Blagojevich and Chu
Blagojevich and Chu. An unlikely pair, but the bookends that will define the Obama presidency. For a while, I was impressed with some of Obama’s appointments. Though unwilling, I was actually impressed that Obama may actually rule from the standpoint of a center-left coalition; that governing stance being forced by circumstances. I very much believe, had the Democrats managed to rack up 60 senators, that Obama would have gone wild with his fondest left-left wet dreams.
But, Obama’s real affiliations, proclivities and associations keep coming back; like Banquo’s ghost. And, so we have the two sides of the true Obama represented in Blagojevich and Chu. In the former, we have Obama, the loyal Chicago machine hack. And, in the latter, we have the utterly disconnected academic; governance by midnight dorm room bull session.
Blagojevich will define the seamy and corrupt side of Obama. Obama isn’t clean; just cleaner than the average Chicago politician. He has been a faithful foot soldier; and has been rewarded for that faithfulness. He started as a ward heeler; er, community organizer. His big test was the distribution of tens of millions of graft as a co-chair (the other was Bill Ayers) of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. And, spread graft he did with not an iota of academic improvement. Perfect for Chicago. Get money to your friends but don’t solve a problem that might risk having dependent constituencies actually having the means to improve themselves.
He then moved to the Illinois State House. And, courtesy king making from the president of the Illinois State Senate, Emil Jones, Obama was elevated to the US Senate. All along, Obama has toed the line. Toed the line in supporting Blagojevich for election in 2002, then again in 2006. And, when corruption shook the Cook County Board, a word from Obama might have been instrumental in electing a reform candidate to Cook County President. But, Obama held firm in supporting machine candidate, Todd Stroger.
And, so, like Paul Henreid, Obama is shocked, shocked to discover his Senate seat up for sale to the highest bidder. But, don’t be shocked, scocked to see scandal after scandal rising up from his past in the fevered swamps of Chicago politics.
Now we get to the other bookend. Dr. Chu just appointed as the Secretary of Energy. (And, by the way, just why do we have a department of pumping gas? Can’t the Department of the Interior handle that? All you have to do is hand out drilling leases. There, problem solved and it didn’t even require me to fly to Stockholm to get a gold medal.) He’s got accomplishments, smart, a real multi-cultural Camelot best-and-brightest.
But. But, what does he know about our aging nuclear arsenal. What’s he willing to do to maintain it, upgrade it and test it to see if it remains functional? What’s he going to do to maintain our disappearing nuclear weapon infrastructure? Freedom in the world rests on the America’s military and the cornerstone of our military is our nuclear arsenal. This is a guy who’s going to lecture us on preferring to spend $1000 on a granite kitchen counter top than on improving our home’s energy efficiency. This is a guy who protested global warming by climbing up a tree at the University of California at Berkeley for Vanity Fair Magazine . Iran can give up it’s nuclear program because ours is going to rust away into complete non-functionality.
While this guy is brilliant in the laboratory, what experience does he have in taking these lab findings off the lab bench and out into the world. Because, if he’s so set on freeing us from burning hydrocarbons, he going to have to do more than pose in a tree for a magazine.
Because, making policy and issuing “environmentally friendly” diktats from Washington are going to run head long into the real world of economics and thermodynamics. Realities that solar panels and wind power will not begin to address energy needs that hydrocarbons and nuclear power now handle so well. Realities like $4 gasoline really matters to a lot of people who don’t have a six-figure sinecure in the California University system. Realities that global warming is simply a humbug.
Realities that we’ve had steam cars and electric cars from the day the horseless carriage came forth. Railroad locomotives, for the last half century are powered by a diesel engine powering an electrical generator that then powers motors that make the locomotive move–a diesel Prius without batteries that runs on tracks. There’s nothing new under the sun; it just a lot of engineers just as smart as Chu have already worked through all of these ideas. Burning a cheap, plentiful commodity, oil, is the best way to get around.
Back in the cold snows of Iowa, Obama commiserated over the cost of arugula at Whole Foods. Now, we have a whole cabinet socked full the arugula-at-Whole-Foods crowd. And, some of them, especially from Chicago, fund their arugula cravings by selling Senate seats.