Huckabee: Be energy independent in ten years

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumers are financing both sides in the war on terror because of the actions of U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said Sunday.

The former Arkansas governor made the comments following what he suggested was a muted response by the Bush administration to a Saudi court’s sentence of six months in jail and 200 lashes for a woman who was gang raped.

“The United States has been far too involved in sort of looking the other way, not only at the atrocities of human rights and violation of women,” Huckabee said on CNN’s “Late Edition.”

“Every time we put our credit card in the gas pump, we’re paying so that the Saudis get rich — filthy, obscenely rich, and that money then ends up going to funding madrassas,” schools “that train the terrorists,” said Huckabee. “America has allowed itself to become enslaved to Saudi oil. It’s absurd. It’s embarrassing.”

Huckabee said “I would make the United States energy independent within 10 years and tell the Saudis they can keep their oil just like they can keep their sand, that we won’t need either one of them.”

I have recently heard people criticizing Huckabee’s plan as unrealistic or overly ambitious. Perhaps, but at least the Governor has a goal and enough faith in the American people to believe that we can achieve energy independence within the next decade.

I think that Hukcabee should go into more detail about his plan for energy independence. This is a key issue that hits every single American in some way or another. Higher energy prices make it more expensive to heat homes, buy groceries, or ride a bus. He has a chance to jump on an issue that has not been addressed very heavily in this campaign season and make it his own.

Here are a few things that my wife and I thought of while burning expensive fuel driving all over for Thanksgiving:

1. Research costs a lot of money. The government, rather than mandating research, should allow companies to compete for grants to be used for the research of alternative fuels. The target should especially be car companies who are already researching alternative fuels. The grant will give them the ability to step up the pace in their research without hurting the companies bottom line.

2. Until we are completely free of oil, we still need to have sources of it. ANWR should be opened for drilling. We should also more fully explore drilling for oil off of our coasts. There are vast fields of oil on our southern coast that could be tapped to help alleviate dependency on foreign oil.

3. In order to encourage more research, provide tax breaks to companies that are conducting alternative fuel research.

4. In order to encourage the American people to buy more economical vehicles, increase the tax break given on hybrids, and provide another tax break when other alternative fuel vehicles hit the streets.

Researchers are on the verge of developing reliable alternative fuels. GM is developing a completely electric car that is charged by plugging it into a wall outlet in your garage. Honda is working on hydrogen powered vehicles and has even provided prototypes to select consumers. The work those two companies are doing needs to be encouraged and with the government offering grants and tax breaks to them, it will only speed their progress.

Mike Huckabee has laid out a lofty goal. Now I would like to hear him articulate it a bit more. Energy independence is a great platform to add to his campaign because no one else seems to offer it little more than lip service.

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