For God's sake, man, at least have the courage of your own convictions!
Wait - convictions? What the hell am I talking about?
"I am directing the Department of Interior to conduct annual lease sales in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve, while respecting sensitive areas, and to speed up the evaluation of oil and gas resources in the mid and south Atlantic," Obama said in the address.
"I believe that we should expand oil production in America - even as we increase safety and environmental standards."
Government lease sales give energy companies the chance to rent offshore or onshore federal tracts, which can be drilled for oil or natural gas. Companies with the highest bids generally lease the tracts for 10 years.
Oh, is Obama in bind! As Reuters notes:
High fuel prices have dented Obama's ratings in opinion polls and threaten to dampen the economic recovery that is critical to his re-election in 2012.
And on the other hand, his base - and his administration - is filled with anti-drilling Luddites who howl with feigned outrage anytime black gold surges forth from a new hole in the earth.
What to do? Well, self-preservation above all, so Obama bows to reality and allows more drilling. With no fanfare. On a springtime Saturday. While his base is preoccupied with stalking the Koch brothers or some other productive enterprise. And meanwhile, when gas prices go down, he can claim all the credit in 2012, as opposed to having to admit to once again having borrowed Republican platform planks.
Or having to confess that once again he stole from the playbook of his frenemy, George W. Bush:
July 15, 2008: President Bush rescinds Executive Order banning offshore drilling.
Price of oil at close on July 14 — $145.18.
Price of oil at close on July 16 — $134.60.
Of course, let us never forget that Obama the ideologue might once again just be making a head-feint towards the center - again - in an effort to "prove" his opponent's theories do not work. Just ask Shell Oil, who got screwed out of $4 billion and quit its drilling plans when the EPA denied them a critical permit on the flimsiest of flimsies:
Shell Oil Company has announced it must scrap efforts to drill for oil this summer in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. The decision comes following a ruling by the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board to withhold critical air permits....
The closest village to where Shell proposed to drill is Kaktovik, Alaska. It is one of the most remote places in the United States. According to the latest census, the population is 245 and nearly all of the residents are Alaska natives. The village, which is 1 square mile, sits right along the shores of the Beaufort Sea, 70 miles away from the proposed off-shore drill site.
The EPA’s appeals board ruled that Shell had not taken into consideration emissions from an ice-breaking vessel when calculating overall greenhouse gas emissions from the project.
Get that? A ship, operating between 70-100 miles away from a village of 245 people, is being used as a rationale by Obama's hand-picked flunkies for killing a multi-billion dollar project that would both create jobs and lower oil prices.
So what does Obama's declaration that he will support new lease sales for oil drilling mean, exactly?
Absolutely nothing. Like everything else that comes out of the man's mouth...