Most everyone agrees that President George W. Bush must find common ground with congressional Democrats -- not to mention disaffected Republicans. But after last night's State of the Union address, several polarized camps seem to agree on only one thing: disappointment when it comes to solving America's energy problems.
Bush exhorted Americans last night to slash their use of gasoline by 20% over ten years. The commander-in-chief called for specific moves that include: Federal mandates to quadruple the production of alternative fuels by 2017; upping fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles; and doubling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to 1.5 billion barrels of oil by 2027.
Ben Lieberman, senior policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, told CNBC's Mark Haines that "the key word was 'mandate'." The foundation, which champions private-sector deregulation, sees Bush's initiative as merely forcing Americans into ever-costlier fuel options -- while "crossing your fingers" that consumption will eventually bring the energy market back to equilibrium. Lieberman did praise the expansion of the SPR as a "good insurance policy" against some unknowable future catastrophe.