Obamateurism of the Day

How did you celebrate Earth Day? Did you turn off lights, reduce driving time, or find low-carbon ways to heat your home? Environmentalists observed the 40th anniversary of Earth Day by scolding the rest of the world over its consumption and polluting ways. Unfortunately, as NYC Aviation observed, some scolds like to create as much pollution getting to the lecture dais as can possibly be imagined (via Fausta):

On a day when many Americans will be reflecting upon how they can reduce their impact on the environment, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will board separate jets in Washington on Earth Day morning to fly 250 miles up the east coast to New York, where they will land at separate airports to attend separate events within a few miles of each other.

The parallel visits of Air Force One (a 747/VC-25 aircraft) and Air Force Two (a 757/C-32A aircraft) will delay dozens, if not hundreds of commercial flights at Kennedy and LaGuardia and other nearby airports as no-fly zones are implemented. Jets will be forced to circle and burn more fuel as they wait for the VIPs to come and go. Their security contingents consisting of dozens of cars, SUVs and helicopters will burn even more. Throw in thousands of commuters’ cars and delivery trucks sitting idle in traffic as law enforcement closes large swaths of the city and you have yourself a very Earth-unfriendly day.

Should they have taken one plane? No, not really; as Matt Molnar points out, the Katyn Forest crash this month that wiped out much of Poland’s government is a good warning against that. But maybe, just maybe, the President and Vice President could have gone to two completely different areas of the country. Or perhaps the Veep could have taken his beloved train from DC to New York while the boss flew Air Force One.

Or — and this is really the point — both the President and VP could have given their speeches from their offices in DC instead of flying into one of the most heavily-trafficked areas in the nation, snarling planes and cars for hours and creating tons of unnecessary emissions, all to lecture us on the need to cut back on energy use. Instead, both set an example of cluelessness rather than conservation.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!

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