Friday, May 30, 2008

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times...and then just expect that other countries are going to say 'OK'...That's not leadership. That's not going to happen."

This was a statement made by Senator Obama last week during a campaign stop in Oregon and, not surprisingly, it didn't get a whole lot of press coverage. I think it should have because I think this statement says a lot about Obama's mindset and how he views America. One has to ask: What is he saying here?

For a moment you may think that he is trying to solidify the radical Left vote. These are the true hate-America folks. These are the ones who think that America is bad and will always be until we voluntarily surrender our global role as economic, political and military superpower while also transferring our wealth to the third world. These are the folks who love Obama's above statement. But, in truth, he already has them solidly in his corner. It's been a long time since the kooks have been so fired up over a candidate. So there's no need to pander to them with dumb statements like this...unless Obama really meant what he said, and then we have a problem. In that case, Obama may be grouping himself with those folks, and that makes me a bit nervous.

Before I get into all that, I want to make a few points so that my readers can soak up Obama's words with the proper perspective, something other than "America is the root of all evil". First, the US economy is the largest in the world. No other country even comes close. And since our economy is so big, that means that we have the greatest impact on global markets. As our economy goes, so goes the world. Consumerism is a big part of our economy. Strong consumers mean a strong economy, which means a strong global market. So maybe Obama shouldn't be too critical of America's spenders. This is a simplification, of course, but you get the basic point.

Second, the US is the world's leading food producer, again by a wide margin. Today, most of the world's nations depend on food imports to feed their people so, again, if our economy goes bad then many bad things will happen to many people worldwide. Third, America is the most charitable nation in the world. For example, private American citizens gave $1.8 billion in tsunami aid, dwarfing what any government, including the US government, contributed. We gave $78 million in earthquake aid to Pakistan, at a time when that nation has been less-than-cooperative in the war on terror. Annually, private American citizens donate one-quarter of a trillion dollars to charity, and this DOES NOT include what's given at their places of worship. This kindness is unprecedented in human history. No other group of private citizens has ever been so generous with their time and money. Suggesting we are gluttonous and greedy is unfair.

And fourth, let's not forget the other sacrifice we make for the world, that of giving our sons and daughters for liberty. We send our soldiers to die so that other people, who sometimes don't even like or appreciate us, can have freedom. Every person on this planet who lives in freedom does so because of the blood and treasure sacrifice of the American military. This is a simple fact that is all-too-often overlooked or forgotten. Now, back to the Senator's comment.

As I said, for a moment it appears that Obama considers his fellow Americans to be gluttonous, greedy and selfish. He appears to have a problem with our consumerism and he opposes our behavior for the sake of America being more appealing to "other countries".

In light of the fact that we drive the world's economy (where would China be without the American consumer?), feed the world with our crops, protect the world with our soldiers and bring aid to the world in times of need, I personally think that the approval from other countries is a given. If it's not, then we're probably talking about countries that are unappreciative, are basic enemies of America, seek to weaken us, are themselves very greedy, or simply just don't like us and probably never will. In that case, why care if they are "OK" with our lifestyle? Chances are they won't approve of us regardless of what we do. So what's Obama saying?

Well, if you know his political philosophy (and sadly many of his supporters don't) then you know that he is very much a government-solve-the-problem kind of guy, which again bothers me given the above statement. So I think he's driving at government action here. I'm wondering if Obama is somehow suggesting that we should regulate (through some governmental way) what kind of vehicles people drive, how much they eat, and how much energy they consume at home. You can decide that for yourself.

At any rate, Obama apparently thinks the world doesn't like us and, despite my facts, he seems to understand and empathize with them. Again, you can decide whether or not to agree. And don't worry, I won't ask what Obama's thermostat sits on at home, even though I'm sure it's not higher than 72 degrees.

Americans consume a lot, that's true. But we also produce a lot. So I'd say our consumption falls within the "our fair share" range of things. And we donate MUCH more than our fair share, especially considering the lives we give for others around the world. In light of this, all in all I'd say the "other countries" of the world come out pretty good in the deal. Obama thinks we should back off and consume less than our fair share so these other countries will approve of us. I guess that will be up to the voters.


Anonymous said...


Rarely has so much been inferred from so little as in your comment.

I tried to find the the quote as reported by Googling it. I found pages of bloggers comments such as your own--you were the last on p.2 and the 4th on p. 3.

In case you haven't filled up your vehicle w/ gas lately or bought groceries, let me share these anecdotes w/ you. I just returned from a trip to the east coast. the cost of the palne ticket was about $100.00 more than 8 months ago. Mostly, I was in CT, MA, and ME. In CT, I set a personal record, filling up my younger daughter's vehicle w/ fuel: $65.80. I never b/f even paid $60.00 per tank. We averaged > 27 mph on the tank of gas we replaced. The price per gallon for the lowest octane, 87, was well over $4.00 per gallon.

My wife, who does most of the coupon clipping and grocery shopping except when she is abroad advises that in the past 4 months our grocery bills have risen 25%.

Oil executives testifying b/f Congress cite the market law of supply and demand. Who am I to gainsay them?.

I live in CO. You might describe where I live as an exurb outside of a suburb. I live in the land of the SUV. I do not own one. If the road conditions are such that it is unsafe for my front wheel drive car, it is not safe to drive.

Are SUV's necessary? My friend owns horses and she transports them by trailer towed by a Chevrolet Suburban. Do I begrudge her her SUV? No.

But tell me this. What is the purpose of a Hummer that averages way < 15mph. The owners' use of fuel, which I deem wasteful, directly impacts the price of my fuel and my groceries. If your thermostat is set @ 72 degrees rather than 66 degrees, I am affected.

I will leave your comments regarding consumerism for another day except to say this. The fundamental problem w/ our economy is that it is based on consumerism and the packaging and repackaging of debt. If the price of fuel increases like it has--I do not have the figure but in 12 months I would say at least 20-25% and the price of my food has risen 25%, that reduces the amnoung of my discretionary spending, i.e. my ability to consume and fuel our economy.

Our economy runs on oil. The amount of oul is finite and the price of oil seems to be going up and up. Even if the price drops from week to week, it will never drop to levels we saw a year ago, much less 8 years ago. Doesn't it make sense to use less oil if we can? The vehicle that gets you from hither to yon @ 25 mph does so as well as the one that gets you from point to point @12 mph.

Maybe Sen. Obama wants us to consume less oil so that the majority of us who are not uber rich, have money to fuel our economy.

Smell the coffee, Doc. And while you are at it, check the price of coffee as compared t a year ago.

While you are so smelling and comparing, ask yourself if the average American's income has increased commensurately w/ the price of fuel?


The Loop Garoo Kid

Dan Trabue said...

For a moment you may think that he is trying to solidify the radical Left vote. These are the true hate-America folks.

It WAS a great statement on his part, but why does believing he's correct have anything to do with hating America?

I love America. I want us to live with personal and societal responsibility. I want America to live up to our greatest ideals.

I don't hate America. I do agree with Obama's statement.

Can you comprehend that you can do both?

As to the statement itself, we factually CAN'T all continue to hyperconsume at the rate we're consuming. There aren't enough resources. It's just a statement of facts.

And, again, one can state facts without hating America.

Dan Trabue said...

And, for the record:

2000: Gas prices - less than $30/barrel

2004: $50/barrel

2007 (April): $70/barrel

2008 (April): ~$130/barrel


Kristina said...

While the idea that you should not drive when it is unsafe to drive a car is a sound one, and I do not, my husband does not have that option. There are many emergency personel that must get out there and take care of the idiots that do drive (and get in wrecks, or drive off the road, or get stuck--it's my husband's job as National Guard to 'unstuck' them).

On the other hand, the fact is that we have a free country. I want it to stay free. The idea that the government would tell what to drive, when to drive it, how far to drive it... Or, what temperature to set my themometer on... or how much to eat? Seriously, how much to eat? Each person needs a different amount of food. While I don't support obesity, when I was 5'4" and weighed 97 lbs, I ate enough for 2 grown men because my matabolism was so high--and that's without excercising. How would they regulate something like that?

And, why would we want them to? This is about personal responsibility. I don't want the government running my life.

And, one more thing. While, demonstrably, the price of food has gone up, through smart shopping, my grocery bill has dropped by half over the last 6 months. I am buying the same food. I am just shopping smarter and getting better deals. Most people 'don't have time' to shop that way. Maybe they'll start making time.

I don't agree that our economy is in a tailspin. Oh, sure it is in a downturn, but quite frankly, that is what economies do. They go up and down. Kind of like the climate; it warms up and cools off. Looking at every little bump in the road can stop you from realizing that the road is still there to be driven.

Anonymous said...


I would love to know how you are shopping smarter as I think our family was shopping smart b/f our grocery bills (This includeds not only food but also basic household items like laundry soap, etc.) rose 25%.

W/ respect to driving, of course some will be requirred to drive no matter what the conditions, but I was speaking as to non essential essentail driving, which may include going to work for some.

I think you have touched on something w/ respect to personal responsibility. When it comes to the consumption of petroleum products, we can be responsible and consume less or be more efficient.

My point about the Hummer was that buying one and driving one seems to be a personal choice which has an effect beyond the owner/driver. Meanwhile, I heard on the radio this morning that the manufacturer may stop making Hummers, which I presume to be a response to the market.


Dan Trabue said...

My point about the Hummer was that buying one and driving one seems to be a personal choice which has an effect beyond the owner/driver.

Or, to put it another way (speaking for myself and not Loop), we don't have - nor should we have - the freedom to make whatever personal choices we may want to.

I can't dump my toxic waste in my neighbor's yard, I can't kill off people who don't like me, etc.

I like the classic definition that says "Your freedom to swing your fist ends at my nose..." Our personal choices ARE negatively effecting others and we can choose to regulate our liberty in those circumstances.

Which is not to say that we ought to outlaw Hummers, but rather that we CAN and SHOULD consider our options when our actions impact others in an especially negative way.

John Washburn said...

Loop, some of the FF expressed concern over judicial power AFTER the Constitution was written, perhaps due to overcompensating for a fear of too much executive power.

"we CAN and SHOULD consider our options when our actions impact others in an especially negative way."

I LOVE this statement!

I have often challenged the anti-war crowd for their anti-war actions while troops serve in a battle zone. My point is that such anti-war actions are demoralizing to our troops and could encourage the enemy. Thus, these actions indirectly affect our troops, even to the level of putting their lives in danger.

Whenever I make this argument, I am promptly pounced upon with "we have the right..." etc, etc. I never question the RIGHT to protest war during times of war, I simply make the point that it is in many ways irresponsible and potentially dangerous for our troops overseas. This point, however, is not taken by the anti-war folks. All that matters to them is that they have the right to protest.

And now, you guys are making the exact same argument on this post! You are stating that it is irresponsible for us to over-consume and not conserve, despite our respective rights. Bravo for you guys! Perhaps you're beginning to understand. Their freedom to protest the war perhaps should end when troops start dying.

But that's where my praise ends because I'm afraid that, aside from this possible epiphany, you've otherwise completely missed the point of this post.

I say this while also saying that I agree with your comments. Yes, I think it's a good idea to back down on our fossil fuel consumption. Yes, let's drive more economical cars when practical. I too don't see the need for Hummers outside of a military setting. If my neighbor wants to drive one, then so be it. He has the right, and I will tolerate his overindulgence. I guess tolerance, like anything else with the Left, has relative meaning.

So we agree, but you guys must not have read Obama's statement. What you said and what he said are two completely different things.

This seems to happen a lot. Obama makes an outrageous statement and his minions immediately jump to a "this is what he meant to say" defense. If this bozo wants to be President, perhaps he should learn to choose his words more wisely. You'd think someone with his oratory talent would have no such problem.

Here's his statement: "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times..." If he had stopped there it would have been okay, and your arguments defending him would have fit. But he continued. "...and then just expect that other countries are going to say 'OK'"

Obama thinks we need to change our behavior, NOT for the economy's sake, NOT for the environment's sake, NOT to reduce our foreign oil dependence. No, we need to change so that other countries will like us. This is the attitude that mainstream Americans hate about Democrats.

See, in our eyes the rest of the world already has plenty of reasons to like us. So if they don't like us by now, then they never will, regardless how much we cut back on fuel usage. In our eyes, people like Obama need to stop with the criticism. Americans aren't greedy or gluttonous. Some people just flat out don't like us. Nothing we do will ever change that.

One last thing, gentlemen. Suppose President Obama proposed a law that DID restrict the type of vehicle you could drive, and restricted the amount of energy usage you were allowed at home. Would you support it?

Anonymous said...


Written in haste b/c I have a depo soon. Aren't federal mileage standards just such a law?


Dan Trabue said...

Or reduce water usage demands (in times of drought)?

We are in a time of a drought of oil. The beginnings of an ongoing drought in which we will need to change our ways. Circumstances demand it. Our gov't can help in that process or ignore the inevitable and pretend that oil is NOT a finite resource. Or it can let the market do as it will.

How about if we let Arizona, Georgia, Florida deal with their water shortages in such a way? "Do whatever you want, it's all good!"

Would that be responsible gov't? A responsible society?


Nobody here mentions Our Vast West Coastal Reserves; never mentions our self-imposed Moratoriums on Drilling, on restriction of New Oil Refineries, development of Rocky Mountain Oil Shale & Natural Gas, or the Enviro-Terrorists that defend the Spotted Owl and the Alaskan Caribou, and our pathetic Dependence on OPEC, and those Bad Old Oil Corporations. "Nationalize Em" says Maxine Waters! Another Far-Out Lefty Loony. Wind-Machines,
that's the answer!

Fight it out, guys! reb

Dan Trabue said...

There's X amount of available, relatively easily-accessed oil in the world. It is a finite resource.

If we are able to find a wee bit more in ANWR or here or there, we're talking about, at best, extending the timeline for when we can no longer affordably obtain oil. Whether available oil is peaking now or ten years from now or even 100 years from now, it remains a finite resource.

Trying to find a way to maintain our addiction a bit longer is, well, an addict's solution.

We need an ongoing solution. We need to consume less and not be wholly dependent upon a finite resource.

Kristina said...

There are many reasons to find alternative energy sources. The finite quality of oil is only one. The idea the using that oil is polution is another one (I'll leave this one in there even though I take issue with it--that's not what I'm commenting on). These are, in my opinion, not even the most important reasons.

One reason I find more important is that eventually, technology will outpace oil. By that, I mean the cars/vehicles (and other things) they make in the future will need something other than oil to run them. In order to advance this technology, we need alternative energy sources.

However, there are no other viable (IE cheap & plentiful) energy sources as present. For instance, I would love to use solar power, as well as wind power. However, the cost of installing solar panels is prohibitive. Legislating that all people must place solar panels on their homes to help fuel their energy needs would make the economy take a nose dive. It is the same thing with energy consumption.

Eventually, we will have viable energy sources that are 'nonconsumable'. Those of us who want to drill off our coast (where the Chinese and Cubans are doing so already {gasp}) and more importantly, build more refineries do not want this to be a long term solution. However, we do have to take a short term view as well as the long term view.

I find it interesting that people take their favorite cause (social security, environment, schools, health care, racism...) and only look at one end of the spectrum.

For instance, in the great social security debate, you most often find people saying one of two things: Ditch it or Fix it.

The Fix it crowd says, "But what will we do? This is how we were taught. What will we do for retirement?" The Ditch it crowd says, "Who cares? It's your fault you didn't plan for retirement."

What they can't seem to grasp is that it doesn't need to be an either/or solution. Yes, social security needs to be phased out, but not at the detriment of the population that it is currently supporting. On the other hand, 19yos don't need to be contributing to a system that will probably not be there when they are ready for retirement.

The same thing applies to oil. We need to find a solution, but we can't ditch our economy while we're looking for it.

Also, I think the problem that so many people run into is that they a problem with the idea that someone else can tell them how much to consume. While consuming less may be great for some people, it's not what other people want. Consuming less is a great idea. However, it has to be something that a person wants. We do live in a free society. We don't live in a society that has to ration things. We should be thankful for that.

Perhaps that is why people think that liberals hate America. It feels like liberals do not appreciate America. When you want to change everything about someone, it usually doesn't mean you like them. Hearing all the things that, in our eyes, are the things that are great about America--mainly freedom--castigated makes us feel a wee bit hated.


Kristina, Your points are well taken. There have been recent significant break-throughs in Solar Panel & Storage Battery Technology that's exciting.

The Near-Term: Our Off-Shore Proven Reserves & Rocky Mountain Shale are strikingly good, IF Only Our Oil CEO's are allowed to pursue these options to our nation's advantage for the foreseeable future. Addressing an intractable OPEC, and the Enviro-Political Protest & 'Peace' Groups Hope to Block Short-term Solutions.

Politicians Are Ever-Focused on 'Winning' Elections; have you noticed? Where Are the Statesmen?

In the Longer Term, Science & Industry will most certainly take care of today's Energy Problems.

Bet on Hydrogen & Nuclear, if we ever wake up. Ten dollar per gallon gasoline just might do it! reb

Dan Trabue said...

Perhaps that is why people think that liberals hate America. It feels like liberals do not appreciate America. When you want to change everything about someone, it usually doesn't mean you like them.

This, as you well know, is an exaggeration not especially based on truth.

So-called liberals have some things that they'd like the US to do better on. For example, we'd like to see the US, as individuals and as a society, live with more personal responsibility and less pushing pollution off on other generations and people.

Similarly, so-called conservatives have some things that they'd like to see different about the US. They tend, for instance, to decry America's supposed sexual immorality (even while they contribute to it, as well).

Neither the Left-ish nor the Right-ish want to change "everything" about the US. We certainly both love the US and just want the US to live up to her ideals. That is not hatred - not on the part of Left or Right.

Let's not treat the Other like some special kind of creep. No one hates America. And wanting to see personal and societal responsibility is not the same as hating everything about a country.

We really need to try to talk to one another as fellow citizens and brothers/sisters, not as enemies.

Dan Trabue said...

There are many reasons to find alternative energy sources. The finite quality of oil is only one.

I agree. But the "alternative" needs to include living within our means. Right now, we're living as if we will always have cheap energy to spend in superfluous amounts, in spite of the reality that we do not know that.

Maybe - MAYBE - we can use our "ingenuity" to come up with some resource that will generate as much energy as cheaply as oil has for its >100 year run. But that's a big maybe with no evidence currently to support the notion.

That being the case, personal responsibility requires that we reduce our usage and live within our known means and not place our bets on some mystical "technology" to come and save the day.

Again, it is not an infringement of our liberties to ask people to live within our means. We don't think that the gov't is wrong for imposing water restrictions when there is a drought (or we ought not do so).

We don't think that case workers are wrong to require welfare recipients to not spend lots of money on cable TV or the internets if they don't have the money.

Asking people to live within the means available is just reasonable.


"That is not hatred on the part of
Left or Right" that right, Dan?

Over Six Years of Concentrated 'Hate Dubya' Mantra since 9/11, w/ "Bush Lied about WMB", 'Incompetent Dubya' (not First Responder, Mayor Ray Nagin) forcing 15,000 po' blacks into the Saints Ball Park at the last minute before Cat-5 Katrina hit...

or "Cowboy Diplomacy" got us into Iraq, bumrap, drum-beat, bum-rap. Hey, Don't you call me a Kafir!

Impeach Bush/Cheney! bum-rap, bum-rap, etc.

Tired, 'Old' Sen John McCain forces us to CHANGE DIAPERS to the most 'liberal of all, cuz McCain is a "Bush Clone", sez Harry Reid. "For More Years of Bush", blah, blah...

We need our soft spoken, most inexperienced of all U.S. Senators on either side of the Isle, to lead us in a 'New Direction', cuz we are poor little lambs who have lost our way, Baaa, baa, Blah.
"Yes we can, Yes we can!" (Hold Up Blue Sign) keep chanting!

Whoopie! Obama-Mania, Cotton-candy, Free! Let's appoint HIM Commander In Chief of All Military Forces (in Wartime); he'll bring 'our boys' home, right now! Forget about those West Pointers... Who's Enriching Uranium? Huh!

Uranium...Amadineajaddie, what's that? Khomeinei? Don't Taze me, bro!

Let's forget those Chicago Thugs that promoted Obama, and the Afro-Centric, Trinity Hate-Nut Wright, that went to Libya w/ Nation of Islam's Louie Farrakhan, or that Roman Catholic Cracker that mocked
Sen Hillary Clinton at Trinity Church. Or, Bill Ayers & Bernadine Dohrn, the unrepentant bombers. Or,
that Chicago slum-lord, some whatshisname Tony Rezco, that just got convicted of 16 felonies. So what? That's unfair, all those Guilt-By-Association People, and
Black Liberation Theology! Obama ain't like that, he hardly knows any of 'em. Besides, his wife will make a cute first-lady. She loves America; did you see that dress?

That's not hatred, Dan? No, it's a very expensive Negative Hoopla Campaign orchestrated by another old guy that wants to be a King-maker ever since he arrived here in 1956! Can You, Guess Who?

He can buy Hollywood Twits, Buy House Seats, & Buy some U.S. Senators! Hint, he has a "Moving" Weblog, that paid a handsome fee for a Full-Page NYT Ad (Sept 10th) to bum-rap General David Petraeus as he reported to the U.S. Senate ("he wuz "cookin' the books for the White House")says "MoveOn" you recall a General 'BETRAYUS?' Dan Boy? Another hint, Uncle George threw Hillary off the train, Feb One.

(He's a Master of Psycho-Metric Manipulation, a 21 Century Josef Geobbels, and He's Obscenely Wealthy). Guess Who Yet?

And Finally on February 1, 2008 he Endorsed Barack Obama! Aw, Go ahead, Take a Guess.

If you don't know his name, you haven't been paying attention. Some call him 'Uncle George'... from whom all $$$ blessings flow.

Give Up, Dan? I partly agree with Dan Tradue. It's not just 'hatred' of Left & Right, it's much more.

It's the most vicious long-term political power-play, also, the Most Expensive Political Campaign in U.S. History. I would challenge anyone to deny that! a self-destructive trait, and a sad majority are now Fully Involved, Like It or Not.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste, on hatred.

Dan: This crazy old fool thought you'd enjoy a peek at the other side of the coin. Now, please do continue, gentlemen; thank you. reb

Dan Trabue said...

I'll have to be perfectly honest with you, Reb: I am not at all clear on what you're saying.

I mean, yes, I get that you don't like Soros and you appear to suspect some vast conspiracy, but what does that have to do with my comment?

Are you trying to make the argument that "liberals" DO hate the US, because, if so, then the best I can do with that is feel sorry for you.

If that's what you believe, then you've been sold a Lie-Filled Hate Pie and swallowed it whole. And that is just sad.

But maybe I'm misunderstanding you, because, as noted, I'm not at all sure what you're saying.

Dan Trabue said...

On the other hand, you do make an excellent case to show that there ARE those on the Right out there who are full of hatred and bile. But you are the exception to the rule. I in no way believe that such hatred of our fellow Americans is in any way a common theme for most "conservatives."

Anonymous said...


If it is easier for you to believe that the current administration's low approval ratings are attributable to a conspiracy launched by George Soros rather than the war in Iraq, then you have to live w/ the consequences of that belief.

That belief is on par w/ receiving directives from the Grand Luar through the filings of your teeth.

In other words, people are less likely to treat your other opinions w/ credibility so long as you espouse the Soros conspiracy theory.


The Loop Garoo Kid

Tom the Redhunter said...

"As I said, for a moment it appears that Obama considers his fellow Americans to be gluttonous, greedy and selfish. He appears to have a problem with our consumerism and he opposes our behavior for the sake of America being more appealing to "other countries"."

Ding Ding Ding!

Give that Mr Washburn a cigar

That's exactly what Obama thinks. He doesn't like this country, or at least what we are as a country. No, like all utopian elitists he wants to remake it in his image, because, you see, we just aren't good enough

Now, yes yes, my liberal friends, we can always improve. So don't get your panties in a wad. Further, I'm all for alternative energy, flex fuel cars, hybrid engines, as well as nuclear power and drilling in ANWAR.

But there's improving at the margins, and then there's a radical overhaul.

Obama clearly favors the latter.

Yes, he wants to control every bit of your lives in a way the "theocons" of leftist fantasy never would dream of doing.

Basically, everything the leftists imagine about the evil "theocons", is true about Obama.

Keep up the great posting, John!

Dan Trabue said...

That's exactly what Obama thinks.

Are we mind readers, now?