President Bush held a press conference this morning [7.15.08] and among the topics he discussed was his recent removal of the executive order banning offshore drilling. He pressured Congress to remove its own ban on drilling, using the high current price of gasoline as a hammer, accusing Congress of ignoring the financial pain gas prices are causing Americans. Specifically, he said:
Every analyst I’ve read states categorically that approving drilling now won’t bring oil online for 10-20 years; oil companies will have to research where to drill, satisfy environmental concerns, build drilling platforms and develop infrastructure to get the oil to market. And any economist will tell you that oil supply coming online 20 years hence will have zero impact on today’s gas prices.
Bush knows that current gas prices and offshore drilling are unrelated. But he’s saying that they are related – lying, basically – to make a political point. He is preying on American frustrations, using them to push Congress into the action he wants.
Offshore drilling very well might become part of energy policy going forward, since we’re probably going to demand that oil someday. But let’s engage in that discussion honestly, based on relevant facts, rather than using lies and the upcoming election to push congressmen into a particular vote.
Bush’s move today is a great example of the political games – lying, dissembling, conflating issues – that are steadily disillusioning the American public. As moderates give up on the process, their disillusionment making them too apathetic to vote, only the rabid partisans remain.