An article by Dan Calabrese in the North Star National - Sarah Palin leads on domestic drilling when it’s hard; and the rest of the GOP?:
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is a good test for the spines of today’s Republican Party. One Republican has already passed the test, and as usual, that’s Sarah Palin. The signs from the others are not encouraging.
A day after pundit Charles Krauthammer declared “drill, baby, drill” to be history in light of the spill, and two days after the Obama Administration halted all domestic drilling (gee, what a surprise), Palin came out and invoked her moral authority as an Alaskan who lived through the Exxon Valdez spill.
Yes, Palin says, the spill is horrible, as was the Exxon Valdez, which was why she took steps as a regulator in Alaska to put tighter controls on the oil companies. But she still comes to the same conclusion she’s touted before: We need domestic drilling.
No matter how horrible the British Petroleum spill proves to be, it won’t change the economic reality. We are putting our economy and our national security at risk when we rely on the likes of Venezuela and Saudi Arabia to get the oil we need. And it is insane to do this when we can and should drill for oil on our own lands and in waters we control.
This drilling can be done safely and cleanly. It obviously wasn’t in the case of the BP explosion, but it can and it should.
But where are the leading Republicans – Palin excepted – to come out and say that? Where is Mitch McConnell? Where is John Boehner? Where is Bobby Jindal? (OK, we know where Jindal is, and it’s where he should be – managing the crisis off the shore in Louisiana. But it sure would be a powerful act of leadership for Jindal to reiterate even now that we still need domestic drilling, wouldn’t it?)
It appears your average Republican luminary doesn’t want to touch this for the same reason Republicans usually lose their nerve. They figure anyone who stands up and endorses domestic drilling now will get absolutely murdered by the Democrats and the media. They figure all the election momentum is going their way right now – and indeed it is – and it makes no sense to risk it by making a controversial statement about domestic drilling in the aftermath of a horrible spill.
This does not bode well for the prospects of governance under Republican leadership. Indeed, it sounds a lot like the last time they were in charge. If Republicans won’t say and do the things that need to be said and done whenever a) it would jeopardize an advantageous political position; or b) the media would beat up on them for it; or c) both; then the Republicans can’t do the things the country needs them to do.
We need more domestic drilling, including off-shore, but when the GOP was in charge, they didn’t make it happen. We needed market-oriented health care reform, but it was easier for the GOP to do little or nothing on the issue, so they left the door open for Democrats to create a socialist behemoth the first chance they got. We need to get federal spending and entitlements under control, but that’s too hard because the media and the Democrats will say you hate Grandma. So the GOP did nothing.
Real leadership is what you do when it’s right but it’s also hard. McConnell, Boehner and company have never been known for this, and now we have the latest example as to why.
And if you don’t understand why so many people adore Sarah Palin, here’s Exhibit A. Many people understand we need to drill, baby, drill, but right now it takes courage to say so. While most Republicans run for the tall grass, Palin speaks the truth.
It’s hard not to respect that, or her, and by the same to token, it’s hard these days to respect just about anyone else – Paul Ryan excepted – in the Republican Party.