Much of the media is reporting President Obama’s announcement that he’ll open up many U.S. offshore areas to oil drilling as a reversal of something he criticized McCain/Palin for saying they’d do if they ended up in the White House, but obviously the political motivations here trump any economic reasons:
“The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday,” the New York Times reports.
This is a president who’s pining to pass Cap & Trade, and if this can help get any Republicans in Congress on board (who will subsequently be sold Colorado swampland), then it’ll be worth it to the Dems. But the entire point of Cap & Trade is to make energy expensive — and the entire point of domestic drilling is to make energy cheaper. That paradox means something’s gotta give, and it won’t be the liberals’ quest for Cap & Trade.
Keep an eye on the “proposing” part. If Obama can get enough Republicans on board “Cap & Trade” with a simple proposal that he knows will never be followed through, then “Mission Accomplished” as far as Obama’s concerned. Besides, any actual drilling wouldn’t even take place until well after Obama’s left office, so he’s free to make as many empty promises as he needs to make. Of course, if Obama knows Cap & Trade is dead, he can bring it about anyway via Executive Order (does this seem like a President who’s going to follow through on promises to drill for oil?).
My prediction is that new drill sites will end up being like Obama’s sudden embrace of building nuclear power plants — and that is to construct them as sweetheart deals for big labor, but never really use them.
This as-for-now merely symbolic lurch to the middle can also be taken as a sign that Obama knows Democrats are in serious trouble in the upcoming election, as well as in 2012.
I will say this though, if the drilling proposal does indeed become reality, if Obama can make sure some of those newly constructed oil rigs will be easily seen from the deck of the Kennedy compound, I’ll donate a nickel to his presidential campaign — a dime if the drills are are powered by giant windmills.
Hey, what happened to “if you keep your car tires properly inflated we won’t need to drill for more oil”? I guess we compressor-challenged Americans didn’t pay attention: