The NY Times reports President Obama plans to unveil a new coastal oil drilling plan today. If the oily details leaked to the press are correct, he intends to endanger just a little less sugar-white beach offshore of Pensacola than his predecessor desired. As the Washington Examiner reports:
Under Obama's plan, drilling could take place 125 miles from Florida's Gulf coastline if lawmakers allow the moratorium to expire. Drilling already takes place in western and central areas in the Gulf of Mexico.Call it "Spill-Lite, Baby, Spill-Lite."
We'll wait for official confirmation. But we won't be surprised if the advance reports are true. By now, it's apparent that Mr. Obama is no dedicated conservationist, any more than he's the wild-eyed, dedicated socialist Republicans and Teabaggers claim.
As the ugly health reform debate showed us over the last year, Obama wants to govern as a centrist in an era when centrists are all but extinct. For Obama "centrism" apparently means giving everyone but liberals a slice from the ideology pie.
Knowledgeable sources say it's unlikely more drilling areas will produce more oil or bring down prices. As Pensacola's own Enid Siskin pointed out four years ago:
Our country contains less than 5% of the world’s gas and oil reserves and uses 25% of the world’s petroleum. We cannot drill our way to energy independence. It’s only through conservation, increased efficiency, and use of a combination of alternative, renewable energy sources that we’ll ever be self sufficient.Thirty-four years ago, well before the Iranian hostage crisis, that good and honest man Jimmy Carter knew this, too. As president he tried vainly -- some say, naively -- to educate the American public to the facts as if we were adult enough to listen. We know how that turned out.
Now, Obama appears poised to try the same strategy he used in the health care reform initiative: offer a long-standing conservative, corporate-friendly, half-assed solution that Republicans cooked up in an earlier life when they weren't completely crazy, and call it "bi-partisan." He has to know issuing more drilling leases is no solution to what ails our energy policy. Indeed, he said as much, himself, on the campaign trail.
Obama is smart enough to realize expanded drilling won't do much except delay the day of reckoning over our excessive oil appetite for less than a blink in time. Just as he surely knew that health reform without a public option would soon be undermined by the corporate greed of insurance companies.
Carter wanted, like most presidents, to be president of all the people -- the dopes and fantasists as well as the realists. He strove to teach us hard lessons so we could be smarter for our own good. We wouldn't listen.
Obama wants to be president of all the people, too. Apparently, he accepts the fact that some part of the public just doesn't get it and never will. So, he hopes giving them some of what they want -- even if it's nuts -- will remove partisanship from the debate.
What do you bet -- just like health care reform -- neo-Republicans won't take his 'yes' for an answer?
Or, maybe they just want a white guy to sing their oldies-but-baddies. Ya' think?