Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Obama's new mantra: "Drill baby, drill"

Is the most memorable Republican campaign slogan from 2008 -- one of Sarah Palin's signature lines -- about to become Obama Administration policy?

It would seem so.   Many who rejected "drilling" as a simple-minded, short-term solution to America's energy situation voted for Obama and the Democrats.  Today the NY Times reports:
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 sheer breadth of the offshore drilling decision will take some of his supporters aback
Obama calculates that his recent give-away to the insurance industry in the guise of health-care reform has won the White House sufficient political capital to capture some additional campaign financing from the oil industry.   The president is walking on thin ice.

Obama has not secured any kind of carbon trading scheme.  Neither drilling nor tossing a few billion into nuclear power is any kind of substitute for a national energy policy.*  It is not that any offshore drilling is necessarily a bad idea, but in the absence of serious progress on the issues that Obama got elected for, on behalf of constituencies that campaigned for him, the drilling proposal will not merely be received as another slap in the face.   This time the anger may boil over.
* Obama allocated $8 billion for nuclear power. The same figure -- a pittance any way you look at it -- that went towards passenger rail.   

Update:  What bothers me most about this announcement is that it appears to be yet another example of Obama negotiating against-- what is supposed to be -- his own side.   In return for this preemptive "concession" to the oil lobby, what has Obama won for the environmental movement?  

The decision also further undermines Obama's claim to stand for anything.    During the campaign in 2008, Obama made strong and compelling statements against offshore drilling.  Have any of the facts that informed his reasoned critique of offshore drilling changed?  

Here's Obama explaining his opposition to offshore drilling in June 2008:

Here's Obama describing his support for offshore drilling today:

In 2008 Obama offered voters his reasons for opposing drilling. In 2010 all the president provides are platitudes. Obama owes it to the public to explain why his previous reasoning on the issue is no longer valid.


  1. 1. He has given a reason. He thinks these areas have less ecological impact than the ones he opposed. Do you agree? Why or why not?

    2. When someone agrees with me on some things, I try to forgive them for the others. But I find it hard to understand when someone expresses two opposite opinions on the same page. In this post you speak against the Health Care Bill. In the post titled "Sarah Palin on Facebook" you speak in favor of the Health Care Bill. Why do you contradict yourself?

  2. 1. "Than the ones he opposed"? Previously he opposed them all. In 2008 Obama opposed offshore drilling. Period.

    2. I have not contradicted myself.

    In the other post, I criticize Palin and many Republicans for having outrageously claimed that the health bill is a "government take-over" or "socialism". I explain that a bill that promises to vastly increase the customer base of private insurance companies is not, by definition, "a government take-over".

    From the point of view of saving lives and saving families from financial ruin, it's far better than what Americans had before.

    But it still represents a needless give-away to the health insurance companies. A public option or, better yet, a single-payer system could have saved a lot more money and covered everybody.


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