of the Union, Gasless
As President Bush’s speechwriters are putting the finishing
touches on his State of the Union address, here is an extra
minute or so of material I’d love to see them work in:
fellow Americans, I come before you tonight to announce a
historic undertaking—to call on the American people to put
an end to our destructive and shortsighted dependence on oil.
World War II, President Roosevelt created the Manhattan
Project—the remarkable wartime effort that enlisted the greatest
scientific and technical minds in the country to help protect
us from the tyranny of fascism. Today, as we fight the war
on terrorism, we need to commit the same all-out effort to
freeing ourselves from the nations and terrorists holding
us hostage through our addiction to oil.
this in mind, I call upon Congress to enact legislation immediately
raising the mileage standards for all cars and SUVs to 40
gallon—a move that will save American car owners $45 billion
each and every year on their gasoline bill. That is money
that can be used right now to stimulate our economy.
also needs to close the senseless loophole that allows the
biggest gas-guzzlers to get the biggest tax breaks. I’m taking
the lead on this issue by abandoning that component of my
new economic plan that would increase by 50 percent the already-substantial
write-off available to buyers of the least-efficient SUVs.
People buying fully loaded Hummers, Navigators and Land Cruisers
should not be able to immediately deduct the entire price
of their vehicles.
isn’t fair, it isn’t smart, and it isn’t safe—as was made
refreshingly clear earlier this month by my auto-safety chief,
Dr. Jeffrey Runge, who pointed out that, when it comes to
SUVs, size doesn’t equal safety. The rollover death rate is
three times higher in SUVs than in cars. Please join me in
saluting Dr. Runge for his candor and his passionate commitment
to passenger safety.’’
(Note: The president points to the VIP gallery, where Dr.
Runge will be seated next to the First Lady. Wait for Dr.
Runge to acknowledge the applause.)
those of us in Washington can’t solve this crisis on our own.
That’s why tonight I am challenging the American auto industry
to use the hybrid technology currently available to produce
a full line of socially responsible vehicles—including hybrid
SUVs. More than ever, we need the talent and entrepreneurial
spirit Detroit has exhibited in the past. And we need to mobilize
the resources at our disposal to develop the hydrogen fuel
cell technology that will set us free from our dependence
on oil. We can’t simply drill our way to energy
freedom—it can only be achieved through conservation and innovation.
And rest assured, if American industry doesn’t rise to this
mission, others will.
year I told you that we were at war—and asked you to do your
part by shopping and traveling. It wasn’t enough. So tonight
I’m calling on you to commit yourselves to this large, collective
purpose—and to the shared sacrifice needed to meet this monumental
asking each of you out there to do your part by switching
to a more fuel-efficient car. An increase of just three miles
per gallon would save us from having to import 1 million barrels
of oil a day—and from having to go begging, hat in hand, to
countries that harbor terrorists, like Saudi Arabia.
should all follow the example being set in Massachusetts by
my good friend and fellow Republican, Gov. Mitt Romney, who
wants to trade in his state’s fleet of SUVs for cars that
cost less, pollute less and get better mileage. Take a bow,
(Note: Wave to Gov. Romney, who will be seated on the other
side of the First Lady.)
friends, we have everything we need to win this war—we just
have to summon the strength, the spirit and the drive that
have defined the turning points of this great nation.
can do better. We must do better. We will do better.
night—and God Bless America.”
A columnist can dream, can’t she?