by Janet Ritz
Unlike many of my colleagues, I was not all that surprised at President Obama's announcement that he will open up specific locations to offshore drilling. The urge to demand a consistent position of the president when it comes to the climate seems like the right thing to do. But I have long been aware of the pragmatic and, quite possibly, cynical considerations that may have led to the president's decision.
It is about the climate. Not the long-term trends of weather and geophysics, but the political and factional climate currently in our country, since there can be no argument a storm is brewing come November that could make last August look like a picnic.
How is a president to deal with climate legislation in such a poisonous atmosphere? The rigs give a clue. Offshore drilling on the locations he cited could take years to put in place and longer to see results. By that time, if we're not getting our energy from alternative sources, those rigs will be the least of our problems.
The "drill-baby-drill" mantra, however, despite the evidence to the contrary of the advantage it would provide, has become a talking point that flares whenever gas prices rise -- gas prices that rise in the summer also rise in conjunction with election cycles.
Is it possible that certain industries might not want democrats reelected to the slim majorities they now hold?
With the initiatives President Obama will be put through on energy in the next few months, as evidenced by the new fuel standards set the other day and with the climate legislation that is coming up this summer, he faces an easy (for his opponents) talking point (among many) with drill-baby-drill.
Do you remember last summer? The demonstrations and town halls that turned into hate-fests? Behind many of those who protested was a group, Americans for Prosperity, that is run by the former Rep. Dick Armey. That has received some publicity. What had not been widely publicized is Armey's connection to one of world's biggest polluters, Koch Industries... Continued...