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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Obama is taking some heat this weekend for an apparent flip-flop on offshore drilling. As I wrote last week regarding the claimed fossil-fuel resources in the Arctic, the unfortunate fact is that the size of the resources involved and the widespread ignorance of Americans with regard to the actual magnitude of the energy crisis probably ties Obama's hands politically on this—and if indeed he must flip-flop on the issue then what he's saying is actually fairly inoffensive:

“My interest is in making sure we’ve got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices,” Mr. Obama told The Palm Beach Post’s Michael C. Bender. “If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage - I don’t want to be so rigid that we can’t get something done.”
If it sets us on the right path towards a sensible energy policy—which has nothing to do with bringing down gas prices—then maybe a small amount of offshore drilling is worth trading away, especially in a context in which most offshore drilling leases go unused. Maybe. If.

But it's not a great weekend to be an Obama booster. Not at all.