Saturday, August 2, 2008

I want to be your leader but don't expect me to show leadership

News today, which means yesterday, something happened. Sen. Obama has changed his view of Offshore Drilling. While some think that is the news, what I find interesting about it is that the idea came from a bipartisan group of 10 Senators who are offering a "compromise" to end the dumb bunny stalemate in Washington about the gasoline price "crisis." Full story here (and this is better than the digested AP version)

The plan, offered Friday by 10 U.S. senators as a way to break the partisan impasse over energy policy that has stalled Congress in recent weeks, would expand drilling but also set new goals and establish new funding for the use of alternative fuels.

Don't know enough about the specifics, but this sounds to me like what politics is about, the "art of the possible" instead of winner take all, no drilling, exploration or anything in exchange for just more of the same, drill everything.

But here is the reason for this post: Why isn't Obama and/or McCain one of the original Gang of 10 (as the Senator's have been tagged)? Obama's rhetoric is that he would be this kind of leader (he did quickly support the move because he sees it as the way to get what he wants, a focus on alternative fuels and energy) and McCain has a history of reaching across the isle and supporing compromises, he was part of the Gang of whatever that stopped the stalemate and possible nuclear option in the senate over supreme court justices. Yet, where are they now? Campaigning, not leading.

I grew up in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, which would be significantly impacted by oil exploration and I do not favor it. Flordia's fragile ecology is about broken, this is only going to put it further to the test. Nevertheless, I think that a "crises" has been constructed (fuel and energy are readily available, they are just more expensive, this is not 1973 when oil truly was unavailable), and public opinion is such that we will drill every spot. In that sense, our leaders have collectively failed us because this situation was foreseeable (since at least 1973) and the American public is completely unwilling to accept any meaningful change for the future. A democracy gets what a democracy wants.

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