trust no one

We can now take offshore drilling off of the table as an issue Republicans and John McCain can use to hammer the Democrats in the general election.  Any serious attempt to address our energy costs by adding offshore drilling to the mix has been sabotaged by five Republicans, including my other senator Lindsey Graham.  Hope they are proud of themselves for their bipartisan compromise with the Democrats, because it came at a huge price.  The base will be angry about this, and it will hurt McCain.  My guess is that we will still fall in line behind McCain, because that’s the only way to stop Barack Obama.

Here’s how this happened:

And so, last Friday, in stumbled Sens. Lindsey Graham, John Thune, Saxby Chambliss, Bob Corker and Johnny Isakson — alongside five Senate Democrats. This “Gang of 10” announced a “sweeping” and “bipartisan” energy plan to break Washington’s energy “stalemate.” What they did was throw every vulnerable Democrat, and Mr. Obama, a life preserver.

That’s because the plan is a Democratic giveaway. New production on offshore federal lands is left to state legislatures, and then in only four coastal states. The regulatory hurdles are huge. And the bill bars drilling within 50 miles of the coast — putting off limits some of the most productive areas. Alaska’s oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is still a no-go.

The highlight is instead $84 billion in tax credits, subsidies and federal handouts for alternative fuels and renewables. The Gang of 10 intends to pay for all this in part by raising taxes on . . . oil companies! The Sierra Club couldn’t have penned it better. And so the Republican Five has potentially given antidrilling Democrats the political cover they need to neutralize energy through November.

Heck of a job, Senators.  Keep up the good work.  Don’t think we will forget this after November.

always a good idea

When there’s a serious problem that hasn’t been fixed in this country, the first thing we must do is blame all the politicians.  Not a bad source for a designated scapegoat. After all, that’s where many of the folks in a recent Consumer Reports survey placed the fault for the high oil prices.  I’m not sure how exactly they came up with these numbers, since they have 77% for the politicians and 75% for oil companies. (If anyone can figure out these numbers, let me know. ) We do need a comprehensive energy policy.  There are no quick fixes, but the American people understand that increasing domestic supply should be one of many ways we can decrease our dependence on foreign oil.  I’m not convinced that the impact of offshore drilling would be reflected in the price of gas immediately, but it would increase supply while we continue to pursue alternative fuels and more efficient cars.  For those who make the argument that it could take 10+ years to see the impact of offshore drilling on the oil market, I say why wait another minute to get started with it? In addition to that, do we have alternative fuels ready to replace gasoline right now? Or will that also take 10 years or more to develop? Right.

There is more to be done with energy policy.  However, the right approach should always be geared toward free-market solutions, because government has never been known for its innovation or its efficiency.  Most of the best inventions and innovations have come from the private sector.  Oversight is fine, I guess, to make sure that the oil companies are following the rules, but nothing good can come from punishing production with a windfall profits tax.  It won’t make gas cheaper — and that’s the goal, isn’t it? Democrats don’t have many solutions, just a long list of things that they won’t do.  That’s great leadership right there.

random acts of verbiage

If you’re someone who wants your candidate to be taken seriously on foreign policy, you probably shouldn’t say stuff like Obama advisor Richard Danzig said, “Winnie the Pooh seems to me to be a fundamental text on national security”.  Yes, I’m sure that there was a deeper, broader point to it, because this guy is considered by some to possibly be the National Security Advisor in an Obama administration.  Putting the national security discussion in terms of children’s stories and fictional Star Wars characters might not be the best way to demonstrate a deep level of understanding on that subject.

Meanwhile, the move to end the ban on offshore drilling is picking up steam.   Both President Bush and presidential candidate John McCain have announced that they support ending that ban.  This is a change of position for McCain, but he is not a stupid man, and he knows that the majority of Americans want to start drilling to reduce the price of oil.  According to Rasmussen Reports, 67% of those they polled support ending the ban on offshore drilling.  The poll also said that a significant percentage of those people also believed that offshore drilling was somewhat likely to reduce gas prices.  The American people have now reached the point where their own financial interests are conflicting with their general desire to care about the environment and conservation of resources and so forth.  They are seeing the tradeoff and deciding that cheaper gas is more important than the environment — if being environmentally friendly means $4 + gasoline, that’s where they recognize the insanity of our current policies.  This is important, because all we seem to be hearing from the Democrats is that we can’t drill our way out of this mess, and some Democrats have even suggested that the government should take over all the refineries (!!!).

Offshore drilling won’t completely solve the problem, but it will provide temporary relief while we continue to work on a more comprehensive energy policy.  I know that many Democrats owe their careers to the environmentalists, but surely they don’t want to be seen as opposing anything that has so much public support. As long as there are appropriate safeguards in place, why not do everything we can to mitigate the pain Americans are suffering at the pump?

As far as what we should do to get this elusive energy independence, we could start with producing more of our own oil.  It makes no sense to beg the Saudis to increase production when we refuse to use the resources we already have.  There should be incentives for oil companies to re-invest profits into research into alternative energy sources — not increased taxation for failing to meet some benchmark set by a government bureaucrat. Then we should look into nuclear power and coal.  As far as government oversight goes, I have no problem with that, but we should draw the line way before we get to nationalizing refineries.


Guess those high windfall profits aren’t sustainable for Exxon Mobile.  According to CNN, Exxon Mobile is closing 2,220 of its company-owned gas stations, saying that they can’t make enough money on those stations to keep them operational, even with $4 gas.  That can’t be right.  The Democrats tell us that big oil continues to soak the little guy on gas prices to line their own pockets.  If there’s a unending stream of revenue to the oil companies, then why does Exxon Mobile have to close these stations?

Drill here. Drill now.  Pay less.  What are we waiting for?  There should be reasonable environmental regulations on drilling, but it makes no sense to beg other countries like Saudi Arabia to increase production when we aren’t willing to use the resources we already have in this country.

there he goes again

We should be so proud of our Republican nominee.  He’s very good at sounding like a Democrat.  John McCain opposes domestic oil drilling in ANWR, and I’m guessing that would mean he’s not onboard with this offshore drilling bill that just got killed in the House.  It might actually get some traction if it had McCain’s support.  He also conveniently missed the Senate vote on a windfall profits tax. The House Dems continue to insist that even if we started to drill our own oil, it still wouldn’t make a difference with gas prices.  Are they serious about this?  Are they so beholden to the enviro-nuts that they can’t see how much sense this makes?  I’m at a loss here.  The American people want us to use our own resources to combat high fuel prices, as well as decrease our dependence on foreign oil.  If the Congress even bothered to ask us, I’m confident that the majority would support offshore drilling.

I should expect such behavior from the Democrats,  but John McCain has gone out of his way to parrot their rhetoric and copy their talking points.  Today he’s taking on the overpaid CEOs, just like Barack and Hillary before him.  Those CEOs make too much money and they need to be more accountable to their shareholders, McCain says.  While I’m not entirely opposed to more accountability for CEOs,  I’m not convinced that he has the best solution to that with giving shareholders a vote on CEO pay.  John McCain seems to think that he won this nomination without many conservatives, and therefore he can do and say whatever he wants — but maybe the reason for this mind meld with Barack on these issues isn’t because he wants payback from us.

My theory is that the whole point behind McCain’s strategy is to say loud and clear to the former Hillary supporters and others — “I’M NOT BUSH”.  See…I believe in global warming, windfall profits taxes, not drilling for our own oil, and punishing the producers in this country for their success.  I’m not so scary.  That’s McCain’s new message, and I hate it.  Maybe he can convince enough people of his own worth that he can become president in spite of himself.   But at the end of the process,  we are all going to go into the next 4-8 years with our eyes wide open about both candidates, and that’s not a bad thing.