Larry Elder

A moderate friend -- aka "swing voter" -- recently sent me a letter, in which he raised his objections about President Bush.

Moderate Friend: Bush has made no major move to address environmental issues at all. The No. 1 thing a president could do environmentally is lead the charge to get us off fossil fuels.

Larry Elder: You must remember to compare benefits versus costs. For the foreseeable future, the only affordable alternatives are coal, natural gas, oil or nuclear. Renewable sources -- solar, wind, etc. -- so favored by the left remain prohibitively expensive. A nation becomes weaker, not stronger, by artificially overspending on costly, inefficient alternatives to fossil fuels. Moreover, our principal supplier of oil is Canada, followed closely by Mexico. In fact, of the top 10 suppliers of oil to the United States, only three are in the Middle East.

M.F.: Alternative fuels have to be developed, and Bush won't lead that charge.

Elder: The private sector should invest its own money for "alternative fuels." When the government gets into this business, it does poorly. A Los Angeles Times article three years ago pointed out that, in the last 50 years, government has spent more than $110 billion on energy research. The Times estimated that tax breaks and other subsidies to encourage development of various sources of energy easily doubles that figure. And what do we have to show for it? The article quotes a UC Berkeley physicist: "We make the wrong bet. We use R&D money to try to pick winners by pouring tons of money into big projects, rather than funding lots of different research and letting the marketplace pick the winners."

M.F.: As for oil, Bush wants to put his friends at Halliburton in charge of it, and import and drill and suck it out of every pit he can find.

Elder: Halliburton has worked with the Department of Defense for 12 years, and did a substantial amount of work under the Clinton administration. Investor's Business Daily recently wrote, " . . . Halliburton won its services contract from the Pentagon back in 1992 -- three years before Cheney became CEO. Then-Defense Secretary Cheney wasn't the one who awarded the contract; career Pentagon officials did. . . . By the way, Halliburton worked under the same basic deal in the Balkans under President Clinton."

M.F.: Don't you feel that the Democrats make a far better show of being "for the people"?

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit