One notable convert to the Bush Administration’s call for increased offshore drilling is presidential candidate Senator John “the maverick” McCain (R-AZ), who had previously opposed offshore drilling. To call his change of mind sudden is almost an understatement.
In May, McCain commented on the proposition of increased domestic production as a solution to our energy crisis:
· “[Increasing domestic production] would take years to develop, it would only postpone or temporarily relieve our dependency on fossil fuels. ... [T]he exploitation of existing reserves...are all great things. But we have to devote our efforts] to alternative energy sources, which is the ultimate answer to our long-term energy needs, and we need it sooner rather than later."”--Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 6/20/08]
...one month later, McCain had completely changed his mind about the moratorium:
· “There are areas off our coasts that should be open to exploration and exploitation, and I hope we can take the first step by lifting the moratoria.” McCain added that drilling “would be very helpful in the short term in resolving our energy crisis.”--6/16/08 (Republicans refer to this as a flip-flop--when a Democrat does it.)
· “My friends, we have to drill offshore. We have to do it. ... The oil executives say within a couple of years we could be seeing results from it. So why not do it?”--7/22/08
Well, why didn’t you say so? If the oil executives say we have to drill, then it must be true. After all, Vice President Cheney collaborated with energy executives to formulate our present energy policy, and we all know how well that has worked out.
Which brings us to the question: What could possible induce a straight-talker like John McCain to suddenly reverse his position on offshore drilling, thus alienating environmentalists and closing the already imperceptible gap between his policies and those of George W. Bush? (Hint: Remember, we are talking about politics.)
The day after making this speech, McCain was in oil country, where he raised $1.3 million at a private luncheon with energy executives at the San Antonio Country Club. Prior to his sudden popularity with oil executives, McCain had only received $300,000 from oil and gas interests over the course of sixteen years (1990-2006).
· “Oil and gas industry executives and employees donated $1.1 million to McCain last month--three-quarters of which came after his June 16 speech calling for an end to the ban...”--The Washington Post, 7/27/08
So far, McCain has maintained his opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but let’s see if a couple of million dollars more of campaign donations from the oil lobby will change his mind. I guess McCain figures, if he’s going to pander, he might as well pander to the big money; but considering the billions of dollars in profit the oil companies have made during the Bush years, McCain is selling out pretty cheap.
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