I can’t think of a less popular Republican favorite issue than offshore oil drilling. It’s about as dear to the American electorate as, oh, say, getting nipple-rings. There’s a reason why repeated attempts to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling have failed. Americans just don’t want it.
Which must be why George Bush thinks it’s such a nifty idea. He just seems to have a knack for this sort of hopelessly out of touch political gesture. Instead of increasing vehicle fuel efficiency, promoting energy conservation, and alternative energy and vehicles, all of which would actually make a dent in the problem of high fuel prices, he resorts to the irrelevant.
All of which makes today’s Gail Collins column hilarious:
In a major change of policy, the president announced that he wanted to end a federal ban on offshore drilling and open up drillers’ access to the outer continental shelf [O.C.S.].
…The O.C.S. was only one part of a four-point recipe for producing tons and tons of American-bred gasoline in the future. Bush wants to search for oil offshore, out West, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, in the basement, beneath the Washington Monument — you name it, he’s ready to drill.
This would require a great deal of excruciatingly controversial legislation, all of which he demanded the Democrats in Congress pass before the Fourth of July recess.
Otherwise, everything is their fault.
…It was sort of mesmerizing. Imagine some half-forgotten celebrity popping up out of nowhere and announcing that he wants an Academy Award. By Tuesday. And if he doesn’t get it, he cannot be responsible for the consequences.
You know how foreign leaders are sometimes addressed as “Your Excellency?” Well, George can now be addressed as “Your Irrelevancy.”