Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Obama + Energy Plan = Success

Finally, Barack's paired his biggest strength with the one thing I didn't think he could do: combining his inspirational vision for America with a detailed and progressive energy policy. The result is a great plan that stands out as one of Obama's new biggest strengths.

I have been proud of my solid support of Chris Dodd's energy and environmental proposals--they are truly tremendous and deserve the widespread support they have received from influential members of the environmental community--but Obama's plan somehow stands out as being feasible, inspiring, and very forward-thinking all at once.

I could comment on some of the details of Obama's plan, such as establishing a grant program for states and cities that implement energy efficient building codes first, creating a Clean Technologies Development Venture Capital Fund to pump money into new technologies, and sharing those new American technologies with developing countries around the world. I could also talk about how much enthusiasm for his proposals that I heard in the invitation-only crowd after Obama's remarks. But of everything today, the one thing that stuck out the most was hearing Obama ask questions of the woman touring him around newly-built and green Portsmouth Library.

After being told about the building's construction and reduced environmental footprint, Obama adroitly asked what percentage of the building's emissions came from heating and cooling. It turns out that the issue of providing air conditioning and heat for construction is one of the hardest areas to reduce emissions in, and Obama knew that. Even when the librarian stumbled on her words regarding the project's environmental initiatives, Obama stepped in and moved the discussion back on track and talked about the need for new government construction be emission-free by 2025.

Obama's speech also showed one of his biggest strengths: his ability to eloquently continue one of his points through the interruptions of applause, laughter, or because his head wasn't pointed at one of his prompters. Sure, Obama couldn't touch Joe Biden on a script-less foreign policy debate, but for the first time in the campaign he seems to have found something he can talk about with confidence and conviction anytime and with anyone.

Does he stand a chance against Hillary in the coming months of the campaign? Who knows. Obama isn't a lightweight anymore though, and his dedication to his energy proposal shows he has the rare ability of staying true to what issues matter most even when you're in the spotlight.

Keep it up.

(all photos: 2007 by Luke N. Vargas. All Rights Reserved.)

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