Thursday, June 19, 2008

It's Big Oil- part 2

The New York Times reported on 6/18/08 that White House Press Secretary Dana Perino stated that her boss would urge Congress to “pass legislation lifting the Congressional ban on safe, environmentally friendly offshore oil drilling.... the president believes Congress shouldn’t waste any more time.”

The Times explains that a congressional moratorium was enacted in 1982 and renewed annually. In 1990 it was suppplemented by an executive order signed by President George Herbert Walker Bush and in 1998 extended to 2012 by President Clinton. The executive order could be lifted by President George W. Bush, whose "top aides" have recommended the action.

But the President has instead called on the legislative branch to lift the moratorium. This is a clever move by a president whose shrewdness always has exceeded his courage. Calling for Congressional action serves these political purposes in that it:

- allows a state to act as it sees fit, thus putting the onus of action on its chief executive (rather than the President);

- enables the President to blame Congress, if convenient, thus focusing the ire of environmentalists on the legislative branceh;

-demonstrates Bush's commitment to "change," to doing something, even if ineffectual;

-gives GWB license to blame Congressional Democrats for standing in the way of energy independence- and for pursuing a "partisan" agenda which, in part due to the (mostly early) rhetoric of the Obama campaign, is nothing public officials want to be associated with.

And, of course, it diverts attention from the oil industry with which this failed president is so cozy.

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