-- by Dave
Sarah Palin's still pushing hard on her "drill baby drill" mantra hard, especially in terms of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, which she can barely wait to open up for drilling and a new pipeline. She went on Greta Van Susteren's show on Thanksgiving Day to criticize "the extreme politicians over on the left who want to buy into those extreme environmentalists who claim that there's no way you can responsibly develop a plot of land that was set aside for oil and gas development" -- particularly President Obama:
SARAH PALIN: Well, Obama needs to get up here. If he has as much time as he has on his hands to take all these vacations, maybe he should vacation in ANWR. At least fly over it, Mr. President, or play -- you know, play golf or do what he does. This is a national security need. This is -- there's that inherent link between security and our own domestic development. I think it's inexcusable that our president won't come up here and look at it.
Does anyone know what Palin's talking about here? Earlier this summer, Republicans tried attacking Obama for taking a vacation, until the WaPo pointed out that Obama at that point had taken far fewer days of vacation than his predecessor, the inimitable proprietor of the Lazy W Ranch in Crawford:
Obama has embarked on nine "vacations" since taking office, bringing his total days off to 48. Some of those trips lasted a day and some, like his Christmas holiday in Hawaii, more than a week.
By comparison, Bush had visited his ranch in Crawford, Tex., 14 times at this point in his administration and spent 115 days there.
Indeed, FactCheck found that Obama also took less vacation time than the revered Saint Ronnie, too -- though more than those lazy liberal Democrats, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
Maybe Palin has in mind Obama's trip to Asia, since her pal Michele Bachmann had gone on national TV and lied about its magnitude and cost -- even though its utter falsity was quickly established.
Indeed, the wingnuts of the wingnutosphere have insisted on referring to it as Obama's "vacation" in India. They were helped along in this by Glenn Beck, who described the trip as "$2 billion for ten days so [Obama] can go see the festival of lights."
BECK: All on the heels of his wife's lavish trip to Spain, now our president is planning another lavish trip. And our dollar is losing value and the Chinese are warning us. The media again is missing it. The bickering today back and forth about how many hundreds or maybe -- maybe billions of dollars this is going to cost to insure the president's security but no one is asking, "Wait a minute, it could cost up to $2 billion to make sure he's safe? Then why is he -- has he seen the Grand Canyon?"
From the November 4 edition of Glenn Beck:
BECK: A report came out that has made the rounds on the Internet about the high cost of this trip. Some people say that it is up to $2 billion for 10 days. Is that true? I don't know. The media is bickering back and forth about what the real cost is and how many ships will be there. Thirty-four warships, possibly. I don't know. Two hundred million dollars a day while in India. I don't know. president has blocked off eight hundred hotel rooms. Do we even know if he's traveling with 3,000 people? Do we know if that's true? No one knows any of the details of this trip, the real cost of the trip. One thing we can say for certain is it's going to be quite expensive.
In reality, of course, this is not a vacation at all, but a major diplomatic tour of ally nations, particularly India. And there's a great deal at stake, both in terms of security issue and major business deals.
Is that what Palin means by "all this vacation time"?
If so, it once again demonstrates her utter lack of fitness for the job.
So, for that matter, does her ceaseless attempts to push ANWR drilling, because it clearly displays her eagerness to not only ignore real science but also to essentially open up her entire state to resource extraction without regard to consequences.
To Van Susteren's credit, she did invite Rep. Jay Inslee on to discuss the other side of the issue:
INSLEE: Well, I guess I'd offer three reasons that I think it's unwise for us to move in this direction right now. Number one, the fact is -- and this is just a geologic and economic fact -- is that drilling in this area really is not going to make an appreciable difference for our economy. And the reason is, is that this represents less than half of 1 percent of the world's oil reserves. And according to the energy studies that have been done, even if they prove out, which remains a question, might have -- might have an impact of maybe 3 cents a gallon of our cost of gasoline in the year 2028. So it's quite a minimal amount when you look at the word oil supply.
In fact, the problem is, you know, we've only got 3 percent of the world's oil supply, but we use 25 percent of the world's oil. So it's really not a solution to our problem. That's number one.
Number two -- and I think this is an important fact -- and I appreciate your looking at this issue -- but the fact of the matter is, if we're going to grow our economy, if we are going to seize the jobs of the next century, we have to get busy focusing our national debate and our national investment on the new clean energy technologies, or China is going to eat our lunch.
China right now is preparing to roll out electric cars, lithium ion batteries, solar cells, cellulosic ethanol. This is where the future of energy is. We've a finite resource in oil, just like we had a finite resource in whale oil, and we made a transition. And we have to really focus our national energies in a bipartisan way, I would hope, on finding our way to compete with China to really build new energy sources of the future.
And third -- and this is an important one, and maybe it's obvious but I think it's worth saying. We've made some national commitments to our grandkids. We've done it in Yellowstone National Park. We've done it in Glacier. We've done it in Mt. Rainier National Park. And we've done it in the Arctic refuge.
You know, a Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, started this whole shebang at the Pelican (ph) Refuge, and we've never violated that commitment. This is a special place. We've made a commitment that this is -- this is during the Eisenhower administration, by the way. We made a decision that we were going to make a commitment to our grandchildren that we were going to preserve this relatively small space the way the creator designed it. And I just think that's a commitment that we should keep. It's the right thing for America both economically and as a part of a commitment to our grandkids.
She later brought on Peter Van Tyne of the NRDC to explain that Palin in fact is lying about the impacts of the drilling:
VAN TYNE: I think it is wrong on a couple of points. First of all, the coastal plain of the arctic refuge about 1.5 million acres is considered by the scientists to be the biological heart of that refuge. And think about this -- in a two week period in the summer the porcupine caribou herd calves on the coastal plain, and they have 35,000 babies in that two-week period. On the coastal plain you have over 160 species of birds. In every state of your viewers there's a bird that spends some portion of their life cycle on the Arctic Refuge coastal plain.
And it's also considered by scientists to be the most important land habitat in the United States for polar bears. And scientists say in the entire arctic, circumpolar arctic this place has the most diverse plant and animal species.
You mentioned that there's an idea of drilling being only a small area. That is simply not borne out. You yourself were over in the Prudhoe Bay area and you looked at the development there. This is 1,000 square miles of development, the size of Rhode Island. You can see it from space.
There's no way -- the National Academy of Sciences has looked at these issues carefully. They say that when you drill in a particular place you've made the essential trade off, their words, not mine, where you are necessarily industrializing an area by drilling it for oil and actually undercutting if not completely eliminating the other values of the area.
Maybe Palin needs to take a vacation down in the Gulf of Mexico to see some of the consequences of trusting the oil companies too much, eh?
[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]