I find this story both delightful and disturbing.

Delightful, because Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), one of the House’s most virulent, deranged anti-environmentalists, called a major plank of Bush’s energy plan "bullshit" and got cold busted for it. The comment came at a press conference where his fellow Californian, Rep. John Doolittle, was touting the mysterious pixie-dust magic of the "hydrogen economy."

Disturbing, because this may be the first time I’ve ever agreed with Pombo. When asked by the sharp-eared CNN reporter who overheard him to explain himself, he said:

“It’s not a short-term solution because we just don’t have the technology to produce it,” he said, adding that the promised hydrogen-powered vehicles are “multimillion-dollar prototypes that nobody’s going to buy.”

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I’m sure Pombo and I would differ considerably about what is an appropriate short-term solution for our energy woes, but he’s right that hydrogen ain’t it. A viable hydrogen vehicle is, optimistically, 10 years out, and who knows how long the full-blown "hydrogen economy" would take. And there’s the small snag that hydrogen requires quite a bit of energy to produce, which just moves the energy problem back a step. And of course that’s the point: It’s a pretty bauble to wave around and distract the public from the fact that Bush neither has nor seems particularly interested in developing a serious response to the oncoming end of the oil economy.

So yes, Bush’s energy plan is bullshit, in sum and in almost every individual part. To the extent Pombo agrees, well, I’m happy he’s saying so. Out loud.

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(Via Kevin Drum)