OK. So the commentators seem to be saying that Romney won last night’s debate. I’m not so sure. If he did, it’s only because Obama didn’t press him hard enough on things like how he’s going to reduce the deficit while making huge increases in military spending and dropping the tax rates on both corporations and high-income individuals. I know, he says he’ll reduce loopholes and exemptions, but unless he’s talking about eliminating the mortgage interest deduction, state & local taxes deduction, and medical expense deductions [starts to sound like making the alternative minimum tax apply to everyone] it’s hard to see how he’ll get deficit reduction.
My big beef with Obama, though, was when Romney dinged him on his alternative energy program. Obama just let it slide past, even after Romney poured fuel on the fire [so to speak] by talking about how he thinks the country should be burning more “clean coal’. Never mind that the very idea of “clean coal” is almost a contradiction in terms (maybe not entirely, in terms of conventional air pollutants, although the technology is not anywhere close to there yet). What Obama shudda, cudda come back with, though, was a strong defense of moving America’s energy production into the 21st century, rather than back to the 19th. Oil and gas technology goes back to the dawn of the 20th century, and coal goes back to the 18th century.
In fact, if you think about it, burning coal is shamelessly wasteful. Here we’ve got an enormous resource of almost pure carbon — the basic source of all organic chemicals, which includes many of the products we depend upon on a daily basis. Right now, a lot of those compounds are made from petroleum, which we mostly import. Wouldn’t it make sense to be putting our coal resources into manufacturing the organic compounds we now make from petroleum, and putting research dollars into how to do that efficiently, effectively, and economically, rather than burning it up into CO2 and atmospheric pollutants?
Wouldn’t it also make sense, given that climate change is real [why didn’t he challenge Romney on that!?] to push for new and better ways to produce energy, and save the carbon in coal for when we figure out how to use it in efficient forms of energy production like fuel cells (where we can perhaps capture and sequester any GHG products produced?) Seems to me Obama missed a chance to show Romney up and put himself forward as someone who’s thinking about the future rather than the past.
But, what do I know? I’m just an “average citizen”, not a spin doctor.