Think of this as Volume 14, Number 43 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
The election of a crisis leader does not always engage the Thesis, as the election of Abraham Lincoln precipitated the Civil War. It's not until the crisis leader sees the real problem of his time, the real obstacles, and calls upon the will of the people that the process begins.
After the crisis election of 1896, it took nearly five years for Theodore Roosevelt to issue his call against the "Trusts." After the crisis election of 1932, it was not until the Supreme Court called the New Deal unconstitutional that the issue was engaged.
This is not unusual.
No matter what happens in the coming elections, it's a good thing. The President is being pushed to confront political enemies, to embrace his political base, and to seek a message that will save both him and his party.
The economic crisis the President confronted was not the crisis we in fact face. It was a symptom of a deeper economic problem, the economics of scarcity.
The economics of scarcity have defined the last decade. It's why the Texas oilagarchs got involved in politics. It's why we went to war. It's why economic growth today seems impossible -- each appearance of sustained growth is met by a rise in energy prices.
The time has come to bring that kind of reality to the rest of the economy. It starts with taking energy use as seriously as Europeans do, which will drive down energy prices in the near term and lower the hurdles the new economics must cross in order for its benefits to become obvious.
It continues with incentives for installing and using new energy devices. We're talking solar energy, tidal energy, geothermal and wind, a new electrical grid, and all the rest.
I'm reminded again of the great story of my own home town of Atlanta. In 1923 bottlers and syrup suppliers were at one another's throats, because of rising sugar prices. It was a crisis that threatened to destroy the company. So a new CEO walked in, the son of the company's banker. Instead of negotiating between the two sides, Robert Woodruff asked a different question -- what must we do so every bottle of Coca-Cola tastes exactly the same, no matter where you buy it?
A similar question today might be, what standards must we set so the solar panels you buy and install today can be replaced tomorrow, when better products are available? How can we make it possible for the electrical grid to buy electricity from consumers as well as sell it?
Solar panels are in the Intel 4004 stage right now. Progress is going to accelerate from here, rapidly. Panels are going to get cheaper, they're going to get more efficient, they're going to become more reliable and durable. Each generation of panels is going to be "obviously" worth buying, once you have the basic platform in place.
Yes, we're about to give birth to something like the PC industry. Call if the PE industry -- personal energy. It will include improved batteries that make electricity portable within a home, or a business, or a city. It will include back-end systems -- think of the coming smart grid as being like Ethernet connecting corporate networks.
We should, as a country, be doing everything we can to encourage the development of this new industry. That's what the so-called "climate" bill is really all about, the creation of new industries and new jobs around the idea of energy abundance rather than scarcity.
This means confronting, directly, the oilagarchs and their banking enablers, the people driving scarcity who have captured our political system and won't let go of it willingly. The way to do it, as I have said, is with a new story, a different story, told at first to a skeptical audience, but told with a full heart, and the promise of a brighter, different tomorrow than anything the other side offers.
It won't be as easy as it sounds. The oilagarchs have captured the media, they have captured the punditocracy, and they control not only the whole of the Republican Party but a good portion of the Democratic Party as well. Regardless of what happens on November 2 the President enters this battle with minority support, a skeptical base behind him.
What we'll be told is that what he says is impossible. He'll be called names, as Al Gore was, and ridiculed as the second coming of Jimmy Carter. All the tax breaks given the oilagarchs will be called "incentives" deemed necessary to provide "American energy" (never mind that all energy goes into one world market). All the economic and political might of the oilargarchs will be arrayed against him.
But he will be telling the truth, the most important truth of our time, the key truth that not only turns this economy around, but transforms the future of our children. Which is why he'll win. Why we'll win.
Once that political victory is won, money will start to drain away from the Tea Party and the new Republican Party will be ready to engage constructively on our other problems. But that engagement is not possible so long as they're under the spell of petro dollars, as they are, through a wide variety of groups and lobbies, third-parties and cut-outs.
Don't believe me? Trace back the money coming to the Republican party to its source. Check out what is actually happening in the energy harvesting industries.
What most analysts are doing today is reading the newspaper backwards. They're seeing what appear to be intractable problems. They're failing to see the opportunity.
Once we embrace an economics of abundance economic power will begin draining from all our adversaries -- the Saudi Wahhabis, the Russians, the Venezuelans. Once we embrace an economics of abundance the "problem" of global warming becomes an enormous economic opportunity, and real terraforming of Earth can begin. Once we embrace an economics of abundance our present debts will become easily payable out of future profits.
Getting from here to there is a test of leadership. It's why we chose Barack Obama as our President. I have long believed he was up to the challenge, and now it's finally upon him.
Wish him luck, because with him goes our best chance of prosperity, and a bright future for our children.