Yesterday, Mayor Bob Coble of Columbia said President Obama either had been, or would be, invited to address the National Hydrogen Association’s annual conference here in April. The mayor said, rightly, that such would be a great opportunity for the president to demonstrate his seriousness about the "green economy" and energy independence.
I heard the mayor say that yesterday afternoon.
So imagine my surprise to see that the president's first high-profile road trip beyond the Beltway (or one of the first; I'm not really keeping score) was to Elkhart, Indiana, which is suffering double-digit unemployment because…. well, because people aren't buying so many Recreational Vehicles these days.
Now, I consider it to be a BAD thing that all those people are out of work. But as the author of the Energy Party Manifesto, I have to say it's a GOOD thing, in the grand scheme and all that, that fewer people are buying RVs… In other words, I'd like to see all those good people of Elkhart working at good jobs doing something else.
One would think, given the things that he says about green technologies and energy independence, that Obama would think that, too. So I have to puzzle over the choice of Elkhart as a place to go campaign for his stimulus plan that is all about putting people to work AND protecting the environment and making us more energy-independent. It's just an odd setting. I mean, why not choose another town that's hurting, only from people losing their jobs building tubines for windmill farms or something, or printing Bibles or doing something else virtuous.
Obama's speechwriter seems to have been aware of this, so while he empathized with folks and promised jobs, he did NOT promise them jobs making RVs. Nor did he mention, specifically, that they needed to be something OTHER than making RVs, for the good of the country and their own economic future. He finessed it.
But he wouldn't have had to finesse it if he'd just made the speech somewhere else.