National Clean Energy Summit: Clinton miscellanea
A few more bits from Clinton’s Q&A were of interest.
First, he was asked how he would respond to ordinary people’s pocketbook concerns on energy, and that’s when he really shined. (Responding to average folk was always Clinton’s strength.) He said that of course some of these reforms will raise the unit cost of energy — any time you invest in a new area you raise the cost of doing things the old way. The question is whether the benefits outweigh the costs.
And speaking of the costs, these economic doomsayers hardly ever take into account the rising, crippling costs of the status quo. This is a decade’s worth of work ahead of us, which will create new jobs, which will tighten the labor market, which will raise wages — the benefits to the country’s working class will completely swamp the higher unit costs. If we’d listened to people like this we never would have built the highway system or gone to the moon.
I wish other Dems could be as eloquent and unapologetic about green energy and the working class.
Second, Clinton was surprisingly tepid about politics. When asked directly about the presidential race, he said he preferred Obama’s plan but that McCain was good too — “I’m encouraged by the rhetoric” in the presidential race. Perhaps he hasn’t been paying attention lately. If Dems want to pull out of this tailspin they’re in on energy, it might be advisable to stop praising the other side while its shiv is still stuck in them.
And third, Clinton was asked whether the new president should be given authority to force the building of cross-country transmission lines for wind and solar over NIMBY objections. (Nobody used the words, but eminent domain was clearly implied.) He said “yes.” That makes me very, very nervous.