What about the 3.6 million jobs the Romney plan promises? Many of those are real: additional oil production would spur job growth at a time when the U.S. economy is hurting. Many others, though, result from oil and gas development that would likely happen during a second Obama term as well. And, according to the Citigroup study that is the source of the Romney figure, 785,000 of the jobs would come from the improved fuel economy that Romney would no longer pursue.
The biggest problem with the plan, though, is not what it does or promises -- it's what it leaves out. The United States remains vulnerable to global oil markets and constrained in its foreign policy because of its massive consumption of oil from all sources. Yet the Romney energy strategy does nothing to address this Achilles heel aside from promising to continue support for basic research.
The plan is also mum on the other grave energy challenge the country faces: climate change. Reasonable people can differ on how much emphasis to place on climate change in U.S. energy policy, but it isn't reasonable to ignore it entirely. The Romney plan does not mention climate at all. To be certain, surging production of natural gas can help curb U.S. emissions, but it will come nowhere close to delivering the reductions the country needs alone. Romney likes to quip that people "do not call [climate change] America warming, they call it global warming," his way of saying that climate change can't be confronted unilaterally. But his plan does not include a multilateral strategy either -- something that other Republicans could easily have helped him craft.
There are many good reasons to embrace rising U.S. oil and gas production and to reform the way government regulates their development. The Romney strategy for fossil-fuel development has some reasonable proposals on both fronts. But when it comes to comprehensively exploiting energy opportunities and confronting energy-related risks, the strategy falls woefully short.