Last night Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama went toe-to-toe for a second time in the presidential town-hall debate held at Hofstra University. Both candidates took questions from the audience on hot-button issues that have plagued America from the attacks in Benghazi to pay equity for women. For this post, we are looking at one particular question that was asked towards the beginning of the debate. The question was: “Your energy secretary, Steven Chu, has now been on record three times stating it’s not policy of his department to help lower gas prices. Do you agree with Secretary Chu that this is not the job of the Energy Department?” How did the candidates tackle this issue on energy and how were their responses in regards to gas prices/oil production, etc.?
By Emily Cox
Obama’s strength in energy policy lies in his direct focus on the future. The President brings to the table a balanced approach that is forward-looking and moderate, while Romney is content to champion the same energy policies that have been trademarks of the Republican Party for decades. Obama is also not afraid to stand out in his own party.
He reaches across the table and allows that he supports and advocates for the continuation of clean coal production. Many Democrat activists want to see the coal industry die permanently, but by reaching across the aisle and championing moderate policies, Obama can gain wider support for his energy policy as a whole. After all, his focus on efficiency and sustainability in the energy sector is quite reasonable.
Many voters are concerned that Obama has not done enough to address the exorbitant and continually rising cost of oil. However, there is no easy fix for this problem. When Romney compared the price of gasoline at the start of Obama’s administration to the price of gasoline now, he gave the President the perfect opening to explain his
forward-looking policies. Achieving sustainability in energy takes time. Obama is not chiefly concerned with lowering gas prices immediately, because this will not create lasting sustainability and constant affordability. Instead, Obama wants to change the face of
American energy reliance so that we control our own energy.
In part, this has already happened under the Obama administration, as the United States is now seeing some of the highest oil and natural gas production rates in decades. However, the President is concerned with more than just traditional energy sources. During the debate he said, “We’ve got to control our own energy, you know, not only oil and natural gas, which we’ve been investing in, but also we’ve got to make sure we’re building the energy sources of the future . . . that’s why we’ve invested in solar and wind and biofuels, energy-efficient cars.” This is where the most difference can be seen between Obama and Romney, concerning their respective energy policies. While Romney is quick to ensure voters that he is not opposed to alternative energy sources, he is not willing to give them the same backing and support that the President does. Obama does not simply allow solar and wind energy to exist, he invests in these industries. The same is true for the biofuel and automobile sectors. The President is seeking to find energy efficiency in non-traditional industries so that over time our oil dependency and demand will be lowered.
Romney and Obama both agree that we should be importing less oil and becoming more self-sustaining, but Obama’s policies are truly forward-moving, while Romney’s policies are the same ones that we have seen throughout past Republican presidencies. Instead of creating more oil pipelines, the United States must work towards developing alternative energy sources and energy efficiency, which in turn will create continued sustainability. We must always support reliable traditional energy sources, but any real gains we make in the energy
sector can only come from looking towards the future.
By Collier Roberts
Mitt Romney is a businessman and knows exactly what it takes for a successful economy that gives people a chance to invest and creates opportunity for all Americans. We are talking about energy this week, and I firmly believe that Romney knows exactly what we need as a country to become energy-independent, and that is what he is promising. When it comes to this aspect of our economy, Obama’s future-minded approach is what is hurting us. Him and Romney are both for becoming more and more independent so we are not relying so heavily on the middle east and other places for our oil. We have what it takes on our own soil to get us completely independent, but the president refuses to allow that to become a reality. He is about clean and green energy investments. He takes pride in America being a top clean energy investor. Not one word in that statement alludes to prosperity, just more money being spent. Some $90 billion of the stimulus package went to clean energy investments, and the majority of those investments have yielded little to no return and/or bankruptcy.
We need to take initiative in what we have and we know will be able to sustain us. This is one of the few tangible aspects of our nation that everyone knows will create jobs and lower gas prices, it is so simple, but yet the president rejects this notion and wants to spend more tax payer dollars on things for the future. The problem with that is if we keep this future minded approach, we will just keep/and we have kept adding debt to this country with nothing to show for it. We do need to have investments in energy of the future, but $90 billion? Our economy is very close to taking a seriously horrific turn for the worst, so why not do all we can to save it? One of the ways we can do that, a plan that Romney is proposing, is to become completely energy self-sufficient.
Why America doesn’t understand this is beyond me. The sooner people realize that spending more and more money on what we think might happen in the future will be more and more detrimental, the better. That “better” is Mitt Romney’s plan for energy independence by the end of the decade. He has never stated that he wants to completely ignore the future of green energy, but rather focusing on what we can do in the here and now to get this economy back on its feet. Think of an America where going to the pump will put money back into this economy, and helping us rather than adding more burdens to the tab. Mitt Romney believes in sustaining and becoming more and more efficient with the resources America has.
Romney continued his agressive approach in the debate, except for this time it probably got overshadowed because Obama decided to show up and defend his policies. But I am not convinced that this debate did anything for the Obama camp, but rather showed that he did what a sitting president should do in a debate, and that is to challenge and be agressive as well. In regards to the economy, which proves to be the hot button issue right now, Romney is continuing to take charge for real change and a plan for a more prosperous next four years.