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Energy vs. Energ⁠i⁠z⁠i⁠ng

By: The James Madison Institute / April 18, 2012

The James Madison Institute

Blog

April 18, 2012

By Bob Sanchez, JMI Policy Director
Posted April 18, 2012
President Obama’s less-than-stellar approval numbers, the rising price of gasoline, and the nation’s anemic economic recovery appear to have prompted an opportunistic campaign to energize his lethargic base.Step one came when public criticism of a 30-year-old law student’s claim that she was entitled to require other people – even those with moral objections – to pay for her contraceptives was somehow portrayed as “a war against women.” Mr. Obama even hosted a White House event to exploit this campaign theme, which is designed to energize the ardent feminists within his party’s base.Step two came when Mr. Obama’s allies in the civil rights movement seized upon the tragic death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin as a way to rally African Americans and other minorities, who inarguably have legitimate and long-standing grievances about racial profiling. In this instance, however, demagogues such as the Rev. Al Sharpton – rather than wait for this case to proceed and for the evidence to be heard in a court of law – have employed strident rhetoric and rabble-rousing techniques to turn the incident into a high-tech lynching of the shooter, George Zimmerman. Fanning the flames on both sides of a racial divide that many Americans of good will had hoped was healing is beyond reprehensible.   Step three came courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose critics may be forgiven for imagining that “EPA” stands for “Economic Prevention Authority.” To appease the environmental extremists among Mr. Obama’s core supporters, the agency quietly adopted rules and regulations that could gradually preclude the use of America’s most abundant energy source – coal – to generate electricity. This comes atop other steps that ravaged individuals’ property rights and usurped the authority of states to deal with the water-quality problems solely within their borders.Granted, both parties appeal to their political bases. In the 2012 campaign, however, the President’s re-election campaign is amassing unprecedented sums of money, some of it from “bundlers” and some of it from business interests that have benefited fromWashington’s bipartisan epidemic of crony capitalism – a corrupt system in which the government rather than the free marketplace picks the winners and losers. Under this system, the winners – of tax breaks, government loans, and outright grants of the taxpayers’ money — are almost invariably the very same entities that contributed to the governing party’s campaign coffers. Looking through a Solyndra lens, Mr. Obama’s only viable energy policy appears to be energizing his political base.