Paul Jacob

To allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or not? It is an easy question for Senator John F. Kerry . . . because he's magic!

Magic in what way, you ask? Perhaps you fail to understand the wonders that Mr. Kerry would have performed had he been elected president last fall. For starters, America would probably already be energy independent under a President Kerry.

If you're having trouble accepting this, don't fret. You're probably just not attune to wizardly ways. Perhaps you don't believe in magic. You might have some distrust of Washington politicians. For goodness' sake, you could even be so suspicious of power that you support the system that the powerful almost always oppose, free enterprise.

To Kerry and his fellow wizards and magicians, that means you're a muggle.

What does all this talk of wizards and muggles have to do with drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? Plenty. Kerry has helped lead the fight against drilling in ANWR because he has a better solution.

Many who support drilling think of ANWR as a much better place to drill than off the coast of California or Florida or in downtown Manhattan or in your back yard. But in a column for Outside Magazine, Kerry writes, "Like many incomparable treasures of the West, ANWR sounds desolate, uninhabited." That could be because ANWR is 19 million acres and very few people live there or anywhere close.

But Kerry points out there are caribou and bears and birds there. "The environmental risks of drilling in ANWR are devastating," he says. Now I know you're thinking that the caribou have been cited before as a species that would be hurt by oil drilling and the pipeline. And that hurt hasn't materialized . . . despite a very big pipeline bisecting the Last Frontier.

Still, when those with a crystal ball warn something is risky, who are we to argue?

On Kerry's Senate website he points to yet another reason to bar drilling in ANWR, arguing that drilling could ruin "the opportunity for local residents to continue their subsistence way of life." Wizards or not, Democrats are always big on maintaining subsistence living.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.