- Pope Francis wins another ‘Person of the Year’ — from gay rights magazine
- Rep. Steve Stockman: Give my campaign $10, and you’ll get an Obama barf bag
- Putin: Russia to buy $15 billion in Ukraine bonds
- Expert: Obamacare ‘death spiral’ fears exaggerated
- Alabama firefighters dig for survivors of apartment blast
- Big Sur wildfire destroys home of firefighting chief
- ‘ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas’ set for mock trial to argue authorship
- Angela Merkel’s third term as Germany’s chancellor to be marked by move to left
- Mega Millions entices with record-setting jackpot: Half a billion so far
- Dennis Rodman heads to North Korea — despite execution, political purge
Obama stands firm; McCain rides wave for energy solutions
Conventional wisdom has put offshore drilling off-limits for Florida politicians, but polls released this month appear to have changed that decades-old line of thought, finding that voters in the state support drilling and will reward a candidate who embraces it.
With gas prices at record highs, the polls show the political calculation on energy has changed, but so far in the presidential election only John McCain” href=”/themes/?Theme=John+McCain” >Sen. John McCain has changed with it, nimbly adjusting his stances to embrace a series of proposed solutions.
On Tuesday, the presumptive Republican nominee said he will make the federal government’s automobile fleets and offices greener, and earlier this week he proposed a $300 million prize for the inventor of a next-generation car battery. That follows last week’s call for 45 new nuclear reactors by 2030 and a position reversal in which he embraced expanded offshore drilling for oil and gas.
“Somebody’s doing their polling work,” said Michael McKenna, a Republican pollster and energy strategist who said Mr. McCain has now positioned himself to be “in favor of anything, except for drilling in” the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Meanwhile Barack Obama” href=”/themes/?Theme=Barack+Obama” >Sen. Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic nominee, has stood firm, arguing that the problem is U.S. demand, not supply, and calling for a reordering of American policies. In his own speech Tuesday, he rejected each of Mr. McCain’s new proposals, saying drilling doesn’t help lower prices, nuclear energy has environmental drawbacks and the innovation prize is a gimmick that doesn’t match the real need.
“When John F. Kennedy decided that we were going to put a man on the moon, he didn’t put a bounty out for some rocket scientist to win; he put the full resources of the United States government behind the project and called on the ingenuity and innovation of the American people,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s the kind of effort we need to achieve energy independence in this country, and nothing less will do.”
The debate is spilling into Congress, where the House on Tuesday failed to pass a bill to ban “price gouging” and “unconscionable” prices. President Bush had threatened to veto the bill anyway, but Democrats were unable to muster the two-thirds vote required to pass the measure without amendment.
On the presidential stage, Democrats are faring better, with Mr. Obama winning the issue - voters trust him over Mr. McCain on the issue by 19 percentage points in the latest Gallup-USA Today poll. But on the specific issue of more drilling, Mr. McCain is trouncing Mr. Obama.
Both a national Zogby poll and a Florida Rasmussen Reports poll show tremendous support for drilling, including among Democrats. But they are also willing to go further than even Mr. McCain, with the Zogby poll finding a majority support drilling in ANWR.
Pollsters say voters’ attitudes are almost certainly driven by record prices.
In his energy plan, Mr. Obama has proposed increased fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks and $150 billion in investments to develop alternative energy sources. But he also calls for punishing energy companies, proposing a windfall profits tax and a penalty that would apply to every oil company currently holding an unused lease for drilling on government land.
“If that compels them to drill, we’ll get more oil. If it doesn’t, the fees will go toward more investment in renewable sources of energy,” he said.
Daniel Seligman, an energy consultant and clean energy advocate, said that despite Mr. McCain’s recent maneuvering, the most striking aspect of the debate is how close both men are on the big questions of merging environmental policy and energy policy. Both support a cap-and-trade approach to carbon emissions, a low carbon fuel standard to force alternative energy into the transportation market, and the promotion of renewable and alternative energy. Both oppose drilling in ANWR.
“There’s kind of a consensus about thinking about energy that cuts across ideological boundaries, but there are nuances that separate the two,” said Mr. Seligman, the former national campaign director of the Apollo Alliance, which advocates for a federal program to push for alternative energy solutions.
He said both candidates bring serious plans to the table, though he gave the edge to Mr. Obama for focusing on specifics, such as translating new technology from the lab to the marketplace.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Democrats urge courts to clear NSA phone-records intelligence collection program
- White House is obstructing probe on Navy Yard shooter, NSA leaker, Darrell Issa says
- Social Security to run 12% deficit for next decade
- Feinstein: Judge got NSA ruling wrong
- Rep. Frank Wolf to retire from Northern Virginia seat
Latest Blog Entries
By John R. Bolton
The president fiddles at his domestic altar while the world burns
- PRUDEN: The scam that will not die
- Robert E. Lee and 'Stonewall' Jackson tributes face Army War College removal
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Global-warming mania's deadly fallout
- Embassy Row: India strikes back over diplomat's arrest
- Wasted: Tom Coburn's 'Wastebook targets 70 days in bed, Facebook
- Army to cut up to 4,000 captains and majors
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Zadzooks: The Joker sixth scale figure review (Sideshow Collectibles)
- Senators in rush to pass budget vow to undo cut to military retirement pay
- Mega Millions players dream of a green Christmas with lottery jackpot at $636 million
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Uncensored exploration of issues concerning current events, civil liberties, American political advocacy, and the political and social issues facing military veterans.
NFL junkie Eric Golub reports on his favorite obsession. There is no football offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow