Our environmental imperialism does not just redistribute pollution to people who can least afford it. It generally increases the total overall damage because oil extraction in the wealthier and more technologically advanced U.S. is far more environmentally sensitive.
McCain's unwillingness to include ANWR lacks even political logic. His policy on offshore drilling is a flip-flop from his past positions. Perfectly justified, but a reconsideration nonetheless. If you are going to take the hit for flip-flopping and for offending environmentalists, why go halfway?
The oil crisis handed McCain an unexpected and singularly effective campaign issue. A majority of Americans now favor drilling in the Arctic and offshore. Democrats stand in the way of increased production just as they did 13 years ago when President Clinton vetoed drilling in ANWR. Domestic oil production would be about 20 percent higher today if the Republican Congress had been allowed to prevail.
As expected and right on cue, Barack Obama reflexively attacked McCain. "His decision to completely change his position" to one that would please the oil industry is "the same Washington politics that has prevented us from achieving energy independence for decades." One can only marvel at Obama's audacity in characterizing McCain's proposal to change our policy as "old politics," while the candidate of "change" adheres rigidly to the no-drilling status quo.
McCain is a lot of things, but the man who opposed ethanol in Iowa -- as Obama shamelessly endorsed the most abysmally stupid of our energy policies -- is no patsy of the energy producers. Americans know that increased production is needed to complement reduced consumption as the only way to get us out from oil shocks, high prices and national security blackmail.
Alas, McCain's proposed reform is only partial. Still better than Obama, however, who refuses to deviate from liberal orthodoxy. But that is the story of his campaign, is it not?
Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.
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