Obama's grab-bag approach, forced by political reality, contains a bit of everything – oil drilling, nuclear, renewables, even coal. But the unifying goal is still less US dependence on foreign oil.
Talk in Washington about “cap and trade” as a way to curb carbon emissions has evaporated like a greenhouse gas. Now, with gasoline prices nearing $4 a gallon and job creation a top priority, there’s talk only of offshore drilling, nuclear power, and domestic shale gas.
That new reality was signaled Wednesday when President Obama spelled out his vision on energy in a speech. Forced to adjust to a GOP-controlled House, he offered a grab bag of solutions, hoping to find a middle ground to achieve any sort of legislative victory on energy.
Like most presidents since the 1973 oil crisis, Mr. Obama may be stymied on the grand issues of energy security, let alone preventing further climate change caused by fossil fuels. Making peace with Republicans on energy policy may not be possible. But at the very least the president has made a savvy move to position himself as an energy activist. He’s also staked out a position that can revive and redirect a national debate.