A Brief History of Presidential Promises to End US Oil Addiction, by Jon Stewart (Video)


Image via Yannig Roth

Each and every one of the last 8 presidents, at one point during their presidencies, announced to the public that the United States needs to end its dependence on oil. Whether it was Carter, Nixon, or even George W., they all sounded the call for a shift towards cleaner, safer energies. Obama did it again last Tuesday night. Of course, we all know where each of those respective calls for action have landed us ... Here, Jon Stewart takes us on a farcical tour of the history of presidential promises to end US oil addiction. Guess how many of those promises were kept?

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Yesterday, I was criticized by some for being too harsh on Obama's oval office speech. I pointed out that presidents since at least Carter had made similar calls to end US dependence on oil -- and that Obama should have outlined a more illuminating plan as to how he actually aimed to make progress on that front. I hope that this bit from Stewart helps elucidate why I was disappointed in Obama -- these calls make for a popular soundbyte, since everyone hates 'Big Oil' (well, except for 1/5 of Americans, that is).

But, as Stewart points out in his segment, none of the presidents have succeeded in making any significant progress towards the end of weaning the nation off oil. And the reason is simple: severing our dependence on oil means passing legislation that bucks fossil fuel industry interests. And no president or Congress has yet had the gall to confront those interests in any significant way -- whether it be passing a gas tax or pricing carbon, no meaningful move to sever oil dependence has been ventured.

And that's why, unless Obama wants to go down as the 8th president in a row to promise a shift from oil reliance but deliver nothing, he's got to get working on more than speech writing.

More on Obama and Oil Dependence
Obama's Oval Office Gulf Spill Speech: Bold Plan or Empty Rhetoric?
Breaking Down the BP Gulf Spill Blame Game
Obama is "Furious" About the BP Spill . Why Doesnt' the Media Believe Him?

Tags: Gulf Oil Spill | Oil | Oil Spill | United States

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