Thursday, March 31, 2011

Whittington: Barack Obama, Sarah Palin Argue Over Energy Policy

Palin has an attack point against Obama that will be hard for him to defend against
In his speech this week on energy policy, President Obama made a point of going "off-teleprompter" to ridicule Sarah Palin for the "drill, baby, drill" slogan that was actually coined by Michael Steele at the 2008 RNC Convention, but used to great effect by Gov. Palin during the campaign that year and afterwards. In response to Obama's speech, she went on Facebook to challenge many of his claims. Instead of expediting new drilling permits, for example, she pointed out that his administration has approved few permits since it imposed a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and a de facto moratorium on drilling in the Arctic, has proposed a 2012 budget that would do away with some key oil and natural gas production tax incentives, and has established regulatory policies that are anything but encouraging to oil and gas development.

If the pump price of gasoline continues at or near the four-dollar level now that election fever is beginning to break out, Yahoo! contributor Mark Whittington predicts energy policy will become a key campaign issue for 2012, one on which Gov. Palin will have the advantage in the area of public debate:
The tit for tat argument over energy policy might be a hint of things to come for the 2012 election, should Palin decide to run. Palin knows quite a bit about energy policy, stemming from her days as an energy regulator then governor of Alaska. Furthermore, she has linked energy policy with economic growth and national security in what amounts to a Palin Doctrine.

Palin further provides a critique of what passes for Obama's energy policy that amounts to an accusation that he is manipulating oil and gas prices to make them artificially high in order to make his favored alternative energy technology more attractive.

Palin thus has an attack point against Obama that will be hard for the president to defend against. Despite his denials, he has locked up quite a bit of American's oil and gas resources, resulting in greater dependency on foreign oil and higher oil and gas prices. Obama can dispute this all he wants, but Palin will be able to ask people to either believe the president or their lying eyes.

If Palin does decide to run for president, she will have a substantial argument for electing her beside the fact that she is not Obama. She will be able to promise to unlock domestic energy reserves, sparking new domestic energy production, creating tens of thousands of jobs and, perhaps, bring the country out of the economic malaise that has featured throughout the Obama presidency.

For Sarah Palin supporters, the 2012 debate over energy policy can't come soon enough. That's just one reason why the left will be employing the politics of mass distraction. They will be working overtime to try to keep the national discussion off of the economic issues that are hitting average Americans so hard in the checkbook.

- JP

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