Lookback: GOP Was Right On Oil Drilling

By Dick Morris on January 19, 2015

Amid the fierce partisan debate over everything from health care to terrorism, we ought to pause from time to time and reassess when one party has been proven right and the other incorrect in their policy choices.

The current decline in gasoline prices at the pump to the $2 level offers a good case in point. Many will remember how our politics were roiled in the summer of 2008 by high oil and gasoline prices. Republicans, led by John McCain chanted “drill, baby, drill” and candidate Barack Obama intoned that “we cannot drill our way out of high energy prices.”

Well, it is now clear that Obama and the Democrats were wrong and McCain and the Republicans were right.

Since 2008, U.S. domestic oil production has rocketed up from 5.1 million barrels per day to 9.1 million last week — an 80% increase! Combined with Canadian production of 4.3 million barrels daily and Mexico’s 3 million, North America now produces almost 17 million barrels per day.

The result of this drilling, contrary to the predictions of Democrats and of Obama, has been the rapid slide of oil prices below $50 per barrel and the consequent drop in gasoline charges at the pump.

Not that this increase in drilling has anything to do with the President’s policies. Quite the contrary, he has been historically negligent in issuing permits for drilling on federal land and off shore. He has opposed efforts to open up Alaska drilling and will probably veto the Keystone pipeline.

But beyond the president’s control, drilling on state and privately owned lands has soared driving production higher and prices lower.

So let’s celebrate and score one for the GOP. Hopefully, Democrats will look inside themselves to figure out where they went wrong in following the stylish opposition to drilling rather than seeing the common sense of the policy.

Likely, liberals were led astray by their fears of global warming. Perhaps Obama knew, even as he was saying it, that we could drill our way to lower prices. He just didn’t want to encourage oil use.

But, on the global warming front, there is also factual evidence in favor of the Republican view. After sharp increases in the Earth’s temperature during the forty years before 1997, there has been no increase since.

Nor is the slowing of climate change attributable to human effort. While the US and Europe have sharply reduced the rate of increase in their carbon output, Chinese and Indian emissions have soared, more than nullifying their effect.

As Ronald Reagan said “facts are stubborn things.” The fact is that, back in 2008, Republicans were right about drilling and Democrats were wrong.

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