Republicans Belittling Obama’s Decent, if Overstated, Energy Efficiency Idea

By Natalie Gewargis

Jul 31, 2008 5:54pm

We took a look earlier today at Sen. Barack Obama’s assertion that "we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling, if everybody was just inflating their tires and getting regular tune-ups."

That’s not accurate, our expert ruled.

Such moves would save about 800,000 barrels a day, as opposed to the 1.25 million barrels a day from drilling off shore.

Still, that doesn’t mean the idea to is to be mocked, as many Republicans seem to be doing right now.

Unless, of course, you think 800,000 barrels of oil a day is to be sneezed at.

And without getting into all the reasons why we’re in Iraq right now, and all the brave American men and women and Iraqis who have died because of the war, let’s just posit that the more energy the U.S. can save, the better, and it’s a serious issue.

So why is Sean Hannity making fun of it? (Listen here).

“All you need to do is inflate your tires!" Hannity said today. "That’s all you need to do.  If every American would join in this effort of inflating one’s tires, then it’s all going to be fine!  And we can still import 70% of our oil from Saudi Arabia.  Just keep those tires inflated.  And just keep that car tuned up of yours. The problem is Americans are not being responsible.’ You know what we need?  We need a Department of Tire Inflation.  If we would just have a government program designed so that every American can have their tires checked on a regular basis.  I’ll tell you, I think we probably would be doing a lot better.”

No one said the energy problem could be solved by this tire issue, Mr. Hannity. And is it really such a horrible thing for public officials to use their bully pulpits to raise such issues. (You’ll notice that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., didn’t dismiss the moves when he discussed them.)

It was just a few weeks ago when two Republican governors (one of them a potential VP pick for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz) were talking about Americans keeping their engines tuned and tires inflated.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., and Charlie Crist, R-Florida, according to the Los Angeles Times "appealed to those with the real power to make change — average citizens — to drive slower, keep engines tuned and tires properly inflated, to buy hybrids and lower overall consumption."

We all know how this works. Within a day or two a bunch of Republican congressmen will be making an issue out of this, twisting Obama’s words and making the idea seem silly.

That’s a shame.

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