Competitiveness Where It Counts

President Barack Obama is starting to look a lot like President Ronald Reagan -- what with his pre-Christmas tax cuts, talk of “growth,” appointment of moderate William M. Daley as his new chief of staff, and brilliant speech of healing in Tucson.

Then, like Reagan, he began talking “competitiveness.” He vowed to cut job-killing government red tape and jump-start job creation and named GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt as head of his new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. “Competitiveness, growth, and jobs” will be the watchwords in his State of the Union address.

It’s been a boffo performance. By grabbing the political center, he’s confounding the critics. Even Karl Rove and PJM's own Roger L. Simon are talking about his re-election in 2012 as ever more likely.

The only thing is, Obama is counting on us getting Alzheimer’s and forgetting all his liberal handiwork and how much he has failed, and continues to fail, to unleash competitive job-creating energies -- hopeful talk and good intentions notwithstanding.

Never forget: It’s the jobs, stupid -- real jobs and lots of ‘em -- that count with voters.

A top destination should be oil and gas exploration, which, along with energy, contains a bonanza of jobs -- and, oh by the way, would produce a gusher of tax revenues, thus obviating the need for more insane borrowing from the Chinese.

But this is where Obama has failed most miserably -- largely because his liberal base won’t let him succeed -- which he’s counting on us forgetting and/or forgiving in exchange for windmills and battery-charged cars.

It’s easy to forget when the press barely noticed that on December 1, Obama rescinded his March 2010 decision to expand offshore oil exploration in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic coast.

Taken together, these regions have as much oil reserves as Norway (7.5 billion barrels), and as much gas reserves as Canada (58.5 trillion cubic feet of gas).

It’s mind-boggling.

This expansion of offshore drilling, only partially opening those waters, would have provided enough oil to fuel more than 2.4 million cars and heat 8 million households for 60 years, while creating tens of thousands of jobs. The oil and gas industry already employs 2.1 million workers directly and 7.1 million more indirectly.