Well, yes, Mitt Romney is excited these days. But today is all about the topic of energy for his campaign. Romney will give a speech in New Mexico (an energy-rich state that has had its share of run-ins with the Obama administration over power plant approval and energy development). There, Romney will roll out (re-roll out with more detail than in the primary) his complete energy plan. He sets a precise goal, which his press release says is to “achieve North American energy independence by 2020 and establish America as an energy superpower in the 21st century.”
He comes forward, as he did on foreign policy, with a white paper laying out the details. But the key points his campaign stresses are:
• Federal Lands: Empower States To Control Onshore Energy Development
• Offshore Areas: Open Offshore Areas For Energy Development
• North America: Pursue a North American Energy Partnership
• Resource Evaluation: Ensure Accurate Assessment Of Energy Resources
• Regulatory Reform: Restore Transparency And Fairness To Permitting And Regulation
• Innovation: Facilitate Private-Sector-Led Development Of New Energy Technologies
He calculates that this will create 3 million new jobs (1 million in manufacturing), add $500 billion to gross domestic product and $1 trillion in revenue for all levels of government, lower the trade deficit, and improve national security by lessening our dependence on outside energy sources.
This seems to be an appropriately well-timed shift back to jobs and the overall economy. The Romney-Ryan team has done better than expected (by many conservatives) on Medicare and welfare reform. However, with the rotten Congressional Budget Office report and another jobs report coming out the day after the Democratic National Convention, Romney will be emphasizing jobs and the overall state of the economy.
In his stump speech he ticks off five steps to economic recovery (energy, trade, training/education, reducing the debt and helping small business); the energy roll-out puts some meat on the bones with regard to the first item. It is also perhaps the most popular and relevant policy item to voters in a number of swing states that are energy producers (including Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania).
Those fiscal conservatives concerned that Romney-Ryan have been putting on the “green eyeshades” (debt reduction, reforming entitlements) and not talking enough about growth and jobs should be pleased. We’ll see if voters are as receptive.