30 January 2006

SOTU, part uno

In his Friday NY Times column (registration - and possibly a subscription - required to view), Tom Friedman called on President Bush to use Tuesday's State of the Union address to move America "toward energy independence". Here's a brief excerpt:

If Mr. Bush steps up to that challenge, this speech could be a new beginning for his presidency. If he doesn't, you can stick a fork in this administration. It will be done because it will have abdicated leadership on the biggest issue of our day.

Of course, Mr. Friedman goes on to suggest that President Bush should phase in a $2 per gallon gas tax, using the proceeds to buy up SUVs and other gas-guzzlers and also to fund gas-tax rebates to lower-income folks. He concludes that this upward pressure on gas prices will result in vastly increased demand for fuel-efficient vehicles, thus forcing Detroit to shift its production toward these ends and concomitantly forcing Detroit to innovate better than Asian automakers.

Great ideas all, but will it happen? Of course not. Why not? For some initial thoughts on why not, peruse my letter to the NY Times in today's paper. I'll be submitting a longer op-ed piece on this topic in the coming days, tentatively entitled Prometheus v. Mars, so if it doesn't get picked up by the Times (admittedly a very long shot), I'll post it here for you, dear readers, in a week or so.

Meanwhile, if anyone has ideas for drinking or other viewing games to play during SOTU (the State of the Union), feel free to leave them as comments. I expect I'll have a few things to say about the speech on Wednesday, but I'm sure none of my comments will be as funny as whatever The Daily Show with Jon Stewart's take will be.

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