MSNBC’s First Read quotes McCain justifying offshore oil drilling:

Even though it may take some years, the fact that we are exploiting those reserves would have psychological impact that I think is beneficial.

In other words, it does nothing, but might sound good to people who don’t pay attention to details.

This, my friends, is not what we need in a president. We need a president who is willing to tell us the truth, no matter how unpopular. Drilling for oil won’t solve the problem. The problem is that we as a planet, and in particular we as a nation, use too damn much petroleum, and we’re going to run out. As the available reservoirs get scarcer, prices will inevitably rise, and it’s gonna hurt. There’s a reason Obama told the auto-makers in Detroit that their industry is “unacceptable and unsustainable,” and there’s a reason hybrid cars are flying out of car lots.

The solution is to find new ways to power cars, trucks, boats and planes and to produce electricity. In the nearer term, the solution is to use other means of getting around (bikes, buses, trains, feet) and of getting products to market (eating locally, buying from local suppliers, recycling and reusing, etc.).

If this approach, treating psychological gains as a replacement for real solutions, only extended to McCain’s energy policy, we might be able to sustain it. But we’ve had this for the last 8 years in dealing with security. The nonsensical screenings at airports, especially the wars on nailclippers and liquids, exist to give people a psychological boost but don’t actually make us safer. There are a million ways that someone could smuggle a blade or explosives onto an airplane, and focusing on liquids distracts screeners from truly threatening objects.

We invaded Iraq for much the same reason. Rebuilding Afghanistan was hard, but Bush and McCain thought it would be fun and easy to invade Iraq. They figured that, after the cakewalk, they’d get a nice popularity boost, and everyone would forget about the failed hunt for bin Laden.

We need a new direction, not the same cynical policies of the Bush years. It’s time for solutions that actually address problems, not ones that merely make us feel like we’re addressing them.


  1. #1 nick
    June 24, 2008


  2. #2 BAJ
    June 24, 2008

    Oil can easily be produced from hemp seeds. Hemp is not marijuana. Marijuana is a cousin to hemp but there the similarity ends. Hemp is easily grown and would save the corn crops so as to not cause starvation. But first hemp must be decriminalized. Very short-sighted thinking.

  3. #3 Martin
    June 25, 2008

    Hi Josh

    I’ve written some stuff myself, including a fairly conclusive rebuttal of this drilling nonsense at LayScience – Also you might be interested in what some of the conspiracy theorists are saying –

    I don’t understand where the myth is coming from that America has some kind of massive oil reserve to tap into. I wonder if this is the Oil Lobbyists hard at work, and finding willing collaborators in the election year…

  4. #4 Charlie
    June 25, 2008

    He just seems like Bush 3.0 at the moment. The fact he also wants to invade Iran doesn’t help either. I wish they could see past their noses and give the energy companies incentives to invest more in alternatives.

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