Friedman’s fantastical SOTU speech
His overall fitness as a pundit aside, The Mustache is once again beating the green drum in the most prime real estate in print media. This week, he urges Bush to take on energy independence and global warming in the State of the Union speech (ha ha ha ha!):
On Tuesday President Bush will deliver his State of the Union address and map out priorities for his last three years. The direction in which America needs to go is obvious: toward energy independence. If Mr. Bush steps up to that challenge, this speech could be a new beginning for his presidency. If he doesn’t, you can stick a fork in this administration. It will be done — because it will have abdicated leadership on the biggest issue of our day. Here’s the speech I’ll be listening for:
[Blah blah blah, Kennedy, moon shot, Middle East, democracy]
With all of this in mind, I am sending Congress the Bush Energy Freedom Act. It is based on ideas first offered by the energy expert Philip Verleger and it argues the following:
Transportation accounts for most of our oil consumption. And many Americans have purchased big cars and S.U.V.’s, expecting gasoline to remain cheap. That is no longer the case. Therefore, I propose creating a government agency that will buy up any gas-guzzling car or truck in America at the original new or used price, and crush it. This national buy-back program will be financed by a $2-a-gallon gasoline tax that will be phased in by 10 cents a month beginning in 2008 — so people know what is coming and start buying fuel-efficient cars right now.
By removing so many gas guzzlers, we will quickly reduce our oil consumption and create a huge demand for new energy-efficient cars from Detroit, which will rescue our auto industry. We have to do something drastic. The Harley-Davidson motorcycle company is worth more today than General Motors! But by sharply raising the gasoline tax, we’ll also make sure that Detroit shifts its fleet to energy-saving plug-in hybrids and hydrogen- and ethanol-fueled vehicles, which will force Detroit to out-innovate Toyota. And by generating so much income from a gasoline tax, we will be able to give gas-tax rebates to lower-income folks and have plenty left over to pay for new investment in education and scientific research.
Impossible? Read my lips: Nothing is impossible when Americans put their hearts and minds to it.
One last thing: I have accepted the resignation of Vice President Dick Cheney, who felt he could not be a salesman for the Energy Freedom Act. I am nominating Jeffrey Immelt — the C.E.O. of General Electric, who has focused G.E.’s innovation around "eco-imagination" — as Mr. Cheney’s replacement.
Love that last bit! Quite a hoot.
Suffice to say, that chances that Bush will say anything even vaguely resembling this — any of it — are vanishingly small.