I don’t think there has ever been more dishonest Congressional pandering to the electorate than the current (and overwhelmingly Republican) bamboozle to expand offshore drilling as a near-term panacea for high gasoline prices. There is not a shred of evidence that this would have an impact in the next ten years; even the US Energy Department’s report on the subject sees no likely impact before 2030 – and a minuscule impact even then. The White House, and Congressional Republicans rightfully paranoid about their election prospects in November, are simply making up “facts” to placate angry voters. Perhaps, on advice from former Senator Phil Gramm, Republicans hope that the “positive psychology” of expanded offshore drilling will mitigate the “mental recession” we are now in. This is truly pathetic, and says more about the sorry state of Republican politics than their position on almost any other issue.
I predict that history will assign the biggest black mark to the Bush Administration not for his Iraq debacle, Katrina chaos, Abu Ghraib / Guantanamo torture, illegal wiretapping or Justice Department failures, but for his failure to marshal a willing American public, on Sept. 12, 2001, to join in a massive technology and conservation undertaking to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. Had he seized that opportunity, now lost, there is no doubt in my mind that we could have achieved that goal within the 8 years of George Bush’s presidency, and he would have assured his position in the pantheon of visionary leaders who rose to the challenge. Alas, we we were instead told to go shopping. The bogus posturing on expanded offshore drilling must be the last nail in the coffin of a failed national energy policy, with both Republicans and Democrats destined for the Hall of Shame.