Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Is it hot here or is it just me?

Gosh, with hurricanes threatening to submerge the gulf coast, and scientists discovering accelerating melting of the arctic icecap and oil prices doing whatever is the opposite of free fall, isn't it nice that W. suggests we might at least dally with the notion of be coming better "conservers" of energy?

His declaration, as Dan Froomkin points out, was hardly a call for sweeping conservation reforms:

Bush was talking very specifically about how Hurricane Rita, on the heels of Hurricane Katrina, had affected the distribution of gasoline and that the administration had relaxed a handful of rules to minimize any disruptions. And he spoke about some problems getting gas to retailers in Houston.

It was in that very specific context that he ad libbed the following:

"[W]e can all pitch in by using -- by being better conservers of energy. I mean, people just need to recognize that the storms have caused disruption and that if they're able to maybe not drive when they -- on a trip that's not essential, that would [be] helpful. The federal government can help, and I've directed the federal agencies nationwide -- and here's some ways we can help. We can curtail nonessential travel. If it makes sense for the citizen out there to curtail nonessential travel, it darn sure makes sense for federal employees. We can encourage employees to carpool or use mass transit. And we can shift peak electricity use to off-peak hours. There's ways for the federal government to lead when it comes to conservation."

Is he even saying this new kick should last more than a few days? Who knows? Either way, it's a far cry from announcing a major policy shift. But the press picked up the story as if he were declaring the moral equivalent of war.

Of course, as noted by Jon Stewart on TDS, the fact that our petro-prez even acknowledges some small, no doubt temporary conservation might be a good thing is the real shocker.

Does this mean that sometimes, just sometimes, actual reality seeps into BushCorp™'s inner sanctum? One can hope. For even if E.J. Dionne's assertion that the Bush era is over, we've still got to live with him for another 3 and a half years. Let's just hope we can at least minimize the harm he yet can cause.

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