Last night on The O’Reilly Factor, Karl Rove attempted to defend the Bush administration’s energy record by falsely claiming that it had spent more on alternative energy research than “any administration in history”:
ROVE: This president and this administration put more into alternative energy research than any administration in history by a significant factor. And as a result, things like the lithium ion batteries which are needed for cars, plug-in cars, all kinds of cellulosic and other forms of ethanol, hydrogen, wind, solar, all of these with one exception saw a dramatic movement in terms of being able to come to market.
O’Reilly questioned Rove’s assertion, saying “maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t,” and called Bush’s actions on energy “invisible.” O’Reilly was right to be skeptical. Since 1980, federal spending on energy research has declined, and since the mid-1990s, “R&D spending has been stagnant for renewable energy and energy efficiency.”
In 2006, Bush stated that “America is addicted to oil.” However, his 2006 budget called for “significant cuts in renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean air, and climate change related-programs.” In fact, Bush has continually slashed funding for renewables from the federal budget, while threatening to block legislation that would have funded renewable energy by transferring money from oil and gas industry tax breaks. In 2007, the administration attempted to completely “eliminate federal support for geothermal power.”
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) said that, though the President’s 2008 budget request included $2.7 billion for research, it “cuts 2007 spending for efficiency and renewables by 16%.”
The Wonk Room offers a further deconstruction of George Bush’s energy policies here.
ROVE: This president and this administration put more into alternative energy research than any administration in history. As a result, things like lithium ion batteries, plug-in cards, forms of ethanol, hydrogen, wind, solar, all of these with one exception saw a dramatic movement in terms of being able to come to be. We used to think they were in the future, but they’re now in the market or on the verge of being in the market.
O’REILLY: Maybe that is true, but I am an American citizen and I do not know anything about it…
ROVE: It’s true. It’s True.
O’REILLY: It is invisible to me. I am praying you are right. I do not question the money. The progress, i do not know. …
ROVE: Bill, I think you need to get a briefing on this.