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Romney needs to energize his campaign

Published September 08. 2012 09:02AM

This presidential race does not offer much of a choice. On the one hand, we can vote for President Obama and get more the same for the next four years. This will push the country further into an economic malaise. The alternative is to vote for Mitt Romney who lacks the appeal of a charismatic leader such as President Obama. Mitt Romney is as stale as two-week-old bread. I am hoping that between now and the election, Romney will be energized and show that he can motivate our nation. To do this, he will have to produce more than a vague plan on how he will turn the country around. We need to know specifically what he is going to do and how he is going to do it. Rather than wait for the Romney team to come up with their winning platform, I have created a platform that I believe will lead to victory and a new president in the White House.

The election can be won on two issues: the economy and energy! We need jobs and we need to stop funding Islamic dictatorships intent on destroying the United States. With oil approaching $100 a barrel, the Arab nations and our arch nemesis Hugo Chavez are draining our cash reserves. President Obama has threatened to release oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve. Even if we drain the reserve, the price of oil might dip for a few weeks, but then it would return to all-time highs. Then if a national emergency occurred, we would not have the reserves required to ensure our military and our transportation system have the fuel needed protect our country and to feed our nation.

Each month we import 345 million barrels of oil at a cost of over $33 billion. Over 60 percent of the oil we need is imported. The money we pay for this oil goes into the pockets of foreign governments, often led by dictators and tyrants. The money we send overseas in exchange for "black gold" could be used to create jobs here in the United States and to provide royalties for the federal and state governments. Our trade deficit in June was approximately $43 billion. The numbers do not lie! Seventy-five percent of our trade deficit results from importing foreign oil. It does not take an economist to figure out that continuing energy related deficits would eventually bankrupt our country. Both presidential candidates are ignoring this issue while making vague statements that they will improve the economy and increase employment.

Recent estimates show that our proven oil reserves in the United States are 21 billion barrels. The total conventional oil reserves are estimated at 218.9 billion barrels. If we include unconventional oil reserves such as shale oil, then we have 1.44 trillion barrels of oil available in the United States. ( In addition to crude oil, our nation has approximately 2,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. We have almost 18 billion tons of coal reserves that can fuel our coal generating plants for decades to come. Our power companies have worked hard over the last few decades to install scrubbers so that they can produce power from coal without harming the environment. Clean coal is here and we have plenty of it!

So why do we continue to import oil? President Obama has strong ties to the Arab world. It is not surprising that he has done all he can to impede new drilling by restricting permits and using every excuse to prevent America from becoming self-sufficient in oil. But President Obama is not alone. Presidents Bush and Clinton did very little to encourage domestic oil production. In my opinion, the Arab nations hold the threat of an oil embargo over the United States. Since it would take almost a decade of drilling, and building the infrastructure needed to move the oil to market, our nation is indeed susceptible to an oil blockade. We need a president with the guts to tell the Arab potentates that if they threaten a blockade, their U.S. assets will be seized until the oil embargo is lifted. Mr. Romney: Are you that president? Do you have the backbone to stand up to the Arab nations who have threatened our country in the past and will certainly do so again in the future?

So what does all this have to do with the Romney campaign? Mitt Romney should take a stand on the economy and energy. He should announce that if he were elected president, the United States would become energy independent within 10 years of implementing a fast track energy production plan. The first step in such a plan would likely be to implement Newt Gingrich's "Drill Here, Drill Now" philosophy. With a stroke of a pen Romney could eliminate much of the red tape required to drill for oil and gas and transport it to market. North Dakota currently has a labor shortage because of their successful drilling program. Let's open up drilling in more states to create the jobs we need. There are large oilfields in the American West, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and offshore on our continental shelf. Expanding our drilling capacity could easily create over 100,000 new jobs.

As these oilfields come into production, we will need pipelines to carry the oil to market. As president, Romney should immediately approve the Keystone pipeline to bring oil from Montana, North Dakota and Canada to oil refineries. He should also authorize upgrades to our existing pipelines so that they can transport additional production as it comes online. ( Building the Keystone pipeline will create 10,000 jobs. Several thousand new jobs will also be created to operate and maintain this and other new pipelines. In addition, he should authorize the construction of new refineries to turn the oil into gasoline for our cars and jet fuel for our planes. Building refineries will create thousands of new jobs. New employees will also be required to operate the plants.

In addition to expanding our petroleum production, Romney should explain to the American people that petroleum is the best source of energy in the short term. He should then explained that in the longer term we will need alternate forms of energy such as solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal power. He can resurrect our space program that has been significantly downsized by President Obama. He could set a goal to build a space station on the moon to mine helium 3 before the Russians and Chinese beat us to it. ( Helium 3 can be used to build power plants that work on nuclear fusion instead of nuclear fission. Since the energy in helium 3 is highly concentrated, it would be cost-effective to transport it from the moon to earth. China has already committed to a moon base that will mine helium 3 to meet their long-term energy needs. The moon base can also be used as a jump off point for planetary exploration such as a mission to Mars. Mr. Romney can create thousands of high tech jobs in the space industry and give us new forms of energy if he commits to this program.

Under the Obama administration our space effort has been castrated. Romney can reinvigorate our space program by encouraging commercial exploitation of energy sources on the moon and the asteroids. This is not the stuff of Buck Rogers; this is what must be done to ensure the survival of our country and our way of life. We must finance scientific research to ensure that America is energy self-sufficient.

So let me summarize. Romney can win the election if he offers America jobs and cheap energy. Our economy is currently crippled under the burden of $4 a gallon gasoline. Getting the price down to $2.75 per gallon will in itself stimulate the economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs. Drilling for petroleum products, and building the pipelines and refineries necessary to process them, will create tens of thousands of jobs. Within a few years the unemployment rate will drop below five percent as the economy recovers. The federal and state governments can charge wellhead royalties on each barrel of oil extracted from the ground and use the proceeds to pay down the national debt.

So Mr. Romney, what are you waiting for? Run on a platform that puts Americans back to work, provides the energy our nation needs, and reduces our national debt. Give American voters the details and they will vote for you. Americans want to go back to work and they want to be energy independent. Put those two ideas together Mr. Romney, and you could be the next President of the United States.

© 2012 Gordon Smith - All Rights Reserved

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