The Optics of Obama's Failures

People are starting to worry that President Obama might be wobbling on his visionary "all of the above" program to bring on the green energy millennium, what with $5.00 gas in the Northeast states. 

But don't worry.  Even though the administration will be changing its "optics" on energy by featuring the president reading his TelePrompTer in front of oil wells, the president is still on course, according to an Obama official.

In the coming days and weeks, the official said, Obama will continue a constant drumbeat where he touts his strategy -- including his push for green energy -- while  responding to false attacks on issues about his record on domestic energy production.

But on the "optics" side of things:

"They probably need to be a little clearer in showing that [Obama] does support domestic production," said David Meadvin, a Democratic strategist.

There is nothing quite like standing in front of an oil well to show how much you support domestic oil production, especially in the week after you have called for increasing taxes on Big Oil.

But wait!  It turns out that the reason why gas is hitting $5.00 per gallon in the Northeast but only $4.00 elsewhere is because a number of "critical refineries" on the east coast are losing money and shutting down.  If that is so, the president and his people are shifting to the wrong "optics."  They should have him making speeches in front of spanking new refineries.  Only, of course, the U.S. hasn't built a new refinery in 30 years.  Because of liberals.

Here's a thought experiment.  Suppose that Obama Corporation were a hot stock that you had bought back in the summer of 2008, and you just read that Obama Corporation had conducted a road show touting its global "all of the above" strategy and emphasized its faith in its American employees in their domestic factories, but that market-watchers were worried about the "optics."  What would you think?  You would think it was time to sell.  You would say to yourself that those Obama Corporation execs were no slouches, but they certainly weren't in the same league as the late Steve Jobs.

When people start talking about "optics," you know that they know they are just marking time, making a brave show while they prepare for a strategic retreat.  It couldn't come too soon.

The truth is: we needed the Obama administration.  In the best of all possible worlds, it wouldn't have been necessary to have an Obama era at all.  But we don't live in the best of all possible worlds, and the chief reason why is because liberals won't listen to reason and won't listen to science.  The only way to persuade them that their fantasies stink is when their fantasy is a smoking hole in the ground.

Of course, green energy isn't a smoking hole in the ground -- not yet.  But the smart money is moving its assets away from the ominous cracks in the ground.  And now President Obama is touting algae as an energy source.

There is a simple reason why algae, wind, solar, batteries, and all the rest of the green agenda are never going to be the energy solution of the future.  The reason was developed by Peter Huber and Mark Mills in The Bottomless Well.  It's all about energy concentration. 

People started using coal because its energy is more concentrated than wood.  We use oil in transportation because oil is more concentrated than coal.  And a "gram of U-235 is worth about 4 tons of coal."  You can see the problem with "thin, low-energy-density fuels, however cheap" like wind and solar.  People don't want thin and low.  The "market has paid steep premiums for fuels that pack more energy into weight and space."

But liberals don't like concentrated energy like nuclear, oil, and coal.  They like thin, diffuse energy from wind, solar, and biomass.  Why is that?

You could say that liberal green energy is a liberal war on science, but to assert that, as Rush Limbaugh might say, would be to lower ourselves to their level.  Perhaps it's more of a war on human freedom.  Liberals are a lot like other humans.  They like freedom, but they don't like freedom for people they don't like.

For America, the real hope of the Obama years is that in four years we may score a trifecta of three major liberal fantasies utterly discredited for decades to come: universal health insurance, green energy, and Keynesian inflationism.  One is the liberal war on health freedom, one is the liberal war on energy freedom, and one the war on ordinary financial freedom.

Imagine those three victories in the cause of freedom.  It would be a great inheritance to leave to our grandchildren.  We'll let our liberal friends handle the "optics" on that.

Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  See his and also  At he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.