Obama Willing to Compromise on Oil Drilling

So Barack Obama just reversed his hard line stance against offshore drilling. I genuinely hate offshore drilling.  It’s advocates say it does three things: lower the price of oil, promote US energy security and buy us time for alternative fuels. BS.

First, oil companies are the only one’s who will benefit from expanded drilling because they’ll make billions selling the new oil into a marketplace that fluctuates like the emotions of a teenager.  The oil won’t affect gas prices for a decade and who knows where they’ll be in so many years.  Oil drilling promotes energy security like buying another beer promotes a responsible drinking habit.  It won’t ‘buy us time’ for alternative fuels, it will buy oil more time to dominate our economy. Everyone knows we’re addicted to oil, and everyone knows the best way to end an addiction is to stop using the product.

Despite my dislike for off-shore drilling, I’m not infuriated by Obama’s shift. He says: “If, in order to get [a comprehensive energy bill] 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.”

When Obama says he’s a different kind of politician, people haven’t really investigated what that means. It means Obama is a compromiser and a deal maker, not an ideologue and not heavily opinionated. While to many this “flip-flop” seems like a display of weakness or political pandering, I think it shows that he has his priorities straight. Right now, this nation’s first objective should be a strong, consistent, well-supported energy policy with ambitious but achievable objectives. Bipartisan support is essential for an effective plan. If the Republicans and 70% of Americans support drilling for more oil, even if that support is manufactured by the oil companies pr strategies, then Obama is willing to compromise to make sure the bigger objective is achieved.

Unconventional politics is compromising with your adversary even when you have an advantage. That is the way long term solutions are created. Unfortunately, many Democrats are having buyer’s remorse. They see a strong Obama and a strong Democratic party, and they want to shove policies down Republicans’ throats. That’s conventional politics and the path to more ineffective government. Resist that urge, compromise and make real progress. An ambitious national energy policy is more important than a few additional oil rigs in the Gulf.

11 thoughts on “Obama Willing to Compromise on Oil Drilling”

  1. Though I agree with your premise that a president should not have such strong ideological blinders that he is unable to compromise at all, I’m still not sold on the idea that Obama actually is “a different kind of politician.”

    In addition to the off-shore drilling switch, he has switched to supporting tapping the strategic petroleum reserve in order to provide a temporary price respite to consumers, a shift from just a few months ago. How intentionally lowering gas prices fits into a sensible long-term energy policy is beyond me. Isn’t he trying to wean America off fossil fuels?

    This can’t be dismissed as a compromise with republicans, who are largely opposed to tapping the reserve, and is more likely just the usual election-year pandering that all politicians partake in. I can only hope Obama is just saying what he has to on the campaign trail and will come to his senses if elected.

  2. Right now, equilibrium for oil is around $95/barrel. Due to speculation that oil is going to run out, oil rose as high as $145. On July 14, George W. Bush lifted the executive order banning off-shore drilling. In the 3 1/2 weeks since then, oil prices have dropped $27. If (and it’s looking more like when) Congress lifts its own moratorium on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf (if they don’t vote it will just expire in September) look for oil to drop to around $100/barrel.

    You see, though supply may not rise today or tomorrow, speculators now have to change their outlook on how supply will be five years from now. It’s already working and economists are now saying that by September 1st gas prices will drop by 70 cents/gallon even if the OCS ban is lifted by Congress.

    The GOP realizes that this alone will not come close to curing our energy problems. However it will not only help lower prices today, it will also serve as a bridge in the 10-25 years it takes to build and perfect renewable sources of energy. That is why the Republicans have been pushing “All of the Above” legislation when it comes to energy

    As someone who has spent the past two months on Capitol Hill..attending nearly every hearing both the House and the Senate have held on the Energy Crisis I have one thing to say on your assesment of Obama’s so-called Great Compromise:

    “Give me a fucking break.”

    Since this past spring, leaders on the Republican side of the aisle have understood that in order to get the oil they so desperately want, they need to make a lot of compromises with the Democratic Majority. A number of resolutions have been written by Republicans since the beginning of summer. Most of them include provisions about drillig in ANWR and the OCS. All of them include compromises to make gains towards renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation.

    Last week, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) introduced the American Energy Act. Take a look at what this law would provide.

    You see, since the beginning of the summer Republicans like Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) Reps. Mark Kirk and Judy Biggert (R-IL) and yes, Senator John McCain have pledged to be willing to compromise when it comes to oil and the first three have all introduced legislation that was either co-authored or co-sponsored by Democrats.

    Obama is now finally joining in on the party when it comes to compromising. He sees the disgrace that the Speaker of the House has made into his party during the courageous and historic Republican revolt taking place on the House floor right now. As someone who has been attending these sessions under the dim lights of the House floor with the microphones turned off, I can tell you that it’s been quite amazing.

    Now that it is clear that Obama’s voters want him to push to create more domestic oil, he’s decided to join in on the fun.

    But if Barack Obama wanted to really prove he was a leader capable of compromising, he would call up Nancy Pelosi and tell her to get her shit together, come home from her vacation to Caracas or Damascus or Leningrad, and give the people want they want. A vote.

    A politician who actually fights for what is right and not just announces it on press conferences?

    No…that’s definitely not change we can believe in…at least not with Obama

  3. Just curious: Do you think oil companies manipulate the price of oil to suit their own political interests?

    The Republican sins on domestic energy policy over the last 3 decades are too many and too grave for me to think they have the nation’s interests at heart over the oil companies interests. They’ve simply betrayed us too many times on everything from environmental legislation to foreign policy. I’m for compromise, but please don’t ask me to celebrate the Republican actions “since the beginning of the summer.” They have to support alternative energy, the public demands it.

    I look forward to the day Obama tells Nancy to “get her shit together.” She sucks. I think it’ll come in November.

    PS. the American Energy Act isn’t impressive.

  4. Talking about the last 30 years is so ridiculously stupid. If you want to talk about 30 years ago I can bring up that in 1978 one of the worst presidents (and by far the worst ex-preisdent) in American history was in office wearing sweaters on tv and telling Americans that if they dressed extra warm they would pay less for energy prices and that would fix our oil problems. PLEASE.

    If you want to talk about the past ten years I can tell you that Bill Clinton vetoed a bill that would have allowed drilling in ANWR. If that bill was enacted, we would have retrieved enough oil from the region in an environmentally friendly matter to at least continue to satisfy a bit of our dependence on foreign oil and keep the oil revenues out of the hands of Walther’s good friends Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    But this isn’t about the past. This is about right now. What’s needed right now is compromise and the GOP is doing whatever it can right now for compromise..even if it means cutting their vacations short and having less face time with their constituents during campaign season.

    And they are even doing it despite Pelosi’s ordering of the CSPAN cameras being turned off.

    P.S. Please Walther..enlighten me. Show me a piece of energy legislation written by a Democrat better than this that all members of Congress (save the ones from San Francisco) could agree on.

  5. You sound like a talk show host. Why are you talking about sweaters and Jimmy Carter? Jimmy asked Americans to sacrifice some comfort for the good of the nation. I know that’s an offensive idea to many people.

    Your Bill Clinton comment is another boring talking point and while calling Chavez or Ahmadinejad my friend might have seemed cute on Crossfire, you seem to forget that show was canceled years ago.

    I don’t want to call you names or break out the democratic talking points. I think your comments are a great example of the political discourse that has brought this nation to where it is today: fractured, angry and without a plan.

    We can do better.

    I’m not surprised the Democrats are trying to run out the clock on Bush’s term. They smell the blood in the water. A Democratically controlled White House, House and Senate means they’ll be able to dictate the terms of our energy policy, and I bet they’ll get enough Republican support to pass it. The GOP collapse has hardly begun.

  6. You’re the one who brought up the past and thirty years of “Republican sins and betrayal”…give me a break.

    My point is that Democrats have had 12 years in the White House since 1977. They have also had 14 years with outright control of both Chambers of Congress (same as the GOP.) So don’t blame lack of progress over the past thirty years solely on the Republicans. Everybody was at fault.

    And while Carter’s ideas of conservation are nice and cute and we obviously all should conserve, this is what the last Energy Crisis-time President’s big plan was to try to stop it. What a joke.

    Please explain how the Clinton example is a “boring talking point?” Please show me one piece of legislation passed by a Democratic Congress that would’ve made today’s gas prices lower if it wasn’t vetoed by a Republican president?

    A couple months ago, Bush came to Saudi Arabia, got on his hands and knees and begged leaders of the oil industry to increase output by a couple million barrels a day. That precise amount would be flowing in from Alaska now if Clinton and the Democrats didn’t give in to the all too powerful environmental lobby. Al Gore must have been running the Oval Office that day while Bill was out get laid. Those people seem to care more about caribou than they do about Coloradans.

    Pelosi clearly doesnt care about the people, doesn’t care about providing any immediate relief. She is perfectly cool with waiting till January 20th to do anything. This, my friend, is the real sin. You may be cool swiping your parents’ AmEX and paying 4.50 a gallon for the next six months when you drive between your houses in Manhattan and the Hamptons, but most Americans are not. They want solutions now and the Democratic party isn’t allowing them too. That is the real sin.

    One thing that can stop a GOP collapse is a Democratic civil war and that is brewing right now. When Hoyer, Rahm Emmanuel and the rank-and-file turn on their Speaker for disgracing the party name (and it’s slowly happening on the hill,) the Republicans may even steal some seats in November.

    Oh..and McCain is up in the latest Gallup Poll

    But we’ve been veering off topic.

    The bottom line when it comes to your original posting is “Obama the Compromiser” has just jumped on the bandwagon while the Republican leaders have been trying to ride the Straight Talk Express to compromise all summer.

  7. You’ve clearly been studying from the Karl Rove play book for quite some time. You don’t seem to understand this isn’t how intelligent people are supposed to debate because it will inevitably end without resolution. Most of our political leaders don’t want resolution. They want angry, polarized people who get too emotional to make smart decisions. This is the electorate they’re familiar with and the one they think they can control. Nevertheless, there is something I need to tell you.

    The biggest sin the Republicans have committed in terms of energy policy is Iraq. It’s difficult for me to understand how quickly some people forget (or try to deny) that our nation was systematically lied to by the Republican leadership to get us into that war. The biggest cynics assumed that at least we would get low gas prices out of the deal… but here we are today, ready to whore ourselves out to whoever can get us the lowest gas prices NOW! Who cares about the long term when we can get upset about this moment. Get it below $4 a barrel and you can have my vote!

    Meanwhile, ExxonMobile just broke another record for the most earnings by a corporation ever. Haliburton is still raking in tax payer money. Americans no older (and many that are younger) than you are still dying in far away land. Congressional approval is still under 20%. Bush is still a lame duck president (for how many years now?) Our government flagrantly flouts the most hallowed sections of the Constitution and international law because they know the media and the people don’t care. Our political leaders greatest sacrifices are “cutting their vacations short and having less face time with their constituents during campaign season.” We should be united against these forces of incompetency and greed but instead you attack me for being what: an elitist?

    What would have to happen for you to question your allegiance to your party?

    I used to support the Democrats. I couldn’t distinguish between what I believed in and what the party platform was. Gun control? Less guns seemed better so I mindlessly supported the Democratic position. Health care? How am I supposed to know what to do? I’ll support the democrats. NAFTA? … Before long, I was reciting talking points and getting angry every time I saw Newt, just like a good party-line Democrat. Then I started studying economics, 9/11 happened and I realized I had been played, like most Americans, into thinking there are only two parties, one valid opinion and no room for compromise. I was wrong and I realized I could do better. I had the interest and the intellect necessary to come up with my own position on issues. Now when I debate, I don’t feel angry, I feel driven to spread a message I’m still trying to fully comprehend: socially liberal, mildly internationalist, and philosophically a libertarian. Neither political party meets my needs so I’ll find or create one that does.

    You need to sit down and ask yourself if you’ve let your judgment get clouded by your environment. Are the Republicans really providing you with what you want?

  8. First of all, we both know that on many issues, namely this one, there is absolutely nothing that we can agree on. No matter how convincing your debates are, I can never agree with you that we should engage with Iran, legalize heroin that funds terrorists and allow gas prices to stay at this level through January 20th without passing a single piece of legislation. The only thing possible to do is to air our beliefs, hope that someone is reading this posting other than the two of us, and maybe influencing someone to our cause.

    If you wanted a real debate, and real discussion, you would address the topics I brought up in my first posting instead of dismissing the current events with “30 years of sins”

    If you really are interested in my political stances, know this: I work for the self-proclaimed “leader of the moderate Republicans in the House” and there are many issues that he is more conservative than I am.

    Walther…You know who I am. You have my phone number. If you really want to know how I truly feel on every issue, give me a call. With Pelosi shutting down Congress I am not a busy man these days.

    That’s neither here nor there. The point of this posting from the beginning and the issue we are currently facing isn’t who’s to blame (though Obama seems to practicing the Kerryesque tactic as his main campaign talking point). Right now we are in an energy crisis. Both parties are to fault. Carter could have passed energy legislation during the last major energy crisis. Clinton could have allowed us to be pouring in 5 million barrels a day from ANWR by now. Are the Republicans more to fault? Maybe.

    But who is doing more to end the crisis TODAY. Who is sitting on the house floor right now waiting for a vote while their colleagues on the other side of the aisle continue to bathe in the sun on their vacations?

    Let’s talk about now. Republicans are not content to wait till January 20th to tell their constituents help is on the way.

    If you really want to bitch and moan about these so-called lies and deceptions, come to DC, you can stay with me, and join Dennis Kucinich in his efforts to impeach Bush…oh wait, he went on vacation too.

    P.S. In many many ways (probably different ones than you,) I’m philosophically libertarian too. You’d be surprised if you just asked

  9. Criminalized opium funds terrorists, legalized opium wouldn’t. That’s the whole point…

    Should I take your response as an admission that you’re happy with the performance of your party over the last 8 years?

  10. Within ANWR existsroughly 1.5 million acres of the most biologically diverse and natural resource-rich land in the tundra. This is what is referred to as protected in the famous section 10-02. And I believe it is the all so powerful oil lobbyist (haha powerful environmental lobbysist) that try to paint the area as a wasteland. So, it is not just the 50-60,000 caribou that give birth in the region every year, but also over 200 other species and dozens of indiginous groups that still rely on the land for 70% of their sustenance. In this area there is as much as ten billion barrels of oil (only enough to sustain the US for under 50 days, at our current rate 20.7 million barrels a day). 60 miles west of ANWR is Pudhoe bay, America’s largest oil field, and just past that is the 23.5 million acre National Petroleum Reserve, neither of which are tapped or even fully developed, and both of which have already forever detrimentally altered the ecosystem and the numerous species and tribes that relied on it.

    Isn’t expensive gas and record oil profits a wake up call to anyone else? Since when were Republicans interested in manipulating markets? That is the same mentality that says a $300 stimulus check is going to revive our economy. Like putting a bandaid on a hatchet wound. Forever ruining what little wilderness this country has is not a solution…clearly we need alternatives. And we all know that more drilling won’t even have an impact on the market for 10-15 years.

  11. ha! compromise? how bout no back bone and telling people what they want to hear on an election year. what does Obama stand for? Unfortunately, nobody really knows. but so far, I’m really impressed with this “new kind of politics”

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