Saturday, May 14, 2011

Obama's oil plan. If he follows through, a good small first step.

Are these encouraging signs or more commission/task force style of bullshit?

Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration, on the defensive amid higher gasoline prices, on Saturday said it will pursue policies that could boost domestic oil production.

President Obama, in his weekly radio address, said his administration would expand drilling opportunities in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve, speed up continuing evaluation of oil resources in the Atlantic and provide incentives to oil companies to develop energy on the leases they currently own.

In his weekly address, President Obama addresses the pain at the pump for Americans and how he plans to jumpstart domestic oil production. Video courtesy of NewsCore.

"These spikes in gas prices are often temporary, and while there are no quick fixes to the problem, there are a few steps we should take that make good sense," Obama said.

Republicans dismissed the president's measures and continued to criticize his administration over its oil and gas drilling policy, saying it has failed to encourage domestic drilling.

Calling the spate of initiatives "not terribly substantial," Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said "this reversal is striking since his administration has consistently blocked American-made energy."

Senior administration officials said the Interior Department will start to conduct annual lease sales in the Petroleum National Reserve, west of Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. Lease sales had been conducted in this reserve before, but the sales were irregular, officials said. Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, however, is "off the table," an official told reporters on a phone call Friday.

As Obama's a bald faced liar, I'll believe it when I see it. At worst, this is all talk and no action. At best, if this is a true flip flop, is an 18 month reprieve from the current disastrous policy and some half-assed support (as ANWR is blocked). Why 18 months? Does anybody think that Obama's support for high gas prices won't be back if he's re-elected?

However, as we all know, there's one issue that trumps everything among independent voters. No, it's not the mythical "fiscal conservative/social liberal" the media loves, nor the social conservative Reagan Democrat although there are examples of both of them. The issue that unites all of them is the economy. Period. It is going in the right direction or not. That's number one, two, and three. High gas prices are among the worst factors possible in the economy as it leads to big inflation - shipping costs, energy costs, commuting costs, and everything dependent on it.

Obama knows that. He may be an idiot on a lot of things, but not campaigning. There is not a long list of presidential incumbents losing (although elections have been mostly close the last 10 years.) Most of them since Reconstruction have something in common as a big issue. The economy.

1888 - Cleveland lost to Harrison (tariff issue)
1892 - Cleveland defeated Harrison (tariff issue)
1912 - Taft lost to Wilson, with help from Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose (economic splits among all three)
1932 - Hoover lost by 17% due to the depression.
1980 - Jimmy Carter was the worst president in my lifetime. He was swept out Hoover style.
1992 - Clinton defeated George HW Bush due to the recession. He probably would have even without Perot.

It's similar with governors when incumbents win. The only one to lose in my lifetime was Blanchard in 1990, right when a recession was about to hit. Before that, the last to lose was John Swainson nearly 50 years ago. While some who likely would have lost a 2nd term if they ran (Pierce, LBJ), most who run for a 2nd term win, even when the other party despises the incumbent. George W Bush won despite the economy, partly due to luck. John Kerry was literally every bad stereotype about democrats. Clinton benefited from the dotcom boom.

As for Obama's chances, it depends on the economy and the GOP opponent. If it's Romney, Trump, Palin, Newt, Santorum, or Roemer, I don't like our chances. Huckabee. Maybe (Hell of a communicator). Huntsman (despite my own problems with some of his stances), Pawlenty, or Daniels. Good odds. Daniels I think is the most electable as of now.

I think this is a pure election ploy at best. At worst, it's all bullshit, just like his record deficits while talking against them. Based on his track record, I'm not sold. He's lied way too many times to earn my trust.

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