Speaking to a crowd at Prince George's Community College in Largo, Maryland today, President Obama defended his energy policy, as gas prices have been a real thorn in the side of his administration of late. He emphasized the importance of green-energy growth (the usual suspects like wind and solar power, electric cars, biofuels), and aimed some sarcastic barbs at his resistant, Republican rivals. Well aware of moon guy Newt Gingrich's mockery of his endorsement of algae as a potential source of energy, Obama went into stand-up mode with these choice remarks:
"If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they probably must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society. They would not believe that the world was round. Maybe they would have agreed with one of the pioneers of the radio who apparently said, 'Television won't last. It's a flash in the pan.'"
The speech was part of Obama's push for his so-called "all of the above" energy strategy, which involves increasing domestic natural gas and oil production, enhanced auto efficiency, and, of course, green-energy investment. The goal of the U.S. in weaning itself from dependence on foreign oil is a bipartisan winner, but Obama is a frequent target of criticism for his environmental concerns. In Gingrich World, we would have $2.50-a-gallon gas (as opposed to Bachmann's $2-a-gallon gas), because we all know the former Speaker could talk the global crude-oil market into it, in a series of Lincoln-Douglas-style debates.
Referencing those painfully high gas prices, Obama leveled with the crowd in a non-pandering way, saying "There's no silver bullet. Anybody who tells you otherwise isn't really looking for a solution; they're trying to ride the political wave of the moment." And talking about those reluctant to embrace the future, the president stated:
"Lately, we've heard a lot of professional politicians, lot of folks running for certain office, they've been talking down new sources of energy. They dismiss wind power. They dismiss solar power. They make jokes about biofuels."
He later wondered, "Why would someone who wants to lead the country ignore the facts?"
Though he wasn't there all week, with no sign of any veal to be sampled, Obama continued with his comedy-club stylings. Alluding to failed prognosticator Rutherford B. Hayes' quote about the telephone being a great invention that no one would use, Obama cracked, "There have always been folks like that. That's why he's not on Mt. Rushmore."