Strassel: Gingrich’s Energy Charge

“A presidential mindset that believes government exists to remake the energy sector with high-cost green failures results in the exact opposite of the Gingrich proposition.”

Kim Strassel writes in the Wall Street Journal:

…Mr. Gingrich’s savvy has been to grasp that this is over, done, passé. America is embarking on a seismic energy shift. A decade of technological advances—from 3-D mapping, to fracking, to horizontal drilling—has turned this country into a resources monster in oil and gas and coal. The old, tired GOP argument is that we need to drill for energy security. The new, rebooted argument is that America is primed to become the largest energy producer in the world, with all the money, jobs and benefits that come with it.

In the context of abundance, energy development is political gold for the GOP. As Mr. Gingrich notes: It is a winning economic argument, a shift that could create “more than a million new jobs.” It is a winning deficit argument, since royalties and profits become a new cash stream to the government. It is a winning little-guy argument, since the beneficiaries of fracking are “people who own the property,” like “farmers.” It’s a winning heartland argument, since cheap natural gas is the way to “increase our manufacturing base.”

Energy also becomes, and this is the speaker’s second point, one of the strongest contrasts with Mr. Obama. That is, if Republicans get it right. The temptation is going to be to hit Mr. Obama on gas prices, accuse him of not doing enough exploration. But if gas prices fall, that argument loses its punch. And Mr. Obama is already shamelessly taking credit for a production uptick on private lands.

The trick, which is what Mr. Gingrich is doing, is to instead cast energy policy as emblematic of the administration’s entire broken philosophy, the “fantasy world” where “everything that is good is done by the government.” This is the philosophy behind ObamaCare, behind entitlements, and all else.

Yet what is unique about energy is that it has already provided clear proof of failure, via Solyndra, EPA rules, the Keystone XL pipeline and more. A presidential mindset that believes government exists to remake the energy sector with high-cost green failures results in the exact opposite of the Gingrich proposition: fewer jobs, a higher deficit, calls for greater taxes, and declining manufacturing.

This is a contrast that has been gift-wrapped for the GOP, even if Mr. Gingrich isn’t necessarily the best messenger. The ethanol king feels even in these speeches the need to keep plugging an “all of the above” policy that presumably throws more dollars at renewables. But in the way Mr. Gingrich occasionally can, he’s outlining rich political arguments for his party. Whoever is the nominee could take some pointers.

Read the entire copmmentary.

One thought on “Strassel: Gingrich’s Energy Charge”

  1. Most assuredly Mr. Gingrich is not the best messenger to carry the banner President Obama’s energy policy is destroying the American economy. Mr. Gingrich has been endorsing ethanol from corn since its inception in 1979. As recently as January 2011, he endorsed ethanol from corn in a speech given to the Corn Grower’s Association in Des Moines, IA. Anything to get the IA vote as the first state with primaries. The WSJ called him Mr. Cornpone.

    Ethanol mandates through the 2007 Energy Security and Independence Act require the use of 35 bilion gallons of ethanol by 2022. This Act needs to be repealed quickly, Would President Gingrich do this?

    Candidate Gingrich makes good news telling some truths on changes needed in energy policy. President Obama can show many TV clips like the one of Mr. Gingrich sitting on a love seat with Nancy Pelosi in 2008 warning the country about the dangers of global warming from burning fossil fuels. Will the real Newt Gingrich stand up?

    Are any of the Republicans running for President at this time capable of using energy policy as the winning issue to defeat President Obama this fall? I don’t know.

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