... and not a moment too soon.
Now, this is more like it.
Reversing a ban on oil drilling off most U.S. shores, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced an expansive new policy that could put oil and natural gas platforms in waters along the southern Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and part of Alaska.
Speaking at Andrews air base outside Washington, Obama said, "This is not a decision that I've made lightly." He addressed the expected outcry from disappointed environmentalists by saying he had studied the issue for more than a year and concluded it was the right call given the nation's voracious thirst for energy and the need to produce jobs and keep American businesses competitive.
"We're announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration but in ways that balance the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect America's natural resources," Obama said, according to his prepared remarks released in advance by the White House. "This announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies more on homegrown fuels and clean energy. And the only way this transition will succeed is if it strengthens our economy in the short term and long term."
He added: "To fail to recognize this reality would be a mistake."
Obama made no secret of the fact that one factor in his decision was securing Republican support for a sweeping climate change bill that has languished in Congress. But Obama has long stated his support in favor of the "tough decision" to expand offshore drilling.
There's always that yeah, but, however we're kind of O.K. with this. In fact, it's a very shrewd move by the President. After several prominent Republicans, including John McCain stormed righteously that after the manner in which OmamaCare was passed, no business in Congress would get done for the duration of the session, the President has now effectively asked the Republicans if they need anymore paint for the corner in which they are painting themselves.
(Full disclosure: We were with McCain in his sentiment)
This is more along the lines of what we expected to see out of the Obama administration and what Obama himself promised on the campaign trail.
Will the form that cap and trade takes ultimately be bad for the economy? If the big government statists who will hold sway over this bill get their way then it most assuredly will. But, again, this is the politics we believe everyone is more comfortable with and is why elections have consequences.
The Republicans need to come to the table and negotiate in good faith on this bill with Congressional Democrats and see if they can get this bill to stink less than it probably will. Otherwise, the President, who gave up nothing politically in lifting the ban (to quote faithful reader and commenter, Road Dawg: "Like, where are they going to go?") can and will with justification point to Republican "obstructionism".
At the end of the day, energy policies can be rolled back or reversed much easier than authoritarian statist power grabs masquerading as entitlement programs disguised as health care reform. There is something fundamentally less invasive to our freedoms and liberty with cap and trade than with ObamaCare.
Our finely-tuned, gut level B.S. alarm is not going off on this one and we think that is good news.
Please let us know if we are off base or are missing anything.