The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has raised the public’s awareness of America’s energy policy. In fact, a recent CBS News poll found that 90 percent of Americans think our energy policy either needs radical changes or should be entirely remodeled. Admittedly, President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress have struggled at times to bring Republicans on board with their legislative priorities. The blame for such failures falls on both parties.
Today, the White House is hosting a bipartisan group of senators seeking consensus on the issue. President Obama should be commended for convening this group. A collaborative approach is imperative because partisan politics have long kept the United States from unleashing its innovative spirit. If Democrats and Republicans see one another as willing participants in advancing national interests, more of their colleagues will brave the new energy frontier in search of bipartisan compromise.
In April 2009, Obama laid out his outlook for energy in a speech at Georgetown University: “We all know that the country that harnesses this energy will lead the 21st century. Yet we have allowed other countries to outpace us on this race to the future. Well, I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders. It is time for America to lead again.”
The fight for clean energy begins today and hopefully that discussion is a bipartisan one.