President calls energy research full of promise; president turns out to be full of something else

Thursday, February 23, 2006 at 12:49 PM

What do you call cutting the budget of the government's primary renewable energy research lab, causing 32 layoffs, right after making energy research a top priority in the State of the Union speech, then magically finding enough money to hire them all back just before the president makes a photo-op visit to the lab?  According to the NY Times, the president calls it sending "mixed signals."

Most of the rest of us call it "Bush business as usual," since this administration has never demonstrated any real foresight or competent planning.  Apart from "Lower that Tax!!!" of course.

The day after the State of the Union speech, the lab, at Golden Colorado:

...announced that a $28 million budget cut was forcing it to lay off researchers in ethanol and wind technology, two of the areas that Mr. Bush cited in his address as full of promise."

Through some magical device known only to the special people who occupy Bushland, the government came up with another $5 million for the lab's budget just before his visit there.  But the newly found money was announced just too late to get the employees back before Bush's visit (although it certainly gave the president a handy defense to what would otherwise have been loud claims of hypocrisy.

According to the NYT article, as the president took part in a panel discussion with energy experts, he:

...tried to cut through the scientific jargon and nudge the experts into nontechnical sound bites for the local news.

Let's hope that the president's addiction to governing by sound bites doesn't translate into the lab researching by sound bites.

How'd you like a nice hydrogen-powered car engineered by sound bite?