Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Daily Strike-3/31/10-Offshore Drilling, Seriously?

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. We're talking offshore drilling today, and it's giving me flashbacks to the "Drill, Baby, Drill!" days of 2008. And the Republicans thought that chant was their savior...

DRILLING: Today President Obama decided to lift a decades-long ban on offshore drilling off of the mid-Atlantic coast, in the Gulf of Mexico, and in some areas in Alaska. The good news is that Obama is still protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, and it won't affect me because he won't be drilling off the coast of Maryland (take THAT, Virginia!).

The bad news is that this seeming capitulation to the Republicans doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I guess President Obama is using a promise of offshore drilling to get Republican support for his climate change bill. Let's face it: Republicans wouldn't support Obama's climate bill if the President funnelled money to NASCAR, the NRA and the Family Research Council. There is no point in giving ground in a major policy debate if you don't get anything in return. If Democrats were stuck at 59 votes on a groundbreaking climate bill in the Senate, and President Obama proposed increased offshore drilling to guarantee the support of one Republican Senator, I wouldn't have that big of a problem with it. But to propose drilling and get nothing from conservatives in return seems to me a bit pointless.

President Obama wisely pointed out that we only have 2 percent of the world's oil reserves, and we use 20 percent of the world's oil. Eventually we will need to transition to a clean energy economy, and the longer we wait, the more painful sacrifice we'll have to make. I'm not sure that President Obama's announcement today helps to achieve that goal.

I will say this, however: I have a much harder time doubting President Obama after what he pulled out on health reform.

THE WHITE HOUSE: The President spent this afternoon hosting a Women and Girls' Forum on Workplace Flexibility. Obama made remarks at the event, and even put in a plug for telecommuting. He doesn't want anymore government snow days, apparently. To achieve this goal, there better not be one inch of snow next year.

That's it for right now. I really need Congress to come back in session.

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