, , ,

Barack Obama and John McCain delivered competing radio addresses today. The tone of each, shall we say, was distinct.

Barack Obama’s address, as provided by his campaign:

This is Senator Barack Obama. This morning, I’d like to talk to you about why America needs to move in a new direction.

In recent days, we’ve seen two stark examples of exactly what’s wrong with Washington, and what’s at stake in this election.

First, we learned that the federal budget deficit could reach nearly half a trillion dollars next year.

Eight years after we had a record surplus, we’re now faced with record deficits. This mortgaging of our children’s future is a direct result of the Bush Administration’s dangerously failed fiscal policies.

Instead of helping Americans who are struggling, we’ve seen loopholes and lavish giveaways for corporations that ship jobs overseas, and tax cut after tax cut for the wealthiest Americans who don’t need them and didn’t even ask for them.

Now, Senator McCain proposes to continue these costly and unfair Bush tax policies. He would continue to put special interests ahead of Americans who are struggling, while short-changing the investments we need to get our economy moving again.

The second thing we learned this week was that the Iraqi government now has a $79 billion budget surplus thanks to their windfall oil profits. And while this Iraqi money sits in American banks, American taxpayers continue to spend $10 billion a month to defend and rebuild Iraq.

That’s right.  America faces a huge budget deficit.  Iraq has a surplus…

…Now, Senator McCain promises to continue President Bush’s open-ended commitment to the war in Iraq, while refusing to pressure Iraqis to take responsibility for their own country.

Let me be clear: we are well over five years into a war in a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Our brave men and women in uniform have completed every mission they’ve been given. Our country has spent nearly a trillion dollars in Iraq, even as our schools are underfunded, our roads and bridges are crumbling, and the cost of everything from groceries to a gallon of gas is soaring.

Now think for a moment about what we could have done with the hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars that we’ve spent in Iraq. We could have rebuilt American schools and roads and bridges. We could have made historic investments in alternative energy to create millions of American jobs. We could have headed-off $4 dollar a gallon gas and begun to end the tyranny of oil in our time.

Instead, the President decided to spend our money on tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, and a war in Iraq that has already lasted longer than World War II. And Senator McCain has fully embraced these Bush policies.  

So the choice in this election could not be clearer.

The American people are worse off than they were eight years ago. Everywhere I go, I meet people who are working hard for their families – but are still falling behind. Our government has lost touch with the most fundamental American values – the belief that everyone should be able to live the American Dream; the sense that we are all in this together as Americans.

Senator McCain talks about putting our country first, but he is running for a third term of the very same policies that have set our country back. We can’t afford to take that chance. We can’t afford to keep running up record deficits while we favor the few over the many. We can’t prioritize a misguided war in Iraq over the urgent needs of the American people.

I believe that we need to move in a new direction.

It’s time to restore balance and fairness to our economy, and to give working people immediate and meaningful relief.

It’s time to stop giving tax cuts to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and to put a tax cut into the pocket of 95 percent of working Americans and their families.

It’s time to end the war in Iraq responsibly by asking the Iraqis to take responsibility for their future and to invest in their own country.

It’s time to make a historic effort to end our dependence on foreign oil by investing $150 billion over the next decade in alternative energy and more fuel efficient cars, even as we push oil companies to increase production. This will create millions of new green jobs – good jobs that lift up our families and communities.

This is a defining moment in our history. We can either continue down a failed course, or we can choose a better future. With your help, I know that we can come together as Americans to meet the challenges of the 21st century, to renew our common purpose, and to reclaim the American Dream for our children and grandchildren.

Thank you and God bless America.

We interrupt this post for a history lesson and a word from the AFL-CIO:

McCain Has Received Almost Twice as Much in Donations from Oil and Gas Industry PACs and Employees as Obama or Clinton. According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, John McCain’s campaign has received $723,777 in donations from oil industry political action committees and employees during his 2008 presidential campaign, almost twice as much as Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. (Center for Responsive Politics, accessed 5/31/08)…

…McCain’s Tax Plan Gives $3.8 Billion in Tax Cuts to the Top Five Oil Companies. McCain’s current plan would deliver $3.8 billion in tax cuts to the five largest American oil companies. (“The McCain Plan to Cut Oil Company Taxes by Nearly $4 Billion,” Center for American Progress Action Fund, 3/27/08)

McCAIN VOTES TO PROTECT BIG OIL’S PROFITS McCain Skipped a Vote to Repeal Tax Breaks for Oil Companies. In 2007, McCain was the only senator to miss a vote on the energy bill repealing tax subsidies for oil companies. (H.R. 6, Vote 425, 12/13/07)

McCain Voted Against Curtailing Oil Companies’ Windfall Profits to Give a Tax Rebate to Working Families. In 2005, McCain voted against imposing a temporary windfall profits tax on oil companies and using the proceeds to provide nonrefundable tax credits to working families. (S.Amdt. 2635, Vote 341, 11/17/05; S.Amdt. 2587, Vote 331, 11/17/05)

McCain Voted to Protect Tax Breaks for Big Oil. Earlier, McCain opposed eliminating tax breaks for oil and natural gas companies related to depletion and drilling costs. (S.Amdt. 2782/H.R. 776, Vote 159, 7/29/92)

And this:

…Ronald Reagan’s first official acts of office included removing Jimmy Carter’s solar panels from the roof of the White House, and reversing most of Carter’s conservation and alternative energy policies…

If I recall correctly Ronald Reagan was in office from January 1981 to January 1989. I wonder who else was around Washington during that period of time?

John McCain…In 1982, he was elected to Congress representing what was then the first congressional district of Arizona. In 1986, he was elected to the United States Senate…

I wonder what he’s been doing to bring back alternative energy policies all those years? Ah, right, our friends in the AFL-CIO have already told us.

We return to our regularly scheduled post.

John McCain’s address, as provided by his campaign:

Good morning, I’m John McCain. As you may know, the Democratic National Convention is just a couple of weeks away. It was four years ago, at the same gathering, that America heard a fine speech from an Illinois state senator named Barack Oba
ma. He’s done pretty well for himself since then. And the smart money in Denver is on another celebrated performance.

But even the most stirring speeches are easily forgotten when they’re short on content. Taking in my opponent’s performances is a little like watching a big summer blockbuster, and an hour in realizing that all the best scenes were in the trailer you saw last fall. In the way of running mates, Senator Obama should consider someone with a knack for brevity and directness, to balance the ticket.

In the meantime, let me take a stab at a plot summary of the Obama campaign: America is finally winning in Iraq, and he wants to forfeit. Government is too big, and he wants to grow it. Taxes are too high, and he wants to raise them. Congress spends too much, and he proposes more. We need more energy, and he’s against producing it.

Energy in particular seems to confound Senator Obama, because if there is any problem that can’t be solved by words alone it’s America’s need for secure and affordable energy supplies. So far, he’s managed to come up with an energy plan that’s so timid only OPEC and a few interest groups in his own party are happy with it. And this week, Senator Obama set about correcting that impression.

First there was his call for Americans to check their tires — which is commonsense advice, but hardly has the makings of a national energy strategy. If we can’t drill our way out of the problem, it seems even more unlikely that we can inflate our way out of it.

Next came Senator Obama’s mention of offshore drilling — formerly known in the Obama campaign as a “gimmick” and a “scheme.” As more people notice that his answer to most every form of energy production is “no,” my opponent tried to simulate a “yes.” He pledges a vague willingness to possibly consider limited drilling as part of some hypothetical compromise at an undetermined date. Careful listeners are still waiting for an actual commitment to offshore drilling.

Apparently, Senator Obama was trying to get credit for changing his mind on drilling, without actually changing his position against drilling. This was the rare case of a politician actually hoping to be accused of a flip-flop. But even that would be giving Senator Obama’s energy plan too much credit. As of today, he still has no plan to produce more oil by drilling offshore. And my opponent’s most memorable flip-flop remains his frequent criticism of the Bush-Cheney energy policy, despite voting for the Bush-Cheney energy bill in 2005 — a bill I opposed and voted against.

Finally, Senator Obama proposed to release oil from our nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve. For those keeping track, this comes exactly a month after he said he was firmly against using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

A serious energy plan involves a lot more yes’s than no’s. And that is why I say yes to drilling, here and now. Yes to 45 more nuclear power plants to provide our country with electricity. Yes to clean coal technology, so that we can create jobs and use America’s most abundant resource. Yes to renewable energy sources, so that we can shift away from petroleum over the long term. Yes to a break from the federal gasoline tax, so that our government helps you in a time of need instead of just adding to your costs. In short, yes to all of the above — to a bold plan for achieving energy independence that starts today.

Regaining control over the cost and supply of energy in America will not be easy, and it won’t happen quickly. But no challenge to our economy and security is more urgent. And you have my pledge that if I am president, we’re going to get it done. Thanks for listening.

A word about tire inflation:

Proper tire inflation is critical to fuel economy….Underinflated tires cause vehicle drag and increase fuel consumption….

…An estimated four out of ten vehicles on the road have at least one underinflated tire. Pressure that’s 3 pounds per square inch (psi) below the recommended reading may reduce gas mileage by 1.5 percent. Some experts suggest even greater decreases. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that running tires at 20 psi or lower can easily cost you a full mile per gallon…

Hmmm. 40 per cent of the vehicles on the road times increased gas mileage equals less gas consumption. That’s called “conserving energy”. What a novel idea. You’d think a major party’s presidential candidate would understand that. I’m certain he does. It’s just that it’s not in his best friends’ interest.

As we’ve said: McSame – if you’ve liked the last eight years, you’re gonna love the next 100.