Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Energy and Immigration - Perspectives

Two op-eds in yesterday’s Post examine “big picture” initiatives that are not currently receiving much media coverage, given all the focus on the recession:

(1) Regarding energy policy, Robert Samuelson criticizes Obama’s near-exclusive focus on federal investment in wind and solar power. Samuelson wants more emphasis on domestic oil and natural gas production – he cites in particular to the potential of exploiting the reserves on the Outer Continental Shelf and the “oil shale” located in Colorado. Samuelson says that the administration is creating a false dichotomy between “green” and traditional energy sources, since wind and solar are used to generate electricity whereas oil is (and will be) the primary source for transportation.

This is an interesting piece because I think of Samuelson as a liberal and wouldn’t expect him to question the conventional (liberal) wisdom that “green energy” should be the government’s number one energy priority.

219. How would Thomas Friedman respond to Samuelson’s critique of Obama’s policy – in particular his refusal to emphasize domestic oil production? It seems like Friedman thinks in terms of the geopolitical effects of energy policy, so perhaps he’d find points of agreement, but Friedman is also tremendously gung-ho on green energy.

(2) Regarding immigration policy, E. J. Dionne says that Obama is essentially kicking-the-can down the road by stating, last week, that the administration would “begin” to address immigration reform. Dionne’s take – which I agree with – is that the Democratic coalition, and moderates who voted for Obama, are seriously divided and/or undecided in their feelings about a “proper” federal immigration policy. Dionne does say that Rahm Emmanuel has recently begun to talk more about immigration policy, whereas he used to shun the issue while in Congress.

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