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Following the money …

June 17th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Recall Deep Throat (All the President’s Men), that basic piece of advice: “Follow the Money.” As we listen to the George W. Bush’s, John McCain’s, the Republican Party’s, and the RWSM’s response to what George W. Bush described as America’s “addiction to oil”, remember those words.

In face of addiction, is the Republican Party fighting to get us (the US) to a treatment center? Struggling to help us (the US) get off the addiction? Preparing us (the US) for going cold turkey? No, they are struggling for ways to feed the addiction and keep us hooked. Hooked, that is, as the problem worsens even more such that the inevitable crash truly will be a crash and burn of our nation.

John McCain went to Houston Oilers’ territory for his first major energy speech. Totally apropos, because the best he could come up with was to argue for putting drills everywhere one can imagine. Never mind that those wells would have, at best, a marginal impact (perhaps less than 5 cents per gallon) on gasoline prices years (if not decades) into the future (opening ANWR would have less than a 2 cents/gallon impact in 2025). Never mind that the resources are, generously speaking, limited. Never mind that there are efficiency measures that could lead to the equivalent of shaving 50 cents or more gallon. Efficiency measures that all of us (all of the US) could put into action immediately. Never mind because helping us (the US) really doesn’t seem to be behind this mindless, truthiness laden, and often simply false rhetoric.

No, why not follow the money.

John McCain, it turns out, is beholden to the oil and gas industry. Seriously beholden. A report from earlier this year found that McCain has accepted at least $1,069,854 from the oil and gas industry since 1989. Just released, Campaign Money Watch notes that:

Campaign Money Watch, a campaign finance watchdog group, criticized Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) energy policy, including a reversal of his earlier stance on off-shore oil drilling, as too tied to his big money donors and lobbyists.

“John McCain’s big money donors and lobbyist friends have struck again,” said David Donnelly, director of Campaign Money Watch. “McCain’s reversal on off-shore drilling is a blatant pitch for donations at today’s Houston fundraising events.”

Yup. Straight Talk Express and principled John McCain abandoned his long-held opposition to coastal drilling right in Houston, where it his campaign could take donations directly into their pockets, rather than worry about the vagaries of the US Mail.

The problem is that DRILL! DRILL! DRILL! sounds so soothing as a solution to people who are fearful what the price will be the next time that they go to fill up their car at the corner gas station. But, it is a false chimera. Drilling won’t touch that price of gas for a long time to come. And, it is not a Silver Bullet. The United States has under two percent of the world’s reserves yet uses 25% of the world’s production. Drilling even more only hastens the day when that under two percent falls even lower. And, there are many other, more fruitful, higher impact ways to deal with the challenges of oil and gas prices: most notably through “negagallons”, helping all of us (all of the US) find paths through efficiency and conservation for reduced use.

But, rather than provide real answers to real problems, McCain is throwing a life ring to an industry at risk … at risk of having even more record profits this year than last. Will Exxon-Mobil hit $50 billion in profits in the first year of a McCain presidency?

Why would it be any different from the last year of George W Bush’s occupancy of the Oval Office? Later today, George W Bush will call for opening up fragile coastal regions for drilling. Speaker Nancy Pelosi notes:

The President’s proposal sounds like another page from the Administration’s Energy Policy that was literally written by the oil industry.

So the fact is, we CAN’T drill our way out of this problem.

But we do have unlimited amounts of sunshine, wind, biofuels, biomass, and geothermal heat—and the American ingenuity to discover new ways to power the world, to grow these industries, to create hundreds of thousands of high paying green job—and to become a lot more energy independent.

But that will require Republicans moving into the 21st century… and not standing in the way of incentives to boost the AMERICAN renewables industry.


McFlip, McFlop, McSame McCain
: Running for the Third Bush Term.

Tags: Energy · Global Warming · exxon-mobil · john mccain · oil · peak oil · politics

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