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« Mark Warner And The Economy | Main | Biden Takes The Stage »

Schweitzer Speech Energizes the Convention

Mark Warner was tonight's keynote speaker, but it was the raucous Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer who worked the crowd into a frenzy, delivering a kinetic speech about--of all things--energy policy.

It's hard to imagine anybody getting quite that fired up about energy policy in 2004.

Schweitzer's remarks (a prepared transcript of which is available on our site, conveniently) invoked John Kennedy's goal to put Americans on the moon. Energy is the challenge of the 21st century.

"We face a great new challenge, a world energy crisis that threatens our economy, our security, our climate and our way of life," Schweitzer began. The sort of line any politician might utter. But then Schweitzer took it personal, saying McCain's support for expanded drilling was an unrealistic solution even "if you drilled in all of Senator McCain's back yards, even the ones he doesn't know he has."

Schweitzer cited Montana's investments in wind farms, developing reserves in Montana's vast Bakken Formation, pursuit of coal gasification and carbon sequestration, and efforts to promote energy efficiency.

"The petro-dictators will never own American wind and sunshine," Schweitzer bellowed.

And like the football coach at a high school pep rally before the state finals, Schweitzer had the crowd bellowing along. "We need all of you to stand up," he yelled.  "Colorado!  Stand up!  Florida!  Stand up! Pennsylvania! Get off your hind end! In the cheap seats! Stand up!"

With energy such a hot button issue, and Schweitzer able to fire up a crowd, maybe the Democrats should have made him the keynote to make sure the performance got picked up on television.

--Josh Zumbrun
Forbes.com Washington Correspondent


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CNN's coverage of the convention is a disgrace. They conveniently choose who to show and who not to show. Luckily I had CSPAN to switch to so I could watch Brian's excellent speech. I'm not using CNN for the rest of the convention. Their pundits are so in love with the sounds of their own voices that they conveniently cut out whatever they don't want to show. Who made them the arbiters of what the public can and cannot view? How can they claim the mantle of being the 'news leader' when they don't even show the facts, only show garbled, stale opinions on them? Yuk.

The McCain drilling strategy is a win for the Republicans, maybe just in time for the November elections.

More drilling will the lower the rate at which the U.S. is increasingly dependent on imported oil in the distant future.

Drilling for oil in ecologically sensitive areas is a partisan political issue.

The impacts of Peak Oil, however, will soon shift the focus of debate toward how to survive high oil prices, maybe as soon as an attack on Iran.

Increasingly, average Americans will not be able to afford both fuel oil for heating and gasoline for commuting to work (starting in to be felt more in November). When unemployment increases in the ever worsening global recession, a larger and larger percentage of people will not be able to pay for fuel oil to heat their homes. These realities will shock the nation with big increases in home heating bills this winter (starting in November). Oil prices will be higher for the winter of 2009.

In such an environment, the Democrats are making a mistake with their “no drilling” position on this issue. As Peak Oil becomes more widely known as the cause of economic malaise, public attitudes will shift away from environmental concerns and toward more drilling.

According to energy investment banker Matthew Simmons and other independent forecasters, global crude oil production is now declining, from 74 million barrels per day to 60 million barrels per day by 2015. During the same time demand will increase 14%.

This is equivalent to a 33% drop in 7 years. No one can reverse this trend, nor can we conserve our way out of this catastrophe. Because the demand for oil is so high, it will always be higher than production; thus the depletion rate will continue until all recoverable oil is extracted.

Alternatives will not even begin to fill the gap. And most alternatives yield electric power, but we need liquid fuels for tractors/combines, 18 wheel trucks, trains, ships, and mining equipment.

We are facing the collapse of the highways that depend on diesel trucks for maintenance of bridges, cleaning culverts to avoid road washouts, snow plowing, roadbed and surface repair. When the highways fail, so will the power grid, as highways carry the parts, transformers, steel for pylons, and high tension cables, all from far away. With the highways out, there will be no food coming in from “outside,” and without the power grid virtually nothing works, including home heating, pumping of gasoline and diesel, airports, communications, and automated systems.

This is documented in a free 48 page report that can be downloaded, website posted, distributed, and emailed: http://www.peakoilassociates.com/POAnalysis.html

Brian Schweitzer is pushing an absolutely LOSER postion: "clean" coal. THERE IS NO SUCH THING. I've been walking around the 16th Street mall here at the Democratic National Convention, and just about everyone I speak with realizes that coal is not clean, and will NEVER be clean. Especially the young people. Even the young kids manning the Fox News van were very kind and every thanked me for walking around with my No Clean Coal sign.

GET A GRIP, SCHWEITZER. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that "clean" coal is an oxymoron, and anyone pushing it will be quickly left behind when connecting the dots between BIG COAL and MONEY. It's risky, dangerous, unproven and coal emits more greenhouse gas than any single source.

What a bunch of hooey.
This is supposed to be for comments about the article.
Go advertise somewhere else.

Although, I now live in Colorado, I grew up in NE Montana and last night I was patiently waiting to hear Gov. Schweitzer speak. When unable to see it on MSNBC I turned back to CNN who in all their fine discussion about what Hillary may or may not say, finally turned to see if they should "listen in for a bit"... I was impressed with Gov. Schweitzer!

At least Gov. Schweitzer wasn't afraid to face the issues and talk about what Obama's plans for energy are. There is way too much hooey from the media about not knowing what Obama plans to do. Maybe they should LISTEN when he is talking instead of taking bits and pieces and blowing stuff up to influence their way of thinking.

At least Gov. Brian Schweitzer got people off their "hind ends" and his speech made people think... He is totally Montanan right down to his Montana Silversmith tie... cow sh** on his boots and no bull sh** attitude!!!

God Bless Him...

Gov. Schweitzer's speech was fantastic, very real and enthusiastic and full of ideas, and I am totally disgusted at the coverage by the media, even MSNBC, which is normally very reliable. The only way to have seen his entire speech at the time was to watch CSPAN, and thank goodness for them. I got so sick of hearing the talking heads on all the networks blather on and on about Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton and what they might or might not do or say, blah blah blah. What a huge waste of time. And when they weren't doing that, they were demanding that the Democrats tell America exactly what they were going to do and what was wrong with Bush. Schweitzer did that, and I'll vote for that guy any time, string tie and all!

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