The spin doctors, talking heads and special interest groups have surrounded energy policy and prices with a rhetorical fog that obscures the real issue: Michigan and the nation need an "all of the above" balanced energy policy that is based upon common sense.
Hoekstra manages to pander to everyone with this cheap trick of an editorial. The first point on Pete's 5-point attack - energy efficiency. Pete says that is the way to reduce costs, and he is correct there, but he totally ignores the fact that we already passed the bills last year in Michigan that are providing for that. Here's Pete:
Reducing the demand for gasoline, electricity, natural gas and other energy will help hold down prices. In the long run, families and businesses could use the money saved through energy efficiency for other goods and services, helping to strengthen our economy.
No doubt. That's what the governor and the Democrats fought for last year, and passed in the energy plan that the Republicans tried to obstruct. Here is today's reality:
Consumers Energy is embarking on one of the largest energy-efficiency efforts in the state's history — a six-year, $500 million plan to help residents and businesses save on energy bills.
"The biggest share of the money is going toward rebates, directly for customers," said Terry Mierzwa, manager of marketing, energy efficiency and research for the Jackson-based utility.
The six-year goal of the program is to reduce electric usage by 6 percent and gas usage by 4 percent.
The energy bills approved last year by Gov. Jennifer Granholm require a program like this but do not include specific penalties if goals are not met.
If there were penalties, you can bet that Pete would complain about that, but the important point here is that he blows right by the fact that we are already moving down the efficiency road in Michigan, thankyouverymuch. And we really should also point out that the Obama stimulus provides for $325 million in Michigan for weatherization and efficiency programs - and Pete voted against that. Hoekstra and the Republicans like to talk the talk on efficiency, but they sure wouldn't lift a finger to help us get there.
Next up? A bone for the Palin Republicans! A shot at the stimulus, that provides the efficiency Pete put first on the list and yet voted against mind you, because darn it, we need to drill, baby, drill, preferably in ANWR!
Unfortunately, the recent federal stimulus package did nothing to encourage the expansion of American oil and natural gas supplies through offshore energy exploration, development of shale oil deposits or drilling in ANWR.
We have been through all this before. The oil companies did not put their record profits in exploration for new domestic sources because there isn't any guarantee of return. Is Pete suggesting that the stimulus should have been given to the oil companies? Seriously? That would have gone over well, don't you think? Moving on...
Hoekstra's third point is basically "we need affordable energy because demand is going up". Duh. Throwaway non-argument, and see point 1 above for the answer to that.
Fourth point, Pete embraces and denies alternative energy at the same time. We need to move towards it...
Renewable energy will play a larger role in our national energy mix in coming years, but it cannot replace generating units. The stimulus package included $79 billion to support renewable energy development, but nothing for nuclear power.
... but it's too expensive anyway, and that Granholm has "stymied" coal plants!
Obama and Granholm are willing to gamble huge sums of taxpayer dollars on energy sources that may never be economical while ignoring the need for reliable and affordable energy.
So which is it Pete? Will it "play a larger role in our national energy mix"? Or will it "never be economical"? How does Pete propose we get to the point of a "larger role" if we don't work on making it "economical" now?
Summing up the Hoekstra strategy: Obama "good" on the popular stuff, "bad" when it hurts Pete with the conservatives, and it's all Granholm's fault anyway. He ends the editorial with a parting shot at "political correctness". Yawn.
Live it, learn it, because you are going to hear a lot of it for the next year and a half. Hoekstra will be all over the board as he tries to slide his way into office; attacking the Democrats while embracing their "common sense" plans, throwing bones to the 30% base, and never, ever offering any concrete ideas of his own as he serves up these empty editorials that will be short on substance and long on the buzz words of the day.
Maybe we should call him "Tricky Pete".