The Senate Democrats attempted today to place nearly $29 billion in additional taxes on American oil companies. The intention was to use this pool of money in order to invest in new forms of renewable energy, which most Americans would probably agree is long overdue.

Whether or not you agree with this particular effort by the Dems, it would seem pretty obvious that we need to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels. For the sake of our environment, in addition to our own national security, it’s time for American politicians to start talking tough with the American people. If we hope to truly change anything, we need to be prepared for sacrifices:

This leads me to our current crop of presidential candidates. I think we need a candidate to step forward and say a lot of unpleasant things to the American public. Maybe we need a candidate who’s willing to take a page from Walter Mondale and tell us to suck it up and pay more. Mondale’s “New Realism” certainly didn’t come across the way he had hoped in 1984, but Lord knows we need that kind of candor today.

We need a candidate to tell us that drivers around the world are used to paying far more than we do for gas, and that this is more the norm than the exception. We need a candidate who will embrace renewable forms of energy, in addition to considering options like nuclear energy, which is commonplace in nation’s such as France. It may also require opening up currently protected reserves here in America, so that we can maintain a steady (although stunted) flow of oil, while the nation attempts to transition away from fossil fuels.

It’s unlikely that any one candidate would say all of these things. Democrats and Republicans alike each have their bases and blogger taskmasters to answer to, making it hard to find a middle ground on energy reform. But if we want to get to a place where we no longer need to rely on despots and oil thugs in Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, we will need to change. If we want to protect our planet, we really need to change. We’re already long overdue, and now is the time for one of the presidential candidate’s to step up and talk tough to America.

You can read the post in its entirety on my blog.

I really believe this is an issue designed for the political center. Ultimately, any substantive legislation will have concessions that upset the fringes of each party. Will we ever get there, or is this all wishful thinking?

Politics Energy Reform from the Center