My best-known Energy Party think-tank fellow called yesterday pretty excited that Tom Friedman had mentioned our 55-mph speed limit plank. The column in question appeared on our op-ed page today. Here’s the passage in question:
It baffles me that President Bush would rather go to Saudi Arabia twice in four months and beg the Saudi king for an oil price break than ask the American people to drive 55 mph, buy more fuel-efficient cars or accept a carbon tax or gasoline tax that might actually help free us from, what he called, our “addiction to oil.”
That was just a portion of the overall message of the column, which is that our nation’s strategic failures — chief among them the failure to adopt a rational energy policy (or any energy policy, really) after 9/11 — have left the nation in a multifaceted bind that is going to be phenomenally difficult, if not impossible, to get out of.
“Call it the triple deficit,” said Mr. Rothkopf. “A fiscal deficit that will soon have us choosing between rationed health care, sufficient education, adequate infrastructure and traditional levels of defense spending, a trade deficit that has us borrowing from our rivals to the point of real vulnerability, and a geopolitical deficit that is a legacy of Iraq, which may result in hesitancy to take strong stands where we must.”
The first rule of holes is when you’re in one, stop digging. When you’re in three, bring a lot of shovels.
The metaphor is inadequate, because one, just one, of those shovels would be energy policy, of which 55 mph would be just one essential facet among many. In fact, that one facet could be a bellwether as to whether we have a chance, even a very slim one, to turn things around. To have any hope, we’re going to have to achieve a phenomenal bipartisan consensus to do everything envisioned in the Energy Party Manifesto. And let me say it one more time: That’s just to have an outside chance.
You don’t want to slow down to 55? Guess what, neither do I. But if we’re not willing to do that, something that is such a minor sacrifice as that, then forget the rest. Our nation is doomed to accelerate into decline.
To hear the voice of one American who is flat ready to do what it takes, listen to the audio of Samuel Tenenbaum’s phone message.
Now, as Jimmy Malone said to Eliot Ness (in the story, anyway): "What are you prepared to do?" And if your answer is that you are prepared to do that which is convenient, that which pleases you — ideologically, or economically, or in whatever way — I ask, "And then what are you prepared to do?"
Join the movement. Join the Energy Party, before it’s too late for America.