Editor's note: Glenn Beck is on CNN Headline News nightly at 7 and 9 ET and also hosts a conservative national radio talk show.
Glenn Beck says conservation won't solve energy crisis, and we need more oil drilling in the U.S.
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Call our politicians and tell them to stay on vacation. Call the caribou roaming in Alaska and tell them they're safe. Call the Saudi king and tell him what you really think of his oil.
I, Glenn Beck, a recovering alcoholic rodeo clown, have come up with a solution to America's energy crisis...and you're wearing it.
Look at yourself right now. You've probably got on a shirt, socks, shoes, jewelry, maybe even some pants. Do you have any idea how much all of that weighs?
If people really loved America, they would strip down, leave their clothes at home, and drive around buck naked. That would decrease the weight of our cars, which would increase our gas mileage so dramatically that we probably wouldn't have to drill for any new oil!
Of course, my idea has about as much of a chance to make a real difference in our energy crisis as the suggestion that Barack Obama recently made.
"Making sure your tires are properly inflated, simple thing," Obama said. "But we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling, if everybody was just inflating their tires and getting regular tune-ups. You could actually save just as much."
When The Associated Press asked Obama's campaign for the figures they used to make that claim, they couldn't produce any -- but plenty of other people have.
It turns out that about two-thirds of vehicles already have properly inflated tires. That means we'd likely save somewhere around 800,000 barrels of oil a day if everyone else also complied. Meanwhile, the U.S. Minerals Management Service estimates that there are about 86 billion barrels of oil in the areas that we're not allowed to drill. You do the math.
But, facts aside, Obama seemed to be stunned that Republicans would dare ridicule an idea as revolutionary as checking your tire pressure. "They're making fun of a step that every expert says would absolutely reduce our oil consumption," he complained.
No, what they're making fun of is that a guy who, less than two months earlier, was against the gas tax holiday because it was a "gimmick," has suddenly embraced what is essentially a gimmick.
No one, including John McCain, disputes that keeping your tires inflated will help you get better gas mileage. But so will emptying your trunk, buying a hybrid, not using the heat, and driving naked. The point is that none of those things are solutions; they're unsustainable gimmicks that distract people from solving the underlying crisis. They're also exactly the type of things that Obama once claimed he was against.
But, of course, the adoring mainstream media doesn't want to talk about that, they just want to defend Obama's honor.
Michael Grunwald recently wrote an article titled, "The Tire-Gauge Solution: No Joke," that probably would've been harsher on Obama if it was written by Barack himself. It's more love-sonnet than journalism.
"Meanwhile," he wrote, "efficiency experts say that keeping tires inflated can improve gas mileage 3 percent and regular maintenance can add another 4 percent. Many drivers already follow their advice, but if everyone did, we could immediately reduce demand several percentage points. In other words: Obama is right."
Of course he's right; he's Barack Obama, savior of the universe! But one phrase that he used deserves a little more attention: "but if everyone did."
"But if everyone" donated their organs then people wouldn't die waiting for them.
"But if everyone" ate only lettuce then our health care system would be fixed.
"But if everyone" just sent me one dollar then I'd retire with $300 million in the bank.
Of course, the reality is that people still die waiting for organs, obesity is an epidemic, and I'm still writing these columns. That's why saying "but if everyone did" is such a red herring.
Grunwald went on to suggest that perhaps we're just over-thinking this whole "energy crisis" thing. "It's a pretty simple concept," he wrote. "If our use of fossil fuels is increasing our reliance on Middle Eastern dictators while destroying the planet, maybe we ought to use less."
Welcome back to Fantasy Land. Saying "we ought to" is exactly the same as "but if everyone" -- a way to make a ridiculous point sound plausible. It's like saying: We ought to all live in peace and harmony. It's not that easy.
But let's follow his yellow brick road for a second anyway. If we all put on our Jimmy Carter sweaters and used less oil, we'd still need millions of barrels. How about making sure those barrels come from America by starting to drill for it now? We'll never be truly free until we're completely free from Middle Eastern oil.
Not surprisingly, drilling was nowhere to be found in the article, but Grunwald did include plenty of other, "simple" things we can do:
"We can use those twisty carbon fluorescent light bulbs. We can unplug our televisions, computers and phone chargers when we're not using them."
He's living in a dream world! Not only is unplugging a television not going to do a darn thing, it's annoying and almost no one in their right mind will ever, ever, ever, ever do it! Ever!
And finally, just in case you weren't yet sure if Grunwald's article was essentially a commercial for Obama, here's how he ended it:
"It's sad to see (McCain's) campaign adopting the politics of the tire gauge, promoting the fallacy that Americans are powerless to address their own energy problems. Because the truth is: Yes, we can..."
Hmm, let me think, where have I heard "Yes we can" before? Ohhh, that's right, it's what Obama supporters chant at his speeches.
Is Obama's energy policy solely based on tire gauges? No. But can we criticize him for embracing the same kind of gimmicky stall tactics that have gotten us to this place?
Yes. Yes we can.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.
All About Oil Production and Refining • Barack Obama • John McCain