Obama to relaunch energy policy in car country; Update: Tire gauges!

Barack Obama will “launch” the energy policy today that he released late last week — before he began his reversal on off-shore drilling.  Interestingly, he’ll push it in Lansing, Michigan, where the oil supply crisis has created dark times for auto manufacturers.  According to the AP, Obama’s plan looks long on redistribution and short on real solutions, especially those that will help Michigan’s biggest industry:

Obama says he wants to tax oil companies’ windfall profits and use some of the money to help motorists pay for more expensive gasoline.

He says he also wants to use $50 billion to help jump-start job creation and help local communities struggling in the economic downturn.

Obama already has an energy policy on his website, one that has been part of his campaign for months.  The word “drill” does not appear anywhere in this policy, even today.  The word “oil” never appears in the context of increased domestic production.  Instead, Obama refers to “big oil” and the need to reduce our use of oil by 35% over the next twenty years.

How do we get there?  Keep inflating those tires, folks:

  • Increase Fuel Economy Standards
  • Invest in Developing Advanced Vehicles
  • Build Biofuel Distribution Infrastructure
  • Build More Livable and Sustainable Communities

Read this as mandates, mandates, mandates, all to avoid drilling for abundant resources we have at our disposal.  Obama’s plan assumes that car manufacturers need government direction to build cars that will get 250 mpg, and that government should “plan” communities so that people don’t drive themselves to work.  It relies heavily on the biofuel concept — not surprising given the industry’s lobbyists in his campaign — even while current government subsidies drive food prices to the poing where people now starve.

The last bullet point should really raise Michigan’s ire.  Obama wants to sink a fortune into expanding public transportation, top-down community planning, and remove the need for automobiles:

Over the longer term, we know that the amount of fuel we will use is directly related to our land use decisions and development patterns, much of which have been organized around the principle of cheap gasoline. Barack Obama believes that we must move beyond our simple fixation of investing so many of our transportation dollars in serving drivers and that we must make more investments that make it easier for us to walk, bicycle and access other transportation alternatives.

Not only does Obama believe that, but as President, he would spend hundreds of billions of dollars in making cars more or less obsolete within the suburban ring of American cities.  How would that affect Michigan’s economy?  Maybe someone in Lansing will ask him today.  The rest of us can wonder why the government would spend so much money to force manufacturers to produce cars to specs that can’t be met while undercutting their market at the same time.

I suspect that these contradictions will be met with the usual Obama strategy of flip-flopping and obfuscation.  Michigan voters should not be fooled.  If they think they’re having tough economic times now, wait until Obama takes office.  Michigan should be the loudest “drill here, drill now” state in the Union.

Update: According to Mark Halperin, the McCain campaign will distribute tire gauges to Obama’s Lansing audience and the media covering the event, with the words “Obama’s Energy Plan” on the side.  It seems that the McCain campaign has begun to hit its stride.