One of the central tenets of Team Obama's energy-messaging strategy revolves around the president's supposed inability to affect gasoline prices because, says Team O, even if the Obama administration were to decide to go hog-wild on approving a bunch of drilling permits, it can take three, five, even ten years to actually get the production off the ground and bring that oil to market, and therefore this specific new policy wouldn't impact the oil market for some time.
This is perfectly true, which is precisely why it's so infuriating that President Obama then turns around and takes credit for "the increasing number of oil rigs" operating during his tenure (just how dumb do you think we all are, exactly?). But the President is acting as if three, five, even ten years is some terrifically huge amount of time, after which these days of policy-yore will have passed out of all living memory. But really, now -- in the long-term, ten years isn't all that long a time, and we will all still be very much alive and still feeling the impact of the decisions we made today.
Exactly ten years ago, Senate Democrats were debating the opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for fuel exploration and development, but the fact that it would take ten years to get the oil out of ANWR seemed to somehow disqualify ANWR's opportunities from even being open for discussion. Surprise, surprise -- we're still debating the exact same thing, instead of reaping the wealth and jobs that would have come from initiating the project:
President Obama's current argument, in a nutshell: "That'll take five whole years? Pffft! Why bother?" I realize that democratic politics are often anchored in short-term thinking, but we need to stop cutting off ourselves off at the knees by allowing our politicians to dismiss the benefits of long-term policies, merely because they're long-term.