President Obama's Clean Energy Puppet Masters

Tom Borelli

3/12/2011 12:01:00 AM - Tom Borelli

With soaring gasoline prices jeopardizing economic growth and enraging the public, even a novice could recognize the political liabilities associated with rising energy costs.

Yet with all the palpable risks, President Obama, considered to be a gifted politician, is doubling down on his war on fossil fuels.

Following a bipartisan grilling of Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar at a U.S. House hearing about bureaucratic delays in approving deepwater drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama Administration appealed a recent court decision ordering the department to expedite permits.

The Interior Department warned the court that forcing its hand could make the department “deny the applications outright.”

Obama’s stick-in-the-eye approach to oil exploration at a time when Middle East tensions are flaring sets the stage for a political backlash.

Given his rich history of anti-fossil fuel statements – including promises to make electricity prices “skyrocket” and to “bankrupt” coal-fired utilities – the President is vulnerable to criticism and public outrage.

Opposition political operatives must be drooling over the possibility of producing commercials with Obama’s voice pledging higher energy prices while the video shows gas stations displaying $4 a gallon or higher.

Why is Obama aggressively pursuing a policy that carries such political risk? One possibility is that Obama’s anti-fossil fuel strings are being pulled by billionaire investors such as George Soros and John Doerr and by big business CEOs who have made huge investments in renewable energy and the green economy.

Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner has noted that Soros recently launched a green investment fund to cash in on clean energy technology. Carney has also described the connection between Soros’ support of liberal politicians and advocacy groups that promote green technologies.

In 2009, Soros pledged to invest one billion in clean-energy technologies and an additional $100 million in the Climate Policy Initiative, an organization “whose mission is to assess, diagnose, and support nations’ efforts to achieve low-carbon growth.”

The matching investment in public policy is noteworthy. As Glenn Beck reported in his “Crime Inc.” segments on his Fox program, Soros seeks to boost his investments by leveraging his financial support for groups, such as the Center for American Progress, that actively promote Obama’s energy agenda.

Billionaire John Doerr, a managing partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, also augments his financial investments with political advocacy.

Having investing early in Amazon and Google, Doerr is one of the top venture capitalists from Silicon Valley. Following this impressive track record in high tech, Doerr has shifted investment focus to clean energy.

Leaving free-market capitalism behind, Doerr used his influence to advance California’s global warming law, which will boost the prospects for his clean energy investments. When Proposition 23, a voter initiative to delay the implementation of the law, was on last fall’s ballot, Doerr donated $2.1 million to fund the campaign that led to its defeat.

Unlike Doerr’s high tech investments, clean energy requires political advocacy for marketplace success. The Achilles’ heel of clean energy is that it can’t compete with fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas – on a cost basis.

Accordingly, the boot of government is needed to make fossil fuels more expensive while rewarding the wind and solar industries with lavish subsidies, thereby leveling the economic playing field.

When it comes to energy policy, Obama has not been America’s chosen one, bringing hope and change to the public. He seemingly prefers to be a ventriloquist’s dummy for climate change profiteers.

The failure of cap-and-trade did not end Obama’s onslaught. Facing a new Congress without a progressive majority, Obama used his executive powers to advance policies to drive fossil fuel-based energy costs higher.

Delays in oil drilling permits and a slew of EPA regulations including limits on greenhouse gas emissions are weapons to advance the green economy and bail out Obama’s billionaire masters.

While Soros’ connection to Obama is cloaked through advocacy groups, Doerr’s connection is in plain sight. Doerr was appointed to the President’s economic recovery advisory board. When that group disbanded, Doerr resurfaced in the new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which is led by GE CEO Jeff Immelt. On a recent West Coast trip, Obama had a dinner meeting with high tech tycoons at Doerr’s home.

Like Soros and Doerr, Immelt has placed big bets on government laws and subsidies in order to profit from GE’s investments in renewable energy. With the wheels falling off the man-made global warming bandwagon, these business leaders are desperate for government action.

We may never know why Obama is putting his political career on the line for the likes of Soros, Doerr and Immelt.

What we do know, however, is that Obama’s war on fossil fuels is being supported by the rich and powerful - a collection of social and political elites.

Congress should reign in the president’s executive powers. Toward that goal, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 was recently introduced to block the EPA from controlling carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Importantly, the bill has drawn some bipartisan support but more Democrats, especially in the Senate, will be needed for the legislation to pass.

Senators such as Ben Nelson (D-NE), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) among others must decide whether they will represent their constituents or side with Obama and his ruling class puppet masters.