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Kicking the Oil Addiction: Bush Lied, Again

Posted on Feb 6, 2006
Illustration by Karen Spector

By Molly Ivins

I like to think that Republicans are having fun. They’re such cards. What a wheeze, what a jape. Talking about energy independence in the State of the Union address! President Bush said “America is addicted to oil” and we will “break this addiction.” Oh what a good trick to see if anyone thought he actually meant it!

I’m not going to embarrass the perennial suckers who fell for it by identifying them, but I assure you they include some well-known names in journalism. Boy, I bet they feel like fools, having written those optimistic columns pointing to how Bush had made a fine proposal—cut oil imports from the Middle East by 75% by 2025—and people should take it seriously and stop dissing him.

Of course, the next day the administration trotted out Energy Secretary Sam Bodman and Alan Hubbard, director of the president’s National Economic Council, to assure us the president didn’t mean it. Bodman explained, “That was purely an example.” A “for instance.” Like, we could set a goal like that. Actually, we could do that without breaking a sweat: set fuel efficiency standards at 40 miles per gallon in 10 years (hybrids already get higher mileage now), and you save 2.5 million barrels a day, just what we import now from the Mideast.

According to Knight Ridder, “Asked why the president used the words ‘the Middle East’ when he didn’t really mean them, one administration official said Bush wanted to dramatize the issue in a way that ‘every American sitting out there listening to the speech understands.’ The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because he feared that his remarks might get him into trouble.”

Aw. Let’s see, Bush lied so “every American sitting out there listening to the speech understands.” It’s our fault. We’re so dumb, if he doesn’t lie, we don’t get it. Of course, those sophisticates who pay attention to stuff like the budget, where they decide how to spend the money, were already aware that the $150 million (a truly pitiful amount by Washington standards) Bush promised would go to making biofuels more competitive is $50 million less than what was in last year’s budget for that purpose.


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But, you are not to assume that Bush has given up on the Dick Cheney plan to drill our way to energy independence just because he didn’t mention it in his speech. Last month, the Department of the Interior released a plan that will open 590,000 acres in Alaska’s Western Arctic Reserve for drilling. The land has been protected for decades.

The head of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Alaska Project, Chuck Clusen, said: “Scientists, sportsmen and conservation groups all agree we should protect the last 13% of the most sensitive habitat in the Western Arctic’s Northeast area. Eighty-seven percent was already open. The Bureau of Land Management decided to hand all of it over to the oil companies…. We can drill every last acre of wilderness, and it won’t make us any more secure. We only have 3% of the world’s oil, and the Middle East has 66%. Do the math. We can’t drill our way to energy independence.”

What a good joke.

And this guy Boehner,  John Boehner, the new Republican majority leader, elected because of Tom DeLay’s unfortunate indictment, what a gagster this guy is, what a zany madcap. He ran as a reform candidate! Har, har, har, har! This is a guy who’s up to his neck in the K Street Project, in which conservative lobbyists and politicians walk hand in hand. Boehner has such a highly developed sense of ethics, he once distributed checks from the tobacco lobby on the floor of the House of Representatives.

But now that he’s been elected, it’s time to get serious, and Boehner has already backed away from Speaker Dennis Hastert’s proposal to actually ban (gasp!) gifts and trips from lobbyists. Boehner figures it’s enough just to report them. That’ll take care of everything.

I tell you, this bunch of cutups just keeps the fun coming. Just a few weeks ago, the House of Representatives cut $16 billion from Medicaid over 10 years, which means states will increase co-payments on poor people and drop preventive care—which will cost more in the long run, but what the hey. They also cut $12.7 billion in student aid and loan programs over five years, because who needs that? And cut $1.5 billion in child support enforcement in the next year, which is positively brilliant and will result in a drop of at least $8.4 billion in child support collected over the next 10 years. Oh, and a measly cut of $577 million in foster care over five years, making it harder to take care of neglected and abused children, who probably did something to deserve it in the first place.

Now here’s a little howler: Bush proposes cutting $36 billion from Medicare over the next five years only ...  wait for it ... he’s not cutting the money, he’s saving it! A $36-billion Medicare savings. That’s so clever.

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By jimbo, July 16, 2006 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

boehner and bush are SO corrupt it’s enough
to make you puke….  them all out of
office, every single one of the CROOKS.

Time/time again politicians have proven
themselves compulsive liars

and to think of it, they are managing
what rightfully is ours…  not anymore
federal roads being sold off to foreign
companies = toll roads national weather
service will be privatized to senators
private weather company, ect. etc.


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By Renee, March 16, 2006 at 10:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Molly, you need to check your facts on how much oil is in the US and Canada (as mentioned by Janet #3135.  The US has enough oil to be independent from the Middle East.  If you can’t get that easy one correct, why should I believe any of your other facts.

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By Carol Rose, February 9, 2006 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Molly - I sure do wish you would run for president - I, and a lot of others, would leap at the chance to vote for you.  Your columns are an indispensable part of my day. You are always right on target and no B.S. - Thanks again

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By GuitarsandMore, February 8, 2006 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I know it is popular to mistrust the president and everything he says and I hate to be the one to rain on all of your enthusiastic negative comments but this new technology is actually going to be built.  In fact, if you follow the link I have given you above you will see that the Clark County, Nevada power company is building the worlds largest Solar Power source starting in July. This will not wait twenty years.  They are starting it this year.

Is the president the one building the power plant?  No.  He just stands up there and says this is what we should do because people like me told him to say it.  It’s you and me and the power companies and all of us that have to do the work.

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By James Jones, February 8, 2006 at 9:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wonder why those taking issue with Molly are not taking issue with the speech’s deception? If you think Molly is lying, email the Energy Secretary himself and ask him if he was mis-quoted by Kevin G. Hall of Knight-Ridder newspapers. Odds are, you know she isn’t lying, but believe that Presidential mendacity is one of those inherent Constitutional rights we’re hearing so much about, lately, from the same crowd who don’t believe there is an inherent right to privacy granted to citizens by the same document.

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By, February 8, 2006 at 8:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Molly , right on . To beleieve Bush , one has to have faith .I’m against faith. An atheist web page claims you as on e of us. Are you?MORGAN -LYNN LAMBERTH

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By, February 8, 2006 at 8:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Molly , people have to have faith in Bush . I’m against faith. Are you a fellow aatheist as a n atheist web page says?MORGAN-LYNN LAMBERTH

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By John Patterson, February 8, 2006 at 8:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Metternich reborn!

‘cept now its Texans instead of Austrians…


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By marie, February 8, 2006 at 8:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anyone but me remember the energy crisis in 1979? I sat for hours waiting in line to fill the gas tanks of working members of my family.  I don’t remember huge prices or profits. I remember that enthanol was common in fuel in the East but we were frightened into not using it as it would damage our cars.  I remember widely known tax breaks for energy saving home improvements.  I remember that Carter dealt with the taking of hostages in Iran without a single life lost.  I remember when the NEA and AARP were among the most powerful lobbyists in DC. I guess George and his cohorts were in some kind of fog at that time and don’t remember how to deal with an energy crisis.

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By Paul Richardson, February 7, 2006 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yeah Yeah, that’s the ticket, I… I… kissed Morgan Fairchild…. whom I’ve seen naked….

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By Snooty Boots, February 7, 2006 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Molly, you kewel! I want to show a Republican friend of mine this article. I’m not sure her blinders come off though, hmmm?

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By W. White, February 7, 2006 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bush: “... cut oil imports from the Middle East by 75% by 2025..”

The next day, Energy Secretary ‘clarified’ Bush’s statement, saying that the 75% cut would be from ‘the projected amount of what the U.S. would have imported from the Middle East in 2025..’ In other words, a decrease from an increase. So it could be very little cut at all.

BUT WAIT! There is even more to this lie than meets the eye.

I know we can estimate the total amount of oil imports in 2025 (afterall, that has been on a steady upward slope for some time now). But Middle East imports in 2025’? Who can say how much we will buy from one particular source in any given year? No one! So the Energy Secretary said, in effect, that Bush meant to say that he might cut 75% from an unknowable amount.

THEREFORE, (1) Not only did Bush hoodwink much of the mainstream press with a sound bite, as Molly pointed out, (2) not only was his Energy Secretary forced to issue a ‘clarification’ the very next day, but, the greatest insult to our intelligence was that (3) the clarification itself was a logical blackhole.

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By arnold outlaw, February 7, 2006 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If we truly had freedom and people mattered then the world would be a better place….the few are neglecting the rights of the many who truly oppose the war….let’s look at downsizing and what that actually entails making more money and increasing the workload of the few thereby increasing profits for whom?  I would profess that as a people we should not continue to engage the work environment whereas we should get more for our labor or let the owners do their own work.

They cannot do it alone and all the empires would crumble as they should for the gross unfairness by which they seek to divide an conqueror

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By Dan Kallem, February 7, 2006 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Here’s a definition of a budget cut, lessening or eliminating funding for programs that do little but further US military/corporate imperialism and aggression abroad; aggression that benefits only those already in power while doing little for the rest of us (save keeping gas artificially low enough in price to allow us to drive to Wal-Mart to buy cheap Chinese goods!).

Cut, say, 25-35% of the incredibly bloated Defense department budget, and begin focusing more on “defense” than naked “democracy-building” aggression. Cut funding for the unauthorized Presidential “Intelligence” Agencies, the CIA and the NSA, whose budgets and means are not examined, let alone revealed to Congress (in direct contravention of the goals of the founders to provide transparency into the government). Here’s a budget cut; eliminate the incredible tax loopholes that allow job-and profit-exporting companies to benefit from the American market, while at the same time dodging their very real responsibility to the greater good of the society that makes their existence possible. And finally, here’s yet one more budget “cut” for you—stop the Feds from continually lowering the tax burden on the super-rich. This last suggestion won’t happen, of course, as long as the very small numbers of super-rich folks who own and run this country have their lackeys in office doing their every bidding.

Thanks—as always—to Ms. Ivins for her timely, spot-on and at times even funny post. keep up your good work; many of us are paying attention…

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By Matty, February 7, 2006 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sounds like Bush is finally talking about doing the right thing…time to drill, time to cut, finally.

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By Dave, February 7, 2006 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I love how Lefty Ivins love to reference anonymous sources for her most scathing and character-damaging arguments.  I stopped reading her as-usual looney leftist drivvle as soon as I read that part.  Gimme a break Ivins.  Hopefully no one will leak the name of that “anonymous source” who is an important “official,” to discredit him and start another “Plamegate,” thus giving the mainstream media another excuse to crucify George W. Bush.  Good Lord, how many times can you tar and feather one man?  What good is it doing other than slowing down the already sluggish and corrupt (both parties) government?  Stop wasting our time Molly and lay off the hippie pills.

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By Ryan Pinion, February 7, 2006 at 8:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good call!

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By Noodle, February 7, 2006 at 8:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s really brilliant when you think about it.  Can’t get a student loan?  Join the army.  Abused and neglected?  Join the army.  Just out of jail?  Join the army.  Our whole society is being twisted in order to form a permanent under class that will have no choice but to….wait for it….join the army!  Oh, and the NSA hearings?  A sham.  Even if Congress issues warrants and injunctions and even if Bush says he has stopped….how are we going to know?  As the C in C, his word is law to NSA, CIA, FBI, Army, Navy, Air Force.  NO ONE SERVING IN THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES OR WITH ANY GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY CAN DISREGARD A PRESIDENTIAL ORDER.  I really don’t see why he just doesn’t say ‘OK, I made a boo boo.  I’ll stop now.’ and just keep doing what he want to do.  If he is to be stopped, he must be removed.  Then Cheny will continue and he’ll have to be removed.  Then Hastert will continue ad infinitem.  It’s a no win situation.  George W. Bush will go to his grave as one of the greatest American Presidents and there is nothing anyone can do about it.  The sooner the world realizes that, the sooner we can ‘relax and enjoy it’.

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By Reed Shipman, February 7, 2006 at 7:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You write about cuts to various social programs. What is your definition of a budget cut? Could it be that your the real cut-up here.


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By Janet, February 7, 2006 at 6:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Alberta in Northern Canada has more oil then Saudi Arabia, and enough for well into the next century. It is plentiful It is cheap It is 69% owned by Americans, Americans could ship it south if Imperial oil wanted so where are they shipping your oil to China? to India? keeping it off the market to create price increases?  or perhaps to Iraq I don’t know of any humvee’s or armed forces vehicles anywhere running on alternative fuels. Perhaps Rumsfeld needs to green up the army’s vehicles.

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By harlan york, February 7, 2006 at 6:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

lies lies lies that is all this president has done from the national gaurd on. what a jokester.  you heard about the flood bush had in his crawford home,it ruined two books in his bathroom,bush was real upset as he wasnt through colloring one of them.

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By Jay Ossiander, February 6, 2006 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As usual, Molly is right one the money. She needs to rebut the state of the union for the Democrats. Molly for President!

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