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Why Obama Caved on Offshore Drilling

By Robert Cowin
October 20, 2008
File under: election 08

An extension of the ban would have had to be tied to the spending bill that funds the government through next year. The White House threatened a veto if an extension of the ban was included and that would force a government shutdown. Also wrapped in this bill is a $25 billion, for lack of a better word, “bailout” for the struggling US auto industry. Michigan’s not important or anything, right?

Senator Obama’s opponent strongly supports lifting the ban (although his position has also shifted on this issue), and polls show that the majority of Americans agree with him. If I was a betting man I’d be willing to wager that the next month will be fraught with much economic uncertainty and Senator Obama isn’t going to give John McCain any ammunition to use. Regardless of whether or not it’s true (and it isn’t), many Americans think that offshore drilling will provide relief from high gas prices. In an economic environment this unstable the wise candidate must bend over backwards to identify with the common man, even to the point of suspending reason.

Live to fight another day? No drilling can happen fast enough to take advantage of the expiration of the ban, so this issue will undoubtedly be left up to the next Congress and the next Administration. But looking ahead, isn’t it going to be extremely difficult for Senator Obama to advocate for his original, green position, even after the election? Does the current and foreseeable future economic climate doom any chance for the reinstitution of the ban regardless of who controls Congress, or who’s in the White House?

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