President Barack Obama encouraged some business interests by mentioning nuclear energy and offshore drilling during his Jan. 27 State of the Union speech. Those less popular energy solutions joined the usual alternative rhetoric of wind, solar and bio-fuels.
But on CNBC's Jan. 28 "Street Signs," Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's "Mad Money" noted something was missing - an important onshore energy source, natural gas. And as for the nuclear energy signals - he wasn't convinced Obama was serious.
"I mean, I want to point out I thought the nuke thing was just the boilerplate nuke," Cramer said. "[Energy Secretary Steven] Chu is a research director, the Energy Secretary, really is more of a professor. Offshore oil and gas, the issue is onshore. Natural gas wasn't mentioned, got to be really careful about that."
And according to T. Boone Pickens' PickensPlan.com Web site, natural gas could be a "bridge" to better energy policy that the President advocated, but was lacking from Obama's SOTU speech.
"Natural gas is not a permanent or complete solution to imported oil," PickensPlan.com site explains. "It is a bridge fuel to slash our oil dependence while buying us time to develop new technologies that will ultimately replace fossil transportation fuels. Natural gas is the critical puzzle piece that will help us to keep more of the $350 to $450 billion we spend on imported oil every year at home, where it can power our economy and pay for our investments in wind energy, a smart grid and energy efficiency."
The other key thing coming from the SOTU speech according to Cramer that had a big impact on the United States economy was Obama's vote of confidence for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
"The most momentous thing that happened he embraced Geithner," Cramer said. "Now why is this important? Because Geithner, while viewed now as a tool of Wall Street is in reality a guy who saved the banking system by making them raise a lot of equity with serious stress tests that everybody now realizes weren't a joke. So we want Geithner in because there's no Geithner rule to break up the banks. It's just the Volcker rule. Had he come in and snubbed Geithner and somehow do a bear hug around [head of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board Paul] Volcker, the bank group, the only group that's up today, would be in shreds."
Geithner had been grilled earlier in the day by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the AIG bailout and took some punches from lawmakers. However, Cramer explained Geithner's impact on saving the banks shouldn't have been taken lightly.
"Kangaroo court and show trial with a guy who is substance," Cramer said. "It's so much easier to not be substantive and take those questions. I felt it was one of those things was very like point of order with [Former U.S. Sen.] Stu Symington stalking out and [former head counsel for the U.S. Army Joseph] Welch asking, ‘Gentlemen, do you have no decency.' This was really a travesty - those hearings. I don't know how these guys can live with themselves. Do people really think that Geithner's just a big joker who like goes to a lot of Washington Redskins and Nationals games, which in itself would really mean that he has lost his mind?"