Sunday, June 15, 2008

NY Post: “McCain’s Oil Wrong”

The NY Post’s editorial yesterday follows. Then I comment below the star line.

Who's writing John McCain's campaign speeches - Michael Moore?

You'd think so, from the over-the-top rhetoric McCain used on Thursday night at Federal Hall, ripping into the nation's oil companies.

"I am very angry, frankly, at the oil companies," said the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. "Not only because of the obscene profits they've made, but their failure to invest in alternative energy to help us eliminate our dependence on foreign oil."

McCain also wants a "thorough and complete investigation of [oil] speculators."

Geez, where to begin?

OK, why should oil companies be investing in "alternative energy?" They're in the oil business, not the windmill business, for Pete's sake.

"Obscene profits"? To be sure, they're eye-popping in absolute dollars. But ExxonMobil's $40 billion in profit last year was based on $404 billion in sales - a fairly pedestrian 10 percent margin.

Industry-wide, profit margins average a relatively anemic 8.1 percent.

Speculators? They've likely played a role in the dizzying run-up in oil prices - but what's really driving the market is intense global demand and tight supply.

And McCain and his Greeniac buddies in Congress are in no small way responsible for that.

They've blocked exploration and drilling offshore and in any part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - likely repositories of some 100 billion barrels of oil and hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of natural gas.

Just the news that America's domestic energy sources were finally being tapped surely would discourage those "evil" speculators, and lower the price of crude. That, in turn, would help strengthen the weakened dollar - another reason for higher prices.

And it would create tens of thousands of American jobs in the process.

We understand that McCain relishes his reputation as a "maverick" Republican. But his demagoguery on the energy issue is truly disappointing.

How anyone who understands so clearly the necessity for resolutely fighting terrorism can be so obtuse on this equally critical issue is a true mystery.



The Post lets the oil companies off too easy on the matter of their failure to do much research. But I’ll leave that for another day.

With the research caveat excepted, I agree with everything in the Post’s editorial, especially its noting McCain and others in the Congress have helped hold back energy development in the U. S. by catering to lobbying organizations that claim to represent “the environment.”

The Post’s rhetorical question as to how anyone who understands so clearly the necessity for resolutely fighting terrorism can be so obtuse on this equally critical issue is a good one.

Here are a couple of other questions for McCain:

He’s known for months he’ll be the GOP presidential nominee, and he knows he needs to convince people he won’t be Bush 3.

So why hasn’t the McCain campaign developed a comprehensive energy plan that includes conservation, research incentives, federal government backing for “green energy projects” such as Cape Wind, a review of energy project regulations to determine if some do more harm than good, and yes, drilling in ANWR and off our coasts?

McCain should be going all over the country now selling the public on an energy plan he’ll campaign on through November and work to implement should he become President.

President Bush has never proposed and fought for a comprehensive energy plan designed to make us as less dependent on foreign sources and as clean energy consumers as possible.

Can you think of many better ways for McCain to convince people he’s not Bush 3 while at the same time serving the country’s best interests, then by advocating a comprehensive energy program of the type outlined here?


Anonymous said...

McCain's ventures into the touchy-feelie world of global warming and beating up on the petroleum companies are a couple of the things about him that give me pause. Then I look at the recent decision of five of the "supremes" and I think I'll stick with Mick. He'll appoint justices in the Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia mold, not the kind that discovers brand new meanings in the constitution each time they read it. Can you believe that Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and the other dirt-bags in Guantanamo now have the same constitutional rights as U.S. citizens??? WTF!! Does that mean we have to go back and review all the German and Japanese POWs we held until WWII ended? And did we grant them the same rights as Americans? Now I'm worried about the outcome of the Second Amendment case pending; are those bozos going to decide the right to keep and bear arms is only granted to the National Guard?
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

John -

I agree with you on McCain's rant against the energy companies (and that's why he was not my first choice for Republican standard-bearer). As for oil company profits, remember that total government taxes are about five times larger, so who's calling the kettle black?

I do disagree with you, though, on some of your proposals for energy conservation and alternative energy sources. I should point out that in terms of GDP, the American public has done a seemingly magnificent job at conservation. Our energy usage per dollar of real GDP is one-quarter what it was in the 1970s. The absolute size of energy usage is of course larger than in the 1970s, but then the country is much larger in terms of people and GDP. (I note, though, that some of the conservation is really overstated; what we as a country have done with our environmental laws has been to push energy/labor intensive manufacturers offshore, mostly to China and India. The likelihood is that if we had not had the environmental laws, those manufacturers would have stayed here, and total oil consumption would have been lower because we are so much more efficient than the Chinese and Indians. Chalk up another "win" for the environmentalists.)

If all those alternative energy sources you recommend were so profitable, they wouldn't need government hand-outs. The important think is to let the markets work, and in particular, to get rid of environmental laws that prevent us from drilling off-shore. As for the oil companies, their incentives are not to conserve oil. That research should be on the part of the oil users (not producers).

McCain's campaign should concentrate on changing environmental laws to allow more drilling, the building of more atomic energy plants, the building of more refineries, etc.

Jack in Silver Spring

Danvers said...

Except, of course, that most of the Oil Companies have re-branded themselves as Energy Companies and as such portray themselves as the vanguards in the pursuit of renewable energy.

They are partly to blame for the bad press they are getting for the "obscene profits" they are making.


Archer05 said...

Off Topic:
John, You knew this was coming.
All the big Dems are coming out to distance themselves from Joe Lieberman. AGAIN!
Yahoo News Headline: Lieberman irks Democrats by criticizing Obama

WASHINGTON - Joe Lieberman is fast becoming the Democrats' public enemy No. 1.

…Democrats were irked. Lieberman seemed to be breaking new ground — shifting gears from simply promoting McCain to [taking shots at Obama.]