for our current fossil fuel economy that can be achieved and that uses much of the infrastructure in place today is a Carbonless Electric Economy. Recent breakthroughs in battery technology for use in electric vehicles and solar thermal generation of electricity can use the existing electrical grid to distribute energy to every home and business allowing us to charge our cars overnight, not unlike our cell phones. In addition, the resultant “network” of solar electricity generation, distribution through our existing electric grid, and consumption by electric vehicles will be carbonless end to end.
So, Senator Obama, be a real leader and have a strategy, one that will lift this country back to its rightful place: “It’s an electric economy, stupid!”
Mr. Spicer is the author of Deadly Freedom, a novel based on the real science of clean, abundant energy provided by an electric economy.