It can always be morning in America again

It has become conventional wisdom that President Ronald Reagan “restored America’s confidence,” an achievement that became forever encapsulated in political lore by the famous “It’s morning again in America” television commercial that preceded his landslide re-election in 1984.

But the reality is that Reagan didn’t restore something that had been lost; he simply reminded Washington that it had been there all the time.

Americans never lost faith in themselves or their capacity to shape better futures for themselves and their children. It was professional politicians inside the Beltway and fuzzy-minded thinkers at universities and in the media who lost sight of the country’s boundless possibilities.

President Barack Obama’s recent comments about America having lost its “competitive edge” and going “soft” in recent decades — and the support those remarks have drawn in the precincts of elite opinion — show it’s time for another Reaganesque refresher course on American self-confidence.  Consider the energy issue and the growing prospects of American energy independence being achieved within a decade.

Oklahoma oilman Harold Hamm recently recounted to the Wall Street Journal his disappointing encounter with the president.

“I told him of the revolution in the oil and gas industry and how we have the capacity to produce enough oil to enable America to replace OPEC,” he said. “I wanted to make sure he knew about this.”

The president’s reaction to Hamm’s statement? “He turned to me and said, ‘Oil and gas will be important for the next few years. But we need to go on to green and alternative energy,’” Hamm said.

The problem is that demand for energy will double within two decades, but it will be 2030 before oil, natural gas and coal can be replaced by Obama’s favored “green and alternative energy” sources to any significant degree. As Daniel Yergin of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates recently explained to, “on a worldwide basis, about 80 percent of energy today is oil, gas and coal. You say, what’s it going to be in 2030? Most studies say somewhere about 75 percent of the bigger pot.”  

What frustrates people such as Hamm — CEO of Continental Oil and the leading developer of the immense oil resources in the Bakken Formation in Montana and North Dakota — is that new drilling technologies are making it possible to produce billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas that were previously beyond reach.

That is why Hamm says America can be “completely energy independent by the end of the decade. We can be the Saudi Arabia of oil and natural gas in the 21st century.” But instead of unleashing the American energy industry to free the country of its long-running dependence on OPEC, Obama insists on pouring billions of tax dollars down politically correct rat holes such as Solyndra. That makes it perfectly clear what is wrong with this picture.

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