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.