You may have heard about this ad, in which John McCain compares Barack Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, and also claims once again that Obama refuses to allow offshore drilling for oil, hence increasing (somehow?) our dependency on foreign oil.

Now, if you’re Obama, how do you respond to this? I know what you’re thinking: Put out an ad of my own that responds to McCain’s ad with real facts instead of the out-and-out lies of which McCain is so fond.

But why would he want to do something like that, something so intelligent and logical, something that would make him look like a guy taking a stand for doing the right thing, when he can instead just change his position and look like a jackass?

Now, I understand that politics in this country are largely about compromise, and I also understand that it’s very possible that Obama is just saying that we could drill offshore because the majority of Americans are of that opinion. But these people who have been polled and say we should drill offshore aren’t economists or oil men, they’re just people who have been told, here, there is a solution to gas prices: We can destroy nature by opening up more of our offshore real estate for oil drilling.

If you’re Barack Obama, if you’re selling yourself to us as a man of principle and a man of character, you have to stick with your guns. These people have been told that offshore drilling is the answer; you need to tell them that it’s not, and why. Instead, you come off as a pandering inside-Washington type who will do anything to get elected — and we saw how well that worked out for Hillary Clinton, now didn’t we?

You’ve still got my vote, Barack, but I hope that I’m voting for someone who’s not afraid to do the right thing, even if it’s not the popular thing.


My mother gets e-mail from the National Republican Congressional Committee because she’s convinced that she’s a Republican even though as far as I can tell she’s never voted for one and agrees with very nearly nothing that the Republicans say or do.

In any case, she forwarded me an e-mail sent out today by the NRCC on the topic of Democrats’ supposed lack of action on oil prices — to wit, that Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats in Congress are going on vacation soon and not planning to vote on offshore drilling on America’s relatively meager petroleum reserves. Offshore drilling is one of those issues that Republicans like John McCain are very fond of because they can come up with an ineffective, slapdash so-called solution that benefits big business, but does absolutely nothing to help the American consumer, and then sell it to the American consumer by appealing to the fear and ignorance of people who don’t know any better.

But some of us do know better, because it doesn’t take anything but common sense to realize that the United States needs to get off oil altogether, not just foreign oil. That’s how the Republicans like to sell it: “Let’s end our addiction to foreign oil!” Well, sure, that’s a half-step in the right direction, but you’re sticking that word “foreign” in there because of all the money you’ve taken from American oil companies. All the Republican desire to “end addiction to foreign oil” really amounts to is a desire to create a monopoly for American oil drillers.

This is a Band-Aid solution. At best, like the proposed and equally ridiculous gas tax holiday, it will have a minor, short-term effect on gas prices, while increasing demand and ultimately causing gas prices to rise — and the oil addiction to continue.

There are plenty of alternative energy sources available, and that’s what the United States needs to invest its money in. Congress shouldn’t allow this offshore drilling to push through, because all it’s going to give us is more decades of fossil fuel reliance and an even dirtier atmosphere. As we just now seem to be turning the corner toward proper care for our environment — and, indeed, for our wallets — the Republicans want to drag us right back into the dark ages of oil because that’s where their money comes from and that’s what their friends are invested in.

I call your attention to the PickensPlan, if you haven’t seen it already. The PickensPlan site has this to say about ending our reliance on oil, foreign or otherwise:

Building wind facilities in the corridor that stretches from the Texas panhandle to North Dakota could produce 20% of the electricity for the United States at a cost of $1 trillion. It would take another $200 billion to build the capacity to transmit that energy to cities and towns.

That’s a lot of money, but it’s a one-time cost. And compared to the $700 billion we spend on foreign oil every year, it’s a bargain.

We have the technology to create massive windfarms in the Midwest, and we have the technology to additionally put solar panels there, producing I-don’t-know-how-much more energy. Electric cars are on the rise again after having been killed by big oil and car manufacturers in the past. We can produce wind and solar energy practically for free after building the infrastructure; even nuclear power, as much as everyone (somewhat illogically) fears another Chernobyl and as much as disposal of waste is a problem, is much cleaner and more sustainable than fossil fuels, and is providing the electricity I’m using right now just fine, thank you very much. With all that clean fuel, we can drive around in electric cars that go plenty fast (just look at the Tesla Roadster) for pennies on the dollar compared to what we’re paying today. And we can do it for forever, or until an even better power source comes along.

This is America. We don’t stagnate, we innovate. It would be nice if the people running the country were made properly aware of that.