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This article is about Obama’s campaign to promote his energy policy. According to the article, this drive by president Obama comes at a time when gasoline prices have skyrocketed, becoming one of the most pressing issues for voters. He will make a two-day tour criss-crossing four states to promote his green energy agenda, as well as his agenda on gas and oil.
The article reports that the president is expected to tour New Mexico after visiting Nevada. His aim in New Mexico will be to survey the oil and gas drilling that is taking place there, before moving on to Oklahoma. In the state of Oklahoma, the president is expected to demonstrate his backing for Keystone XL oil pipeline which connects the Gulf of Mexico. This gesture by the president is important since he has opposed extension of the pipeline into the northern half of Canada because of concerns about the adverse effects this will have on the surroundings (Thomma, 2012). Obama’s tour will culminate with a visit to the research and development center of Ohio University.
The author notes that Obama’s first place of visit was the Copper Mountain Solar Facility. This facility is located at Bolder City in Nevada. He further claims that the site supplies power to over 17,000 households in California, thus, it is a very significant power generation station (Calmes, 2012). Moreover, the author is of the view that the president visit to the particular site was to signify his determination to curtail import of solar panels from China. This resolve by the president came after revelations that China was guilty of subsidizing its manufactures in order to lower its exports’ prices. Indeed, as the author notes, Obama’s visit to this solar power facility came just a single day after he had announced that his government would restrict solar panel imports from China, mainly through tariffs. According to the author, China is well known for its unfair foreign trade policies, and this is not the first time that the country has found itself in the bad books with the United States. For example, the US has constantly accused China of devaluing the Yuan in order to obtain unfair advantage in international trade.
The author further asserts that the president tour took place in the second week after energy concerns started topping the priority issues in the minds of voters. The energy sensitivity of the public has been triggered by the rising prices of gasoline and oil. As the author reports, the price of gasoline now stands at $4 per gallon (Buczynski, 2012). Thus, in an attempt to assure the public and to shore up voters confidence, Obama is promoting a raft of measures that comprise his energy agenda, aimed at ensuring energy affordability and sustainability in the future. The president drive focuses on battlegrounds states such as Ohio.
The author points out that Oklahoma is another important state that cannot escape the president’s attention. The state ranked number fifty among those that voted for Obama during the previous presidential elections. The majority of votes, however, went to the Republican presidential aspirant at the time, Senator John Mc Cain. According to the author, Obama is very keen this time to win in the state of Oklahoma.
As the author reports, Obama’s tour has not been without criticism. Even before the president had embarked on this tour in Washington, those Repulicans who are advocating for drilling of oil had branded Obama’s trip as a political gimmick, while the players in the oil industry had already started to arrange protests. Part of the aim of this tour by Obama, as per the author, is to depict that he is not opposed to the production of oil and gas, an accusation that had been leveled against him even during the presidential campaign period in 2008. Rather, the trip aims to show that what the president is against is environmentally-unfriendly energy production. As a result, he is advocating for investment in green energy such as solar, wind energy, bio fuels and electric automobiles.
The author, however, doubts whether the president’s or any other person for that matter, may be able to bring down the current oil and gas prices. The primary reason for this situation is because the prevailing surge in pump prices reflects the situation in the international market as opposed to the domestic market (German, 2012). As noted by the author, there is no country let alone the US that holds the ability to swing the situation in international market unilaterally. Despite this facts, the electorate are still of the view that the president has the power to reduce gasoline prices. As the article reports, a poll carried out by the New York Times and CBS News agencies indicated that 54 percent of voters see the president as possessing power to halt gas prices. The author, however, admits that gas prices are subject to many dynamics most of which are international by nature and outside the control of any single country. Obama himself acknowledged this complexity on his weekly address to the nation that is aired over the radio as well as the internet. Some of the factors blamed by Obama for the rise in pump prices as reported by the author include: increased energy demand in China and India, speculators, and tension in the middle-east. Further, Obama negated the possibility of obtaining a quick solution for the gas problem, opting for realism rather than politics, one of the main qualities that endear him to voters.
The author’s view is that Obama last weekly address regarding the energy situation in the country was heralding his current trip. He also argues that the trip was a bid to defend Obama’s government’s performance with respect to oil and gas production and to condemn Republicans for being opposed to green energy initiatives. To this effect, president Obama had lashed out at Republican presidential aspirants for dismissing alternative sources of energy, opposing subsidies for green energy projects in the country, and voting against abolishment of tax-breaks for oil companies which have existed for over one hundred years. As per the article, Obama viewed the tax-breaks as gift to oil companies which should be terminated.
The article reports that a senate vote that took place on Monday seeking to remove tax breaks enjoyed by oil giants operating in the country was defeated. Surprisingly, some Democrats voted with the Republicans to oppose this proposal.
As the article points out, prior to the trip, the president’s press secretary tried to down play the view that Obama’s energy tour was done to seek re-election. The secretary asserted that clean energy has been part of Obama’s agenda since he took office and that his administration had even allocated a stimulus package in the past to green energy projects in the country.