Obama’s Energy Speech: “Malaise II: The Sequel”

Are you old enough to remember what America was like under the leadership of President Jimmy Carter?

If you aren’t, here’s a reminder of what Americans had to endure, as the Carter Administration faced a “Crisis of Confidence:”

At the heart of the internal debate over the administration’s future was a memo by Caddell, Carter’s pollster and resident “deep thinker.”

“What was really disturbing to me,” he remembered, “was for the first time, we actually got numbers where people no longer believed that the future of America was going to be as good as it was now. And that really shook me, because it was so at odds with the American character.” Caddell argued that after fifteen years filled with assassinations, Vietnam, Watergate, and a declining economy, Americans were suffering from a general “crisis of confidence.” Address this fundamental problem, he told the president, inspire the country to overcome it, and you will turn your presidency around.

…On the evening of July 15, 1979, millions of Americans tuned in to hear Jimmy Carter give the most important speech of his presidency. After sharing some of the criticism he had heard at Camp David — including an unattributed quote from the young governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton — Carter put his own spin on Caddell’s argument. “The solution of our energy crisis can also help us to conquer the crisis of the spirit in our country,” the president said, asking Americans to join him in adapting to a new age of limits.

But he also admonished them, “In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does but by what one owns.” Hendrik Hertzberg, who worked on the speech, admits that it “was more like a sermon than a political speech. It had the themes of confession, redemption, and sacrifice. He was bringing the American people into this spiritual process that he had been through, and presenting them with an opportunity for redemption as well as redeeming himself.” Though he never used the word — Caddell had in his memo — it became known as Carter’s “malaise” speech.

Fast forward to the Obama Administration, which Americans have less-than-affectionately dubbed “Carter on steroids.” In a 2011 article titled “Gas Prices: Lessons From the Carter Years,” National Public Radio lamented the Obama redux of the Carter years :

Oil and gas prices are a perennial bane for American presidents. The cycle is familiar by now — they go up, the American people get angry, and they blame the man at the top.

“It’s so visible in our lives,” political consultant Tad Devine tells NPR’s Linda Wertheimer. “Now, through pervasive television coverage, through the Internet and everything else, people are so aware of how much it costs and how quickly it’s rising.”

“There’s growing demand around the world for petroleum products,” Devine says. “China, India — these economies, which are emerging as gigantic competitive economies, are going to rely on petroleum as a principal source of energy.”

“As a result of that competition, I don’t think there is going to be pressure for [petroleum companies] to cut the price,” he says. “I think there’s going to be pressure to raise the price. So we’re really in a fix here.”

No kiddin’, Einstein.

Yesterday, the 44th President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, stepped to the podium to address American’s out-of-control gas prices.  To say that his words were less than reassuring is an understatement.

President Barack Obama hit back on Thursday at election-year Republican criticism of his energy policy, offering a staunch defense of his attempts to wean Americans off foreign oil and saying there was no ‘silver bullet’ for high gas prices.

Obama sought to deflect growing Republican attacks over rising prices at the pump, blaming recent increases on a mix of factors beyond his control, including tensions with Iran, hot demand from China, India and other emerging economies, and Wall Street speculators taking advantage of the uncertainty.

U.S. gasoline prices have jumped nearly 9 cents in the past week to an average $3.61 a gallon, and are expected to rise further toward the $4 mark through the summer driving season and the approach of the Nov. 6 election.

In a visit to the University of Miami less than nine months before the presidential election in which he will seek a second term, Obama offered a modest series of proposals aimed at diversifying Americans’ fuel supplies and increasing energy efficiency.

“It’s the easiest thing in the world (to) make phony election-year promises about lower gas prices,” Obama said.

“What’s harder is to make a serious, sustained commitment to tackle a problem that may not be solved in one year or one term or even one decade.”

Republicans seeking to dislodge Obama from the White House are seeking to pin the higher prices on the Democratic president’s tax and environmental policies they say have hindered domestic production and kept the United States at the mercy of imports. They cite his decision to block the Keystone pipeline that would transport Canadian oil to refineries in Texas.

Repeating there would be no “silver bullet” for America’s energy crunch, Obama highlighted steps already taken to expand domestic production and improve fuel efficiency.

The trio of proposals announced in Miami included a $30 million competition in natural gas technologies and a $14 million program to development algae-based fuel.

Obama repeated calls to roll back tax incentives for the oil industry, and urged Congress to renew a clean energy tax credit. Yet he acknowledged he was at odds with Republicans in Congress over energy.

Lawmakers are deeply divided and little legislative action is expected this year.

Just a reminder:  when Obama took office on January 21, 2009, gas was $1.84 per gallon.

While this inept, unfunny joke of a president is lining his Green Energy Cabal’s pockets with our money, Americans are coming to grips with the realization that we may have to decide very soon if we’re going to use our hard-earned money to buy food to eat, or if we going to have to use that money for gas so that we can make it to our jobs.

In Mississippi, we’re spending 14.2% of our personal income on gasoline.  And it’s worse in other parts of the country.

With viable “Green Energy” transportation decades away, we may have to walk to the polls on November 6th, but I guarantee, wild horses couldn’t keep Americans away this time.

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