If you're campaigning for Mitt Romney and believe in the electrification of transportation, you're kind of between a rock and a hard place. While Romney previously had supported electric and other non-petroleum vehicles, more recently, he's shifted his focus to freedom from foreign oil through domestic, clean oil drilling. Once upon a time, after all, Romney said the Chevrolet Volt was an "idea whose time has not come."
Dan Senor, one of Romney's closest political advisers, would like this presidential candidate to support EVs – and Israel – and has co-written a 2009 bestseller about the power of plug-ins. Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle makes the point that advanced new technologies like oil-free cars could transform entire global industries. Many countries in the Arab world are completely dependent on oil and should be going for biotech, medical devices, cleantech, greentech, and IT, according to Senor. He disagrees with the Romney campaign's argument that developing domestic carbon energy reserves would spawn an economic resurgence.
Senor, 41, has been active in the Republican party for years. He's been advising Romney since 2006 and has always thought Romney shares his views on the Middle East. More recently, Senor was named senior adviser to vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan.
Senor co-authored "Start-Up Nation" with American-Israeli columnist Saul Singer, and it was written, at least partly, to garner more support for Israel in the U.S. Singer is married to Senor's sister, Wendy Senor Singer, director of the Jerusalem office of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, a powerful pro-Israel lobby.
Senor's books and recent lectures have given a nod to Better Place, the Palo Alto, CA-based EV charging network company that's building the first network for electric cars in Israel. Better Place CEO and founder Shai Agassi was born in Israel and is depicted in the book as being the epitome of forward-thinking Israeli entrepreneurs. In January 2011, Agassi rode with Romney in an electric car during Romney's trip to Israel.
Senor has been playing a role as a critical emissary for Romney to Israeli leadership and the Jewish-American community. Senor has planned tours of Israel for Romney and other high-profile GOP leaders. The pressure's on for Senor now – will Romney win the White House job, and if he does, would he support Israel's role as an EV and greentech leader?