Daily Kos: Reenergize America - A Democratic Blueprint (Second Draft)

Reenergize America - A Democratic Blueprint (Second Draft)
by Meteor Blades [Unsubscribe]
Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 07:44:41 PM CDT

[written in collaboration with Jerome a Paris and Devilstower]
(with a hat tip to Doolittle Sothere.)

Almost three weeks ago, Jerome a Paris put together the first draft of what we hope to transform into a bold, consistent, easy-to-understand Democratic energy agenda. Readers were asked to offer your own ideas, and your response was gratifying. Today, we're presenting the Second Draft, in which we've added some of your ideas, further honed ours and polished some of the language, with your assistance.

We're not done yet. This draft won't be the last. So we're asking for your help again, both for content and style. We don't mind if you nitpick. We want to hear your ideas and objections, big and small. Ultimately, of course, somebody has to decide what the Final Version will look like, and that will be the three of us. But for now, every word, every idea and the format itself are fair game for critiquing.

* Meteor Blades's diary :: ::

Dozens of progressive energy proposals are floating around. Apollo Alliance's, the Natural Resource Defense Council's and the National Sustainability Act's, to name a few. Moreover, Senator Harry Reid himself has produced a forward-looking, multifaceted proposal that would head us in the right direction, even though we view its goal of "energy independence" by 2020 as infeasible. Others in the Senate Democratic leadership are creating a party agenda that will also call for energy independence. Senator Joe Lieberman is proposing almost radical energy legislation.

After decades of foot-dragging by leaders in both parties, it's heartening to know that Democratic leaders are coming to understand just how crucial a visionary energy agenda is for our nation's future.

A truly progressive approach cannot, however, be merely a scheme to garner votes in '06 and '08. As long-time advocates for a new energy paradigm at a time when scarcely anyone was listening, the three of us are eager to see rapid changes in government policy, private sector innovation and personal behavior when it comes to energy. However, setting unrealistic timelines is a certain recipe for failure. We don't want Democrats to make promises that can't be kept or establish goals that can't be met. We don't believe in the scattergun approach, nor do we believe in magic bullets.

In the process of generating the Second Draft, we have done our best not to allow the perfect to get in the way of the good. We've taken some of our ideas, some of your ideas and some other people's ideas, including Senator Reid's, and tried to shape them into an integral whole against a reasonable timeline. Even the three of us have disagreements - about coal and nuclear, for instance - so Reenergize America is, from the get-go, a compromise.

As a document, Reenergize America comes in three parts: 1) an introduction to four concise, stand-alone statements of principle describing America's energy situation and what should be done to change it; 2) a brief explanation of each statement; and, 3) specific proposals, most of them legislative, to transform into reality the ideas encompassed in the statements of principle.

As we all know, energy's not a sexy subject for most voters, and they will never get past our statement of principles. But if they only read those, they'll know what we stand for and why this energy plan makes sense. It even fits on a double-entendre bumper-sticker: Reenergize America - Vote Democratic.

Down to business.

Reenergize America - A Democratic Blueprint

As a consequence of the oil embargos of the 1970s, America took a few steps down the right path thanks to President Carter's energy plan of 1977. However, plummeting oil prices in the early 1980s worked to the advantage of politicians who were hostile to conservation, energy efficiency and the development of renewable alternatives. America wasted 25 years during which great strides could have been made toward realizing a world based on new sources of energy.

Faced not with embargos, but rather with a far greater crisis, Congress recently adopted an energy policy that repeats most of the mistakes of the past quarter century. If this policy is not reshaped from bottom to top, we could waste another 25 years, with consequences catastrophic for our society, our political system, our economy and for the environment.

The question we must ask is how to avoid leaving such a legacy to our children and grandchildren.

Daily Kos: Reenergize America - A Democratic Blueprint (Second Draft)


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