By Adam Solomon Zemel, Breakthrough Generation
Dark horse third party presidential candidate Paris Hilton released an online campaign ad taking on allegations about her connections to other 2008 candidates, and formally announcing her energy policy. Hilton's announcement is an effort to put an end to speculation about how she would lead our country to energy independence. Like many others, I'm not surprised to see Hilton proposing a plan that will garner support for both sides of the political spectrum (and one can only assume it is part of a larger strategy to carry the votes of centrists from both parties):
"We can do limited offshore drilling--with strict environmental oversight--while creating tax incentives to get Detroit making hybrid and electric cars. That way the offshore drilling carries us until the new technologies kick in which will then create new jobs and energy independence. Energy crisis solved!"
However, I have two issues with this ad, what it says about the overall campaign, and the likelihood of a Hilton presidency:
- According to this ad, energy solutions are at best a second priority after getting a good tan. We need a president who will be dedicated to getting the ball rolling on energy legislation within the first hundred days. After seeing this ad, I'm not sure that Paris Hilton would be that president.
- My second issue is probably more important--the solution is a political winner, but there are gaps in the logic. While walking the fine line of partisan politics with a finesse that could push it through both houses and into law, the "Hilton Solution" places too much faith on offshore drilling as a short term solution.
The Energy Information Administration's Annual Energy Outlooks 2007's analysis of the outcomes of drilling on the outer continental shelf (OCS) "indicate[s] that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030." The report also said that come 2030 "any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant."
On the surface, the Hilton Solution seems like a platform worth rallying around. Overcoming the energy crisis in America is of utmost importance and any solution must be a political winner so that we can legislate and act with confidence and effectiveness.
However, our energy solutions also need to be real winners that can lead us to energy freedom and ever increasing levels of security and prosperity. And unfortunately, the plan that Paris Hilton put forth today cannot. Ultimately, the Hilton Solution is just more political posturing from a candidate who, frankly, seems a little over her head.