Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Domestic Drilling, Barack Obama, and Executive Orders

Executive Orders are a favorite tool of Presidents to promote their political agenda. Some times they actually alter policy because they address issues that have no specific legislative limitations. In other cases, they are a form of protest or persuasion, because they go against the current law of the land. An example of this was President Bush's Executive Order to lift some of the restrictions on domestic drilling. Congress had prohibited the areas the order covered, but Bush wanted to make it clear that the Executive Branch supported such. That protest and the outcry of millions of Americans finally led to Congressional action in which they reversed the ban.

During the Presidential campaign and gasoline prices were pushing $4 a gallon, Barack Obama said he was open to any energy option to drive gas prices down. He was for nuclear energy (as long as it was always safe), coal (as long as he could tax it into bankruptcy), and domestic drilling (as long as you can guarantee there would be no environmental damage). This view was against all of Obama's historic policy statements and voting record.

Obama and Congressional Democrats have been philosophically for higher gas prices. The higher the prices, the better. He supports high gas prices as a way of conserving energy, to drive people to mass transit, and to force the development of energy alternatives. That has long been the primary position of Democrats for years, who describe our need for energy as "addictive" and that there is something fundamentally wrong with Americans because they demand more energy than other country in the world. I don't apologize for our quality of life or the technology necessary to maintain it, I expect our government to create the environment to get those needs met through free enterprise. Furthermore, many of his Congressional allies are singing a similar tune.

So why did Obama and company say they would support these traditional forms of energy? Because they needed the votes. In fact, for the last 60 days of the campaign, Obama ran as a moderate and even attempted more conservative positions than McCain (rightly describing the Arizona Senator's home bailout plan as "irresponsible").

The election is over, the real Obama is standing up and doing so tall with this bold announcement. I think it is being done immediately because he hopes that the adverse effects it will have on oil futures (projecting future demand effects gas prices today) will be seen as a remnant of the Bush Administration and he wants to get the liberals' bizarre conservation program of high prices back on track. Every day we are enjoying prices around $2.00 a gallon, we are wasting energy and destroying our environment according to the Democrats. Obama believes this must stop.

This is just the beginning. Many of the things you worried about Obama earlier in the race when he ran as a liberal, but saw fade away in his rhetoric as he worried about his electoral success, will come back in full force. Will the real Barack Obama please stand up? I hope not.

Kevin Price articles frequently appear at ChicagoSunTimes.com, Reuters.com, USAToday.com, and other national media.

Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at PriceofBusiness.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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