As part of my effort to become somewhat informed on the positions of various politicians, I visted Barak Obama's campaign web site to search for his position on global warming.
I found a PDF report on the subject.
Now, my complaint as to what I found should not be taken as a criticism specifically about Obama. It's just that the report contained yet another example of something that has bothered me for a while when I had an opportunity to say something about it.
The plans contains goals like:
Dramatically improve energy efficiency to reduce energy intensity of our
economy by 50 percent by 2030.
Reduce our dependence on foreign oil and reduce oil consumption overall by at least 35 percent, or 10 million barrels of oil, by 2030
From what I remember from my high school civics class, a President can serve at most two terms. This means that, even if elected, Obama will only serve until 2017 at most.
The politically useful aspect of setting goals far beyond his own Presidency is that he never has to live up to him - any 'failure' that occurs can be blamed on future administration. It is a way of dodging accountability.
I do not like candidates that dodge accountability.
I will repeat, I am not targeting Obama with this. Every candidate does this. It is business as usual, precisely because the voting public tolerates this as business as usual.
What I want to see when I read a policy statement is what the candidate's goals are for the end of 2012.
Sure, they can write what they want to accomplish by 2030. However, the statement should be, "My goal is to do X by 2012 as a part of a plan to do Y by 2030."
But, then, we all know that the worst thing for a political candidate to do is to actually commit himself or herself to some specific outcome. Doing so makes no friends and some certain enemies. So, I do not expect this practice to change. It would, however, be nice if somebody would give this policy a try.