'Drill, Baby Drill'? Not Hardly

Everything you need to know about President Barack Obama’s feelings regarding fossil fuels was on display at Andrews Air Force Base on Wednesday, when he made the triumphant announcement that the federal government was opening large tracts of ocean to offshore oil drilling.

There our president stood, enthusiastically detailing his plan to help make us energy independent, in front of one of the most lethal machines of war ever conceived by man -- the F-18 Hornet. But this plane was different. In addition to armaments that would put the fear of Allah into our enemies, and a top speed of more than 1100 miles per hour -- nearly twice the speed of sound -- this F-18 is a “Green” Hornet. Near as we can tell, it runs on jet fuel and alfalfa sprouts, or maybe broccoli buds. A real weapon for our time -- modern, deadly, and politically correct.

Now if they can only find a lesbian or transgendered minority female to pilot it, that would be gravy.

I’m sure the Navy wouldn’t sacrifice performance in order to be environmentally fashionable, would they? No matter. Our president had news to make. Sounding for all the world like someone who just experienced a "road to Damascus" moment on energy, Barack Obama embraced offshore drilling for oil and ordered wide swaths of previously pristine ocean open to the depredations of greedy and rapacious oil companies.

Or if you’re not one of Obama’s wacky green supporters, Obama gave the go-ahead for tapping the biggest expansion of energy reserves in history.

Or did he?

In fact, what Obama giveth with one hand, he taketh away with another. Some leases already in motion have been canceled while potentially huge deposits of oil and natural gas are still off-limits, including the entire Pacific coastline of the United States from the Mexican border to Canada. In addition, in order to expand drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the president must get the authorization of Congress. This would have been a snap when gas was $4 a gallon, but is much less a certainty today.

Other leases that had been approved in Alaska have also been canceled for further environmental study. Of course, the president didn’t even bother to mention the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge -- sacred calving grounds of the porcupine caribou -- which would yield as many barrels of oil as all the areas the president opened for drilling combined. And the slow motion approval process guarantees that I will be retired and getting to and from our little grocery store here in Streator, Illinois, riding a donkey before a drop of that East Coast oil makes it to market.

What is the point of this welcome but ultimately less-than-half measure to expand our domestic oil production? Note the word “drill” used in just about every headline in the media about this story. The president is sending a signal to the American people that he has heard their cries of “drill, baby drill” and has deigned to respond favorably. Citizens will think better of him for it, despite the fact that it will not increase domestic oil production until the president is long out of office and considered an elder statesmen. Perhaps he will have been elected president of the world by then, but if we’re still in Afghanistan I wouldn’t bet on it.