America’s energy mantra

July 18, 2008

“We’re borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that’s got to change.”

I heard this nicely turned phrase used twice by Al Gore on American network news this morning as part of this event. Seems to me it’s likely to become the new American energy mantra for the next few years.

  • It links together what Obama, McCain and many others have been saying for a while now, wrapping it all in a nice catchphrase.
  • Targets two regions of the world Americans are not comfortable with (and who can blame them?) – China and the Middle East. Gore diplomatically kept Canada out of the equation.
  • It actually works fine for both the alternative-energy crowd and the “clean coal” industry movement. NBC actually got an oilman saying he agrees with 95% with Mr. Gore has been saying. I guess it shows Gore is trying to maintain a balancing act between advancing a progressive environmental agenda and bringing everybody on board.

Political Mpressions watched most of the speech live, see her notes!


From Jimmy Carter to Stéphane Dion?

July 15, 2008

As I mentioned in Today in History 2030, on this day in 1979 Jimmy Carter made his famous “Malaise” speech. A few observations:

Carter was trying to do four things at the same time: a) make amends for his lack of leadership; b) convince people he heard their voice and will now lead; c) repeat his message about the energy crisis; and d) roll out a six-point energy plan.

That must be wh it’s quite long (3621 words – help!). Few pople would read it in extenso and it’s not good TV. The impact would thus be measured by what the media would report about it (it was well received). Today, it would be crucial to line up a long list of supporters to comment the speech on pundit shows.

Carter had a much clearer energy plan in 1979 than Stephen Harper has in 2008. Clarity inspires confidence and competence. Whatever we got now in Canada doesn’t.

Carter’s speech approach (see point 1) might have worked for Stéphane Dion, but he skipped steps a) and b). Again, the man cannot seem to be able to connect with people.