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Energy is the issue on which Obama can be beaten

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Jul 23, 2007
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The good ole USA
Energy is the issue on which Obama can be beaten
Published: Thursday, December 15, 2011, 12:50 AM
By Paul Mulshine/The Star Ledger The Star-Ledger

(Aristide Economopoulos/The Star-Ledger)Chris Christie introduces Mitt Romney in Parsippany.
Mitt Romney was in town this week, but for some reason he forgot to ask my advice. I'll give it to him anyway in case he ends up winning the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Like the other GOP candidates, Romney has spent a lot of time attacking Obama on foreign policy and the economy. Forget that. The last Republican president screwed up both of those areas so thoroughly that Obama has alibis from now to November.

The issue on which he's weak is energy policy. Obama's pretty sharp, but he's making a big mistake by sticking to a position on climate change that's obsolete, both scientifically and economically.

To that end, Mitt, I'd suggest you put in a call to a Jersey guy: William Happer. You can get him at the physics lab in Princeton that bears his name.

I just missed him a couple of months ago when the results of that groundbreaking CLOUD study were released. I got a voice mail telling me he was going to be out of touch for a week because he was taking a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

I called again the other day and Happer told me he'd traveled second-class across Siberia because he wanted to mingle with Russians. He speaks Russian, of course.

Happer's a real smart guy, in other words. Give him a call, and he'll tell you about the outcome of that "Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets" experiment at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland: "These were very careful experiments done over quite a few years. They definitely show you can nucleate droplets of water under conditions not too different from the outside atmosphere."

Or to put it in plain English: There's an excellent chance that further experimentation will show the major factor in climate change is cosmic rays from space, rather than carbon emissions from Earth.

"I don't think there's ever been any reason to panic," Happer will tell you. He'll also say the climate debate is now taking place among physicists. That puts it far above the heads of those climatologists.

Armed with that knowledge, the eventual Republican nominee for president can offer a new answer to questions about climate change: "Yes, I believe the climate changes. But the European Organization for Nuclear Research has stated that 'climate models will need to be substantially revised' to reflect the competing theories being advanced by leading physicists. Until those revisions are made, let's not do anything rash."

He can then define "anything rash" to include everything Obama's doing to keep Americans from getting access to cheap energy from fossil fuels. That includes delaying approval for the Keystone Pipeline, which would deliver Canadian oil to American refineries.

The attack ads write themselves. An American president could get away with refusing oil from Saudi Arabia or Venezuela. But Canada? Next, he'll be banning maple syrup because collecting it requires sticking sharp objects into trees.

It was Obama himself who provided the wording for the most vicious such ad. In a January 2008 interview, he said, "Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket." He went on to describe how he would crack down not just on coal plants, but on natural gas. That sort of thing will win the votes of those pipeline protesters who showed up outside the White House holding models of windmills. But blue-collar workers in those swing states like Pennsylvania?

So here's my advice to Romney. He and his fellow GOP contenders love to cite Ronald Reagan's line about America being "a shining city on a hill." I expected to hear it the other evening at that fundraiser in Parsippany. Sure enough, after Romney told of all the things he would do for America if elected, he wrapped it all up saying it's his goal that "we might remain a shining city on a hill."

That got him applause. But it won't get him the presidency. So here's my advice: First, recite verbatim Obama's words about skyrocketing electric rates. Then say, "You know how Ronald Reagan said America should be a shining city on a hill? Well, Barack Obama wants to turn out the lights."

That should do the trick.

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