Friday, August 1, 2008

No vote on oil drilling only hurts all Americans

I think republicans did a good thing and made a great political move in pressing democrats to keep Congress in session until an agreement was made on what to do about high oil prices, or to at least have a vote on offshore drilling -- of which Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi refused to even allow a vote on.

All the republicans wanted was JUST A VOTE. A vote is no guarantee of passage. It simply would have provided Congressmen and women an opportunity to show the voters where they stand on the issue.

I'm saying this because McCain has been pressing Obama on Obama's desire not to change his position on offshore drilling, and this has done wonders for McCain in the polls. In the past week alone, McCain gained 8 points in Gallup in 4 days.

Yesterday, despite the democrats turning off the lights and the microphones, republicans stayed in session and continued to debate amongst themselves.

McCain was originally against offshore drilling, but changed his mind when he determined that this would be the best "short-term" means of lowering the price at the pump.

He has been mulling over other ideas too, such as providing an incentive in cash for the first person to invent a more powerful battery for cars, building nuclear power plants, and seeking other alternative fuels that might power cars and make electricity.

Obama has been steadfastly against slant drilling, drilling in ANWAR, nuclear power and does not want to provide an incentive to make a more powerful battery. He is for windmill power, so long as those windmills don't get in the way of scenery (which will be hard, because we'll need billions of them to meet our needs).

Democrats --including Pelosi and Obama -- say offshore drilling would take 10 years to do any good, and the consequences may be severe for the environment.

However, it was Bill Clinton who refused to sign a bill handed to him that would have allowed off shore drilling and drilling in ANWAR 10 years ago. If that bill had been signed, we'd be reaping the rewards right now.

And scientists say technological advancements have all but eliminated the environmental threat created in the past by oil drilling.

And while offshore drilling, according to McCain, would be only a temporary solution to the energy crisis, he -- if elected president -- says he would continue to encourage companies to seek out alternative fuels -- which is really the idea solution here.

Obama had been steadfastly opposed to slant oil drilling. But, after he lost 8 points in the polls in four days, he all of a sudden today decided that he "might" support it if that's what it took to get a decision passed through Congress and put on the president's desk.

Sure, McCain changed his mind too, but he did so on his own time. Yet, any time a candidate changes his mind he risks it being seen as politically motivated -- or a flip flopper.

Still, I think Obama is going to appear to voters to have changed his mind here only when his hand was forced. McCain changed his mind earlier on in the campaign, and not when he was pressed to do so (however, even that may be debated, as he wanted to appeal more to his Conservative base.)

I personally see changing your mind good. Even I, your humble reporter, change my mind sometimes as I do my research; as I learn more.

Yet I think Obama waited until the polls showed it was an unpopular position before changing his mind. However, it does show that he -- not unlike McCain -- might be willing to find a COMMON GROUND approach to solving America's problems.

Obama said, "If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage - I don't want to be so rigid that we can't get something done."

McCain does still oppose drilling in ANWAR.

Obama has also said he'd rather that we make sure our tires are fully inflated, and democrats have also supported the idea of lowering the speed limit that Americans have to drive, all in an attempt to lower prices. I have no problem with conserving, but not at the expense of progress.

As the Khaki elephant writes, and I have written in past posts, Obama would rather us give up our economic mite, and go back to early 1900s style living, rather than drill for more oil. Which doesn't make much sense, because they support OTHER NATIONS drilling for oil.

Drilling for oil is going to have just as much of an environmental impact if it's done on the other side of the world as it would here. So, if it's going to be done, why not do it right here where we can reap the benefits, become energy independent, be safer in the process because we would no longer rely on foreign dictators for our oil, and have a lower cost of oil and gas.

Pelosi: man she is steadfastly against new oil drilling no matter who might benefit. She says she will not allow a vote on the senate floor. She would rather have nothing at all -- to the disadvantage of all Americans -- than have something she does not politically support. This is the kind of partisanship we do not need.

Some bloggers, and some republicans, think that democrats want to keep prices high, which is a great incentive for people NOT to drive, and thus keep pollution down.

Obama has said (paraphrasing), "I wanted prices of oil to be high, I just didn't want them to go up this fast."

To be fair here, I have written how some republicans have written about how higher gas prices make alternative fuels competitive. So this idea of keeping gas prices high is not just a democrat idea, and not just a liberal idea either.

Which is all the more reason to continue the debate in an attempt to find a COMMON GROUND solution, and to at least allow a vote.

By doing nothing, we are only hurting all Americans.

This, my friends, is just my humble opinion.


Thinking Sage said...

To be sure it is the charge of the Dems to break the american public, that way they can make the people beg for socialism.

Khaki Elephant said...

I've actually been changing my mind on the topic and become open to the idea of more drilling. I wish the Dems would do the same.

Anthony Palmer said...

I wonder why nobody has turned this into a "states rights" issue? Or is "states rights" only applicable when you are on the wrong side of public opinion?

South Carolinians are not particularly enthused about drilling off their coast.

Freadom said...

I've written before on this blog that if the Senate gets rid of its ban on slant drilling, each state will have the choice to make it legal or not.

At the same time, however, you have a lot of politicians in Washington who think they know what's best for all of us.

Khaki: The key here is to drill here and drill now, and work vigorously at finding a alernative energy sources.

The thing is, though, that by not drilling for our own oil, we are only skrewing ourselves at the pump. Of course this is all IMO.

S.W. Anderson said...

Immediate legislation to authorize offshore drilling wouldn't bring gasoline and diesel price relief for (depending on whose estimate you go by) eight to 12 years or more. And it would bring precious little additional product and price relief then.

A big stumbling block, in addition to the lack of proven offshore reserves to begin with, is that the industry lacks the hardware and skilled manpower necessary for rapidly increasing the number of offshore drilling rigs. You can't just go down to Home Depot and ring up Kelly Temps for these things, and Schlumberger doesn't keep a warehouse full of them.

What congressional Republicans are doing is making a cheap-shot, cynically misleading bid for attention in an election year.

Two things might offer some relief in the short term:

1. Slapping speculators with some junkyard-dog-mean regulation right away.

2. Using oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to boost supply.

Freadom said...

It comes down to supply and demand in economics 101. As our supply of oil goes up, the price will go down.