Coming from anyone else, the assurance that we, the American people, aren’t stupid would matter little. Coming from Barack Obama—a man so cocksure of his superior intellect that he has never missed an opportunity to belittle the pawns whose fate he controls, thinking they are none the wiser—it is a great burden lifted. (By the way, he didn’t mean you gun-toting Bible thumpers, so just be on your way.)
He conferred this status (notice he didn’t say we were smart, just not stupid) during his weekly address (h/t Weasel Zippers). The money part of his remarks comes at about the 1:15 mark, where he explains:
Now, some politicians always see this as a political opportunity. And since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their same three-point plans for $2 gas. I’ll save you the suspense: Step one, according to them, is drill, step two is drill, and step three is to keep drilling. We hear the same thing every year. We’ve heard the same thing for thirty years. Well, the American people aren’t stupid. [Emphasis added]
Notice the president doesn’t say which politicians see this as a political opportunity during an election year, but obviously he is referring to politicians other than himself. So when he says later in the same address that we need “an all-of-the-above energy strategy” that includes drilling, you have to wonder who he means by we.
As luck would have it, Obama’s own chief propagandist, Jay Carney, clarified that point earlier this week when he proudly announced that new drilling in the “resource-rich” Gulf of Mexico was about to commence, noting moreover that this administration had opened “more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources.” The president was even more emphatic about his drilling bona fides during the State of the Union address in January, when he boasted,“Right now, American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years.”
OK, maybe this seeming desire to have it both ways is a little problematic, but the president is also bullish on alternative energy sources—so problem solved. He even said during his big energy speech in Miami this week that “because of the investments we've made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled,” adding that “we need to double-down on a clean energy industry that's never been more promising.”
But these comments raise other red flags. The first of them is belied by the federal Energy Information Administration, which has revealed that production of renewable energy—biomass, wind, solar and the like—climbed just 12% between 2008 and 2011. That agency also reports that renewable energy won't play an important role in the nation’s energy picture anytime soon, that it will account for just 13% of U.S. energy production by 2035.
In the meantime, the blocking of drilling by Democrats over the past several decades in oil-rich regions such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge have indefinitely deferred America’s dream of energy independence.
Now that the president has come out and expressed his belief that the American people are not stupid, maybe he will abandon foolish intelligence-insulting arguments like those he has been making in the energy debate. Or maybe deep-down he doesn’t think we’re that smart after all.
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