Thursday, February 02, 2006

Are the President's pants... On Fire?

Thanks to Knight Ridder's Kevin J. Hall:

WASHINGTON - One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.

What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025.

But America still would import oil from the Middle East, because that's where the greatest oil supplies are.

But you're saying to yourself, "Hey! He seemed pretty specific about that, didn't he? I can't recall exactly how that went..." To which I respond, it went a little like this:

We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We'll also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. (Applause.)

Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. (Applause.) By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy, and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past. (Applause.)

And yet, when asked about it by reporters:

"This was purely an example," Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said.

Hrrmmm... I'm starting to sense a familiar pattern of deception coming from the White House... but it's not quite gregarious enough yet. It needs something that isn't quite a lie, something that's just a sort of half-truth that they can claim they're being criticized about when they're criticized about the lie...

Through the first 11 months of 2005, the United States imported nearly 2.2 million barrels per day of oil from the Middle East nations of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq. That's less than 20 percent of the total U.S. daily imports of 10.062 million barrels.

That'll do.

So, to recap:
A: The President announced in the SOTU the intent to replace more than 75% of our imports on oil from the Middle East by 2025.

B: The Middle East is responsible for less than 20% of our imported oil. Since we import ~60% of our oil, off-the-cuff math implies that we import 12% of our total oil consumed from the Middle East.

C: And yet, apparently he was lying--let's call a spade a spade, shan't we? And further off-the-cuff math tells us that if he's only referring to reducing our oil consumption by that much, he boldly intends to cut down our oil consumption by ~9% over the next 20 years. Although I will admit I would be impressed if he could even manage to keep it even over the next two.

D: Yes, I realize we're treading on a bit thin ice here in reference to our forte, with three consecutive posts about the SotU. Sorry, but I'm a politics junkie--and I'll officially claim that this matters since it indicates how far he intends to take his initiatives on research funding. Which is apparently not very.

(via Washington Monthly)

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