Recently John McCain reversed course on off shore drilling. While it is indeed a flip-flop, it is perhaps understandable than a policy position can be changed depending on the actual circumstances – $2.00 a gallon gas versus $4.00.
Barack Obama has been consistent in his opposition to expanded drilling and his criticisms of McCain’s new approach. He has consistently said that this is a problem we can’t drill our way out of and that drilling now will not bring any new gas to the pumps this summer. It’s only a partial solution.
Both of those objections may be true, at least partially, but they beg the question – what if we had expanded drilling 10 years ago, wouldn’t that have helped right now? Isn’t a partial solution better than no solution?
It is strange to see Obama changing positions on public financing, nuclear power, FISA, NAFTA and soliciting money from lobbyists among other things, while not shifting his stance on this hot button issue.
In fact, Obama is even doubling down on high gas prices. He told Fortune magazine that his biggest economic concern was energy supplies, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t to use more American oil. He wants to use taxpayer money to subsidize alternative fuels (hasn’t ethanol worked out so well?) and industries (big businesses! Horror!) as they change over to whatever new fuel type we will use.
Here’s where it gets real interesting for those who are think they are paying too much for gas right now? (How much is it in California right now? It’s just under $4 in the Raleigh-Durham area of NC.) To encourage his government supported transition to alternative fuels, Obama supports legislation that would make fossil fuel more expensive.
When the magazine writer reminded Obama that this is going to bring even more pain to the average working American, the presidential hopeful responded, "There is no doubt that in the short term, adapting to this new energy economy is going to carry some costs."
So while attacking McCain for the long term solution of expanded drilling because it wouldn’t bring immediate relief, Obama is supporting legislative that would actually cause even more immediate pain. How is that even a coherent position to hold?
Obama continues to hammer that increase drilling is only a partial solution. In a sense he is right, but no one is advocating. least of all McCain, that the only energy policy change we make is to expand drilling. But that is a needed first step in bringing about extended relief to those of us tired of paying high gas prices.
Along with increased drilling we should build more oil refineries so they can produce more gasoline (liberals oppose this). We should cut federal and state gas taxes, not stupid holidays like McCain proposed but permanent cuts (liberals oppose this). We should stop requiring refineries produce dozens of kinds of boutique blends of gasoline to fit all the different state requirements (liberals oppose this). We should also expand alternative energy sources, but do so using proven methods like nuclear energy. Our nuclear program to be more like, I can’t believe I’m saying this, France (liberals oppose this).
Those measures would bring immediate and long term relief to high gas prices, but the liberals in Congress and the Democratic nominee for President are opposed to those policy measures. Instead they actually want higher energy prices, as Obama said in his interview. Higher energy prices are beneficial to liberal policy such as expanded governmental regulations in environmental issues and even into the economy. Several Democratic congresspersons have publically suggested nationalizing the oil industry, which serves as a reminder of the socialist tendencies and inclinations of today’s Democratic party.
It is not a simple, "Want low gas prices? Vote for McCain!" bumper sticker situation. But it is obvious from their own statements and the consequences of the policies they support and those they don’t, that the results of liberal Democrats having political power will be even high gas and energy prices. If you don’t think that to be the case, read again what Obama said about "costs" and remember his eloquent phrase "don’t tell me words don’t matter."