Posted by: davepidgeon | November 5, 2008

A green road to the White House

You know what would be a killer way for President-elect Barack Obama to signal a new chapter in domestic policy? When Abe Lincoln was elected president, he rode a train into Washington, D.C. on the eve of his inauguration, and I think Obama should do something similar. Here’s why:

Obama insisted that while creating a new energy economy was his No. 1 priority, “we can’t divorce the energy issue from what I believe has to be the dominant political theme underlying everything — the economy, health care, you name it. And that is restoring a sense that we’re growing the economy from the bottom up and not the top down. That’s the overarching philosophical change that we’ve got to have.”

Joe Klein of Time wrote that paragraph, and if Obama’s No. 1 priority is a smarter energy economy, then why not arrive in Washington after a cross-country tour aboard a biofuel bus? Or take a train to promote ridership on public transportation? Make a bold and very public statement that to turn the economy around America has to create manufacturing jobs and to do that we have to create something the rest of the world doesn’t: an abundance of alternative energy.

With unleaded gasoline now at an average of $2.40 per gallon, down 61 cents from a year ago, people I predict will begin using their gas guzzling cars again. We learned recently America’s price point – the cost of a perishable good at which people turn away or change their habits – was about $4 per gallon. When gasoline hit that high mark, people began demanding more fuel-efficient cars or ditching their SUVs for scooters which can get better than 100 miles per gallon. Now that gas prices have slowly dwindled, people will go back to cars with poor gas mileage.

If Obama wants to truly steer the United States away from an oil-dependent nation and build a new self-sufficient American economy, he has to start right away. Why not the week before Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, send a bold message the American people and the world and ride the green rails to Washington?


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