Stop me if this sounds familiar: Republicans blame Obama for high gas prices, and to blunt their attacks, the President announces a major expansion of offshore oil drilling. That was the scene in March *2010* when Obama proclaimed his support to drill off the Alaska coast, open up the eastern Gulf of Mexico and offshore Virginia. As I wrote at the time, the President’s drilling plan was
intended to blunt expected GOP campaign attacks that Obama the socialist environmentalist has caused gasoline prices to rise $1/gallon since taking office. I see Obama’s move more about controlling the tone of the upcoming mid-term elections . . . After all, analysts are predicting $110/barrel oil by July and the Administration is seeking to head off the GOP hystaria when that happens.
Of course two weeks later the Deepwater Horizon exploded, killing 11 people and unleashing 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. I wrote that Obama’s earlier pro-drilling stance compromised his credibility. Fast forward to May 2011, and the President simply dusted off his 2010 drilling plan – sans offshore Virginia – and presented it as a “new” energy policy. The President knows that opening these areas to drilling will have an “insignificant” impact on lowering prices and imports. So just as in March 2010, the President’s support of expanded drilling is intended solely to blunt GOP attacks and help Obama frame the election on his terms.
But opening more access to drilling before we have passed the comprensive reforms needed after the BP Gulf of Mexico fiasco is a recipie for disaster.