...know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.”
Or, as we Iraq War protesters said in 2003, "Yee-HAW! is not a foreign policy." (And neither is "Bring It On," as our troops in Iraq found out to their great sorrow.)
In the case of oil, this takes the form of pretending that more drilling would produce fast relief at the gas pump. In fact, earlier this week Republicans in Congress actually claimed credit for the recent fall in oil prices: “The market is responding to the fact that we are here talking,” said Representative John Shadegg.
What about the experts at the Department of Energy who say that it would take years before offshore drilling would yield any oil at all, and that even then the effect on prices at the pump would be “insignificant”? Presumably they’re just a bunch of wimps, probably Democrats. And the Democrats, as Representative Michele Bachmann assures us, “want Americans to move to the urban core, live in tenements, take light rail to their government jobs.”
Is this political pitch too dumb to succeed? Don’t count on it.
Indeed, don't count on it. Black-and-white solutions are very appealing to Americans who are working 80 hours a week just to make ends meet. They don't have time or energy to sift through the nuances of energy policy, which will get lost or twisted by the corporate media in translation.
Once again, I point to the superior issue-framing skills of Republicans. They know that people need immediate relief from high gas prices, but they have no intention of doing anything that would work in the long run. (John McCain's gas tax holiday idea would have done nothing but give the oil companies more profits, whereas Hillary's would have at least made the oil companies pay the difference.)
So, how to make it seem like they are better on energy than Democrats? Take an idea that will make their buddies a lot of short-term money, and tie it to a populist agenda. Note: If you want to do this, it helps to be a shameless, sociopathic corporate shill, because no public servant with a shred of conscience would dupe the American people in such a destructive manner.
The truth is, off-shore drilling is completely, utterly pointless. It will OF COURSE not decrease gas prices in any way. The amount of oil gained thereby will be negligible, and will take ten years to extract.
Yes, I said TEN YEARS.
Do you know what's going to happen in ten years if we are still depending on oil for our energy? No one knows for sure, but why in God's name would we want to find out? The signs of climate change are all around us, and getting worse every year. Oil is a non-renewable resource that is getting scarcer and scarcer. Even worse, we invade countries and occupy them in order to get it.
For Christ's sake, can't we just say "Enough already, we get it, it's time to move on, oil is so 20th Century, and we're tired of fighting wars and killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of people to obtain it." Or is that just too much honesty for Democrats?
The answer is no, not for all of them. Hillary Clinton laid out a detailed, inclusive energy plan in April of 2006. Here is what she had to say about continuing to rely on oil for our energy needs.
Now, energy is at the heart of the three great challenges we face as a nation: How do we keep our economy strong in a more competitive world? How do we keep our communities safe in a more dangerous world? And how do we protect our values in a rapidly changing world?
Our present system of energy is weakening our national security, hurting our pocketbooks, violating our common values and threatening our children's future.
Right now, instead of national security dictating our energy policy, our failed energy policy dictates our national security.
Could that be more clear? I don't think so.
More recently, on July 23rd of this year, she had this to say about offshore drilling:
Senator Clinton criticized the idea that additional off-shore drilling would provide any substantive solutions for America’s short or long term energy challenges.
“Drilling is the wrong answer. It will do nothing right now. It is literally a Shell game, or an Exxon Mobile game. It's designed to serve the political interests of vulnerable Republicans and the financial interests of profit-rich oil companies. Average Americans will not see a dime,” Senator Clinton said. “The oil companies say, ‘Drill,’ and the President and the Vice President say, ‘How deep?’ I don't think that's the smartest, most effective answer.”
You see how she did that? She tied offshore drilling to the two least popular politicians in America right now and explained quite clearly that it is the WRONG ANSWER. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The Senator from New York is a master of framing. She gets people to agree with her, but doesn't compromise her principles in order to do so. Too bad she's only a girl, or who knows, someone that smart, savvy and progressive might be a good candidate for President someday. Oh, if only she had that scrap of flesh hanging off her pelvis!
Krugman hits hardest in his final paragraph.
In any case, remember this the next time someone calls for an end to partisanship, for working together to solve the country’s problems. It’s not going to happen — not as long as one of America’s two great parties believes that when it comes to politics, stupidity is the best policy.
I think Senator Obama has a red imprint of Krugman's palm on his cheek right about now. That smackdown reached all the way to Hawaii, where our presumptuous nominee is now vacationing. Faux-Presidenting is Hard Work (TM).
Let's hope the PUMA Conference in DC is coming up with all kinds of creative, wonderful ideas for keeping the pressure on the SuperDelegates, Howard Dean and the DNC to give Hillary a fair shot at the Convention. Because as we know, Obama is far too willing to allow Republicans to frame the debate on almost every issue, including the economy and Iraq (on which he is now falling behind John McCain in terms of trust).
To paraphrase the war protesters mentioned earlier, "Kumbaya is not a governing strategy."