Heavens to Betsy!

The New York Times has a tidy little editorial on the train wreck that is the House Energy Bill. Read it. But midway through, the piece gives in to the sort of fresh-faced naivete that makes you wonder who put a newborn in charge of writing opinions for the nation's preeminent paper. Witness:

The House is moving quickly and with sad predictability toward approval of yet another energy bill heavily weighted in favor of the oil, gas and coal industries. In due course the Senate may give the country something better. But unless Mr. Bush rapidly elevates the discussion, any bill that emerges from Congress is almost certain to fall short of the creative strategies needed to confront the two great energy-related issues of the age: the country's increasing dependency on imported oil, and global warming, which is caused chiefly by the very fuels the bill so generously subsidizes.

And unless drug dealers take a stand against drugs, kids will continue to use! Watching the Times scratch the dandruff from their hair and wonder why the Republican-led House is pushing such a myopic snarl of industry giveaways and poor policy is bad enough, reading their pleas for Bush to sweep in and save the day is unforgivable. This bill may as well be authored by the President himself. He's not going to dive in and save it, hell, he probably thinks the environmentalists got too much out of the deal.

The editorial identifies two main problems in our energy use -- dependence on foreign oil and the onset of global warming. I'd change the first to "dependence on oil", but why quibble? Either way, for them to ask the heavens why Bush isn't demanding a bill that better addresses those issues is frankly insane. Here's a guy who made his fortune as an oil man, who's got a legendarily snug relationship with the Saudis, who's made no effort to wean America off oil and in fact helped kill the revised CAFE standards which would've done it. And as for global warming? Are you kidding me? The President is generally unwilling to admit it exists, and when he does allow for some form of it, he advises Americans to enjoy their increased Summers. He killed Kyoto and replaced it with a voluntary -- yes, voluntary -- policy that sought to reduce greenhouse gas intensity, not total emissions. So even if companies took his advice and stopped raiding the cookie jar because they're good folks, they'd still be taking cookies. That's because a reduction in intensity still means an increase in total emissions. Thanks, Dubya.

But I don't expect anything better from George. What I do expect is that the New York Times, which has offered excellent coverage of the policies in question, won't pretend Bush has an enlightened view of the environment when his actions have been troglodytic. Leave that crap to Greg Easterbrook, and do what you're supposed to -- hold Bush accountable for the tone he's set. If reasonable energy policy mattered to him, he'd force Congress to create it. It doesn't, he hasn't, and he should be held culpable for the failure.