After decades of little or no national energy policy to keep America ahead of the supply and demand game, Vice President Cheney is talking energy policy sense. Unfortunately, it took irresponsible government, the greedy energy industry, unreasonable environmentalists and California's energy crisis to make it painfully clear to consumers.

But we have other problems to deal with before we can hope for any relief and long term solutions. The national news media and partisan politics have already declared themselves against common sense, so much so, that they've made it painfully clear that they intend to throw fuel on the fire and grumble about conservation while the house burns down.

Clearly, anyone who watched C-Span's (unedited) coverage of Cheney's encouraging April 4, 2001 speech at an Associated Press meeting in Toronto could easily conclude that it bears little resemblance to what we've been reading and hearing since. To the contrary, the media and political opponents have consistently degraded Cheney's speech and skewed the administration's intention to establish sound, corrective energy policy.

It is well known that the news media's interpretation of the news shapes public opinion. But this is not the time for victimology, no-fault culprits or petty politics. Alas, in this unstable economy the lack of energy policy solutions will undoubtedly increase the adverse impact on most of us simply because the cost of energy is the cost of living.

Society has been assaulted by selfish interests and battered by the failures of good intentions long enough. Indeed, it's time to re-examine ourselves and to support decisions that work. Cheney's team seems headed in that direction and, when the energy policy study is complete, it should be given open-minded, unbiased consideration from all fronts.

Daniel B. Jeffs, founder
The Direct Democracy Center