For a long time the Republicans have been saying 'drill, baby, drill' while the Democrats have been cool to the idea. I have agreed with the Democrats that we need to find alternative fuel sources. Aside from the environmental concerns, drilling for oil is not a long-term strategy because there is only so much oil to be had.
A few weeks ago, President Obama announced his new energy plan, which included increasing the amount of off shore drilling. This was to appease the Republicans and, in the interest of compromise and bi-partisanship, I had no issues with it. Let's increase our domestic oil production while we also improve on long term alternatives.
The accident in the gulf has now put both parties in an awkward situation.
The Republicans cannot complain because everyone knows that they have been wanting more off shore drilling for a long time. To make a big fuss over the environmental catastrophe that is about to take place would be the same as admitting they had been short-sighted all this time.
Since President Obama had just recently agreed to allow off shore drilling, the Democrats also lost an opportunity to say, 'I told ya so', to the Republicans. Had Obama's speech been just a few weeks later, you know the Democrats would have been all over it.
So what we have here is a rare case where an event with all the potential to have serious political consequences, is being kept very low key by both sides. Neither side can benefit from making it a big issue. Naturally the pundits will make their accusations, but few in the mainstream will take a chance that an off-hand remark will come back and bite them.
I can only hope that the lack of political advantage for either side means that energy will instead be focused on actually fixing the problem and quickly cleaning up the mess before Lake Pontchartrain looks like Prince William Sound circa March 24, 1989.
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