This is in response to a conservative chain e-mail slamming the Democrats over ANWR, and generally blaming all the energy woes of this country on the party that has not been in power for the last decade. I had a lot of fun writing it, so I figured I'd post it:
The first thing that needs to be said is that John McCain opposes drilling in ANWR! Still. He still does, even after the flip-flop on energy policy a week ago. So that makes this a moot distinction, politically. Hardly worth arguing about, since it's certainly not a reason to vote for McCain over Obama.
But more important is pushing back against the idea that these flip-flops on domestic oil production will help us in any way, since Newt Gingrich is holding up "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less" as the "Republicans one chance" at a victory in November. So here are the facts about Newt's proposal. World oil supply is about 85 million barrels per day (mbpd). America uses about 24mbpd. America produces only 8 mbpd. ANWR and the coastal shelves will not start producing for 10 years after the leases are given. When they do produce, it will amount to less than 0.9mbpd! The most optimistic projections show that for oil prices in 2025, this will only reduce oil prices by $1.44... PER BARREL! It's already $143/barrel now! There are 42 gallons in a barrel, from which you get about 28 gallons of refined gas, so that's roughly $0.05 per gallon of gasoline you've saved by potentially ruining this pristine area. (By the way, the pessimistic projections showing it only saving you 41 cents per barrel) Furthermore, this oil wont really be ours in any appreciable way, since Oil is a fungible, world-wide commodity. We could produce 40mbpd in this country and still be subject to the whims of price spikes because the world's supply is not meeting demand.
All of that being said, I'm not sure I really oppose it anymore, given how far behind these Republicans have allowed us to slip by not acting for energy independence sooner when they had complete control. I'm sure safeguards will be in place to avoid wholesale exploitation and ruination of the land, and as long as they are enforced I'm fine with carefully developing those lands. (Enforcement is another reason you want a Democrat in the White House, by the way - no cronies). We are going to need the oil to get us over the transition. But pushing it as a significant part of a solution is just more of the same Republican malarkey that we've been operating under for decades, and that has resulted in those of us in the middle class getting squeezed ever lower! The gap between rich and poor has become a chasm. The trickling down has not happened, and it's had nearly three decades to try! It is time to try something new in this country. It is time to stop being so divided. Obama is an arguably conservative* Democrat, so he can get it done. He wont view Republicans as targets to be vilified, as the Bush/Cheney/Rove White House has done to the Democrats.
Here's some nice charts showing McCain favoring the ultra rich with his tax cuts, and the effects of trickle down economics - stagnation and decline of the middle class:
So come home you Reagan Democrats! You have nothing to fear from the Democratic Party these days. Guns have been off the table for a decade, Welfare reform is on the table, the Democrats are doing massive outreach to the evangelical community, and everyone is treating the troops with respect (even if we no longer respect their Commander-in-Chief). It's time to change course from the new-school Republican policies that have lead to the gradual destruction of the middle class, massive government growth, devaluation of the dollar, and humiliation in the eyes of the world! This is our time! This is our chance to unite for the future! Yes! We! Can!
*: The "study" saying that Obama is the most liberal senator is what we call a load. That National Journal Study is a right-wing rag that always magically finds that the Senators/Governors that are most likely to win the nomination are the "most liberal," based on their arbitrary picks. Obama is arguably conservative because the liberals are pissed off at him over his decision to vote for the FISA compromise, because he decided that National Security interests trump civil penalties for the TeleComms. He has worked with Sen. Brownback, Sen. McCain, Sen. Warner, Sen. Lugar, and Senator Coburn, just to name a few. Hell, he did a bunch of work with Coburn, a guy so rabidly conservative that he was worried that "lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they'll only let one girl go to the bathroom." He passed Google for Government, a tool that allows public searching of all government spending, with Coburn, in fact. Now, when the government is wasting money they can't just hide it like that Republican Senator did with his Bridge to Nowhere. Obama's a Conservative Dem, when you look at the record and don't watch too much Fox News.
P.S. Oh, and those pictures of beautiful ANWR that the e-mail says are lies? They aren't. There's a huge amount of diversity in the area, and you can frame your photographs any way you want. It will be a blight, and an inconvenience for the caribou, but I bet we can engineer around those problems with a little bit of "guidance" from an Obama Administration.