In what is one of the most explicit flip flops of the Obama Administration, President Barack Obama pushed a new offshore oil drilling policy today in a nakedly political attempt to shore up his sagging approval ratings in the wake of the historic passage of the unpopular Obamacare package. Of course, as the establishment media cannot bring itself to ridicule Obama for his blatant hypocrisy, the Obama 2010 statements are being lauded as a genius “triangulation” move, while essentially ignoring Obama’s own 2008 words which condemn Obama 2010’s policy as “Washington” “gimmicks” that will have only a “negligible” effect on oil production after the passage of 10 years.
In a well-worn rhetorical strategy employed by the President, Obama claimed to be above the fray, the lone centrist in world of ideologues, in his remarks today, condemning those nasty partisans who “claim drilling is a cure-all and those who would claim it has no place“:
Ultimately, we need to move beyond the tired debates of the left and the right, between business leaders and environmentalists, between those who would claim drilling is a cure-all and those who would claim it has no place, because this issue is just too important to allow our progress to languish while we fight the same old battles over and over again.
Of course, here Obama 2010 is condemning himself, as Obama 2005 was one of the partisan ideologues who slammed offshore oil drilling and claimed “it has no place” in energy policy in back in 2005 as Senator Obama (D-IL):
We could open up every square inch of America to drilling and we still wouldn’t even make a dent in our oil dependency. We could open up ANWR today, and at its peak, which would be more than a decade from now, it would give us enough oil to take care of our transportation needs for about a month. Clearly, this is not a solution.
Despite Obama 2005’s clear admonition that new oil drilling in America is “not a solution”, today, Obama says that in fact, it is part of his “from hybrid fleets to offshore drilling” energy solution, while also noting today that his new offshore drilling initiative will reduce dependence on foreign oil. Ironically, Obama 2005 also condemned offshore drilling as both ineffectual overall and as taking at least 10 years to have any effect at all, as did Obama 2008:
“Much like his gas-tax gimmick that would leave consumers with pennies in savings, opening our coastlines to offshore drilling would take at least a decade to produce any oil at all, and the effect on gasoline prices would be negligible at best since America only has 3 percent of the world’s oil. It’s another example of short-term political posturing from Washington, not the long-term leadership we need to solve our dependence on oil.”
Obama on Tuesday blasted McCain for changing his stance on offshore drilling.
“John McCain’s support of the moratorium on offshore drilling during his first presidential campaign was certainly laudable, but his decision to completely change his position and tell a group of Houston oil executives exactly what they wanted to hear today was the same Washington politics that has prevented us from achieving energy independence for decades,” he said in a written statement.
“It’s another example of short-term political posturing from Washington, not the long-term leadership we need to solve our dependence on oil,” he said.
So, according to Obama 2008, McCain’s decision to “completely change his position” from the earlier 2000 Presidential campaign to support offshore oil drilling in the 2008 Presidential campaign was “the same Washington politics that has prevented us from achieving energy independence for decades.” Obama 2008 then again slammed Obama 2010 by saying a flip-flop on offshore oil drilling is simply “short-term political posturing from Washington” and not real leadership. The multifaceted contradictions are enough to make Americans confused as to what exactly Obama stands for on any given policy at any given time.
No word, of course, from our vaunted American media on the massive level of explicit hypocrisy inherent in Obama’s offshore oil drilling announcement today, as he now proposes a policy he condemned as a “gimmick” in the 2008 Presidential campaign. Instead, the establishment media today is worshipping Obama 2010’s move to engage in what Obama 2008 called the “same Washington games” and “short term political posturing” to try to stop his crumbling approval ratings, calling it a “political coup” and heaping praise on the President for his explicit flip flopping:
Just days after Republicans fumed that passage of the health care bill tolled the death knell for bipartisanship, there was a very different message coming from some GOP quarters Wednesday: praise for President Barack Obama’s decision to lift the ban on some offshore oil drilling.
Credit Obama with pulling off a small political coup – one you could even call triangulation lite.
The price he paid in political terms was relatively small: Angry blowback from environmental activists who still support his overall climate change policy.
But the short-term benefits were large: By announcing the policy change, Obama defused a potentially potent Republican issue ahead of the summer gas spike and the fall midterms, while embracing major elements of the GOP’s “all of the above” energy approach to kick-start a stalled climate change bill.
And the drilling decision also allows the president to distance himself from liberal environmentalists disdained by some pro-drilling, blue-collar voters.
“It’s not a bad thing to show you’re willing to do something that gets liberals angry right after you pass the biggest liberal bill in a generation,” said a Senate Democrat staffer, whose boss opposes the policy.
MSNBC, of course, goes over the top in praising Obama 2010’s offshore drilling policy today, ignoring his prior statements which attack those who proposed increased offshore oil drilling while even going so far as to claim that Obama “has been a supporter of drilling” while forgetting about his prior, inconsistent statements from 2008 and 2005 entirely and finally focusing on the alleged “middle ground” Obama was trying to forge:
For a president on a roll following a big health care win, Wednesday’s drilling declaration was both aggressive and pragmatic. Even with a push for cleaner energy sources and efficient cars — and with promises of protection for ecosystems and coastal tourism — the nation still needs more oil, Obama said.
Obama has been a supporter of drilling as part of a broader energy agenda, and the White House played down any talk of wooing Republicans.
He implored people to accept a middle ground between viewing drilling as a cure-all or claiming it has no place in an energy portfolio.
Said the president: “This issue is just too important to allow our progress to languish while we fight the same old battles.”
The Obama Brand, as built by David Axelrod and the establishment media in 2007 and 2008, is one of a “pragmatic” “post-partisan” leader who pursues centrist policies and desires to change the evil ways of “Washington”. The historically partisan passage of Obamacare over bipartisan opposition in the House and Senate by solely Democratic congresspeople, via the use of historically unparalleled levels of pork and special interest deals, conclusively debunked the media-created narrative known as the Obama Brand. However, the establishment media, as loyal Obama supporters, remain committed to attempting to avoid discussion of these facts and instead pretend that Obama is a centrist leader with cheer-leading reports such as the Politico’s (“triangulation”) and MSNBC (“middle ground”), amongst others.
This sudden Obama lurch to embrace the McCain 2008 energy policy of “drill baby drill”, on the heels of the powerfully pro-American speech to troops in a surprise trip to Afghanistan, appears clearly designed to take the focus of his unpopular Obamacare legislation and hit notes that conservatives will be attracted to.
In terms of substance, Obama’s new offshore oil drilling policies are much ado about nothing, as they do not cut back on the massive amount of red tape inherent in the present, ineffective system for allowing domestic oil exploration, and even the decision to issue a lease, let alone actually drill anything, likely won’t be made until after the next Presidential election. Indeed, Obama’s announcement today can only be seen as a naked political play at a time when his base of support is eroding in the aftermath of Obamacare.
The long term benefit of this Obama approach politically is open to question, as the two politicians most tied to advocating increased offshore drilling – Sarah Palin (“drill baby drill”) and George W. Bush – are hated with an extreme passion by many, if not most, of Obama’s remaining supporters. Ironically, this offshore oil drilling flip flop may end up cutting into Obama’s hardcore leftist base more than it builds any additional conservative or centrist support, as Greenpeace and others have absolutely slammed Obama 2010’s offshore drilling policy:
On the heels of his victory on healthcare and student aid reform, President Obama announced today that he would kowtow to the oil industry and allow exploration and drilling in 167 million acres of coastal waters that have been protected for decades.
Obama’s proposal would allow oil and gas exploration in the coastal waters of the southern Atlantic states and the eastern Gulf of Mexico, threatening fishing and tourism industries in those regions. But the news is even worse for Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, which are especially sensitive to oil drilling because they provide critical habitat for polar bears, whales, seals and other distinctive Arctic species.
Incredibly, despite dire warnings from the scientific community that we are approaching a tipping point in Earth’s climate system, Mr. Obama has set us on a course toward more dependence on fossil fuels.
The NYT shows its concern about this latest Obama move, noting that his policy will likely fail to increase domestic oil prodcution or bring over GOP support for his next massive new government initiative: cap and trade, as the NYT shows a rare inability to spin an Obama action in a positive light, concluding that “even Obama sounded somewhat conflicted“:
In proposing a major expansion of offshore oil and gas development, President Barack Obama set out to fashion a carefully balanced plan that would attract bipartisan support for climate and energy legislation while increasing production of domestic oil.
It is not clear that the plan announced Wednesday will do either.
Even Obama sounded somewhat conflicted in announcing a drilling plan that would open large tracts of the Atlantic coast, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and Arctic waters off Alaska to oil exploration and eventual drilling.
It may be that those who remained supporters of President Obama all through the grueling health care battle will peel away with revulsion at the crass political maneuvering by Obama today that pretty clearly endorses a Sarah Palin talking point that liberals incessantly ridiculed for years: “drill baby drill”. However, in the short term, Obama’s approval ratings will benefit from his conservative rhetoric on Afghanistan and offshore oil drilling.