Tuesday, August 05, 2008


The most repeated phrase of the last couple of months is probably, "We can't drill our way out of this." Nancy Pelosi has said as has Barack Obama, and even T. Boone Pickens uses it when urging us to remake our energy infrastructure. What does this mean, anyway?

According to Democrat orthodoxy, there is no reason to allow drilling offshore or in Alaska because it will take years before we see any results. The amount of time is estimated at 7-20 years, depending on who is pontificating.

The answer to this is so obvious that Jay Leno has used it as a punchline - they've been using this excuse for over a decade. If the Democrats had allowed drilling in the mid-1990s then we would be seeing some of that oil right now. Also, unless the Democrats think that world-demand will decline in the next decade instead of going up then we will need that oil.

A different point is that there isn't enough oil to make a difference when compared to world demand. This is irrelevant. Additional oil will help prices. Increase supply and prices go down. That's how markets work. If you decrease supply by putting some oil fields off-limits then prices will go up.

Democrats are actually ok with this. They want oil prices to go up. In defending her refusal to allow a vote on drilling, Pelosi said that she is trying to save the planet. A few weeks ago Obama said that the problem was that gas prices rose "too fast". Not too high, too fast.

Democrats probably saw the rise in oil prices as a great opportunity. Their attempt at passing a carbon cap and trade bill failed but then oil prices started going up and people started driving less. If you are a believer in global warming (or the climate crisis as they now call it) then this is a good thing. Even better, Democrats didn't have to take the blame for it. They could blame speculators and oil companies.

Then Republicans started talking about drilling. Then public opinion started shifting. It turns out that environmentalism is a luxury. If you hit people's pocketbook hard enough then they reevaluate their priorities. Currently the country overwhelmingly supports off-shore drilling.

So, what will happen when the electorate realized Obama's plans for them? Last Spring he said that Americans cannot eat and drive as much as they want and set their thermometers to 72. Today he said that "It will take nothing less than a complete transformation of our economy."

It's hurting Obama in the polls, also. McCain is ahead (by an insignificant amount) for the first time since Obama clinched the nomination.

Republicans are pushing all options. Wind and solar power will not be enough and we cannot keep converting food into fuel (or replacing food crops with fuel crops). We have to build more nuclear power plants. We need to keep using coal and keep our options open on oil sand and oil shale.

Democrats are captives of the environmental lobby. They are under a lot of pressure to limit future options to insufficient "renewable" sources. The higher energy prices go the more voters are going to resent the Democrats. This could very well be the turning point in the election.

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