Obama drops the ball on energy – Black on Black Thought

This is part of the bi-weekly Black on Black Thought feature.

What’s up fam,

I am responding to James’ article this week where he lauds Obama’s recent policy reversal on supporting off-shore drilling, essentially claiming that when it comes to comprehensive energy policy reform, there is no magic bullet and we need to embrace all solutions and not the solution. And Obama gave red meat to conservatives by explaining that he would support offshore drilling as part of an overall package in part because “we shouldn’t allow the Perfect to be the enemy of the Good.”

While rhetorically this is brilliant, it shows a lack of Obama’s judgment and here’s why; offshore drilling is a bad idea, not a good idea. As the Boston Globe points out,

It would take at least a decade for oil companies to obtain permits, procure equipment, and do the exploration necessary to get the oil out of the ground, most industry analysts say. And even then, they add, the amount of new oil produced would probably be too small to significantly affect world oil prices.

Now I know that Obama has taken a pounding as his pollsters are probably telling him that “The American people want you to do something about the gas prices and if you maintain your opposition to offshore drilling, you will be seen as out of touch, and we don’t want the uppity thing to stick.”

But just think back to when Obama bucked conventional thought and opposed the gas tax holiday that was supported by John McCain AND Hillary Clinton. In the end, the voters applauded Obama’s principled stance and saw McCain’s stance for what it was, a gimmick. Offshore drilling is no different; it is a gimmick used by conservatives stay wedded to an oil-based economy when we need to move towards a green and renewable economy. Moreover, when you focus the debate solely on supply, you never have to talk about the big elephant in the room, reducing demand. Obama missed an opportunity to do what is right and show that he is willing to do what is right, even when the polls say it is wrong.

The other problem I have with the media and the American people is this unspoken myth that if we do drill for oil, then whatever oil is produced would solely go to alleviate the pain for Americans who quite frankly pay a lot less for gas than most industrialized countries. This myth is rooted in the idea that American oil companies are first and always American and would be willing to solve America’s energy problems if we just give them unfettered access to drill anywhere and tax-breaks of course. Here is a secret, corporations salute profit, not the American flag and there is no better illustration of this than the all-American Halliburton moving their world headquarters from Houston, TX to Dubai.

It seems like conservatives will not be willing to pass any comprehensive energy plan if offshore drilling is not included as part of the package. For me, the things that conservatives are willing to go to the mat for (not having any debate on energy unless we open up offshore drilling) often fall in line what is best for corporations, not the American people.

James wrote that solutions like corn-based ethanol “wouldn’t be so much of a problem if it were free-market and not mandatory.” This myth of the free-market is not based in reality. The same way that the government bailed out Bear Stearns using tax-payer dollars, is the same way the government would be bolstering oil companies who have been enjoying the highest profits in history.

The other problem that I have is that supply-side economics is an inadequate strategy. It seems that at the rate we are going, we as Americans are willing to maintain ridiculous amounts of gas consumption while frowning on the increase in demand from people in China and India. I want liberals and conservatives to not just talk about renewable energy but find ways to encourage people to reduce demand.

Conservatives will say that the high price of gas is incentive enough to get people to drive less and I disagree. How good can the effectiveness of higher gas prices be when you don’t have a reliable and efficient alternative in the form of a comprehensive mass transit system?

Stay up fam,

Brandon Q.

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7 responses to “Obama drops the ball on energy – Black on Black Thought”

  1. Lisa says :

    Thanks for your blog post!

    Here is why I oppose Obama.

    Obama SUPPORTS The US Paying a “Global Tax”
    Obama OPPOSES Traditional Marriage
    Obama SUPPORTS Partial-Birth Abortion
    Obama OPPOSES Domestic Oil Production (or did he just flip to McCain’s position on that?)
    Obama SUPPORTS Doubling the Capital Gains Tax

    It’s ALL true…research it…or see for yourself at http://DiscoverObama.com

  2. Mark R Watkins says :

    Yeah, it’s a shame when Paris Hilton can come up with a better plan than both. A hybrid of Obama and McCain’s plans makes a little more sense.

  3. Edward says :

    Lisa,
    Your McCain campaign worker card is showing. You might want to tuck that in your blouse before you come back. Do you think everyone here is stupid?

  4. Theard says :

    The true myth of the Drill here! Drill Now meme is the notion whatever oil that is eventually produced will be sold here. In fact, we currently export more than a million barrels per day in refined petroleum products.

    There are many factors that contribute to the price of oil.

    The price of oil is not only affected by demand, but by market speculation. Oil is also traded globally in dollars, thus the low value of our dollar adversely affects the price of crude oil. Lastly, there is a risk factor adjusment. Any threat, perceived or not ,that is deemed to affect the future flow of oil can adversely influence the price.

    btw…great site and below is Obama’s energy plan

    http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/newenergy

  5. John Paul Reeves says :

    Let me first start by saying that I am white.

    I was Googling “blacks who oppose Obama”. My reason for doing so is because I am interested in the black persons religious viewpoint on Obama. I am not writing this to start a “mud slinging” competition. I for one, have an equal number of problems with each of the candidates on many different levels. However, one level I am deeply concerned with is the religious side. I am geniunly interested in how black Cristians feel about Obama. I would love to hear back from some of the members of this website.There is also one other thing I would like to ask. Do any of you feel as I do, that when it comes to the fact of electing a black president or VP for that matter, that there are 2 qualified BLACK candadiates who should run for President…………Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell?!!! Thank you in advance for your comments and God Bless!

  6. Garlin II says :

    @John Paul Reeves,

    Thanks for the comment and posing great questions. Since my response was kind of long, I answered them fully in this post On Obama’s Religion & The Question of Qualified Black Candidates.

    One Love. One II.

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