By Aaron Miller

An oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded and sank on April 22.  It released an oil slick that covered over 1000 square miles.  Eleven workers were killed.  The effects of this spill may be felt for ten years or more. 

This comes just weeks after the Obama Administration unveiled plans to increase offshore oil drilling. He appears to have flip-flopped from his position during the 2008 campaign, at which time he said that a “drill-baby-drill” attitude will not solve America’s dependence on foreign oil because we have 2% of the world’s oil reserves but consume 25% of the world’s oil output.  What we need to do, he said, is to utilize green technology to decrease our energy consumption and our dependence on foreign oil.

So.  Obama has decided that the extremely reasonable view that he expressed during the campaign is no good.  Which makes me wonder…did he ever really believe himself?  Was he posing as a liberal to get more votes from the Progressive bloc, which ended up propelling him into office?

I remember that in 2008, Obama’s biggest supporters were progressives—that is, people in the more liberal branch of the Democratic Party.  They were, even then, much more liberal than their candidate.  But that didn’t matter, because he agreed with many of their most deeply-held beliefs, and came across as relatively intelligent, as opposed to George Bush.  While the people whose votes put Obama in office were mostly moderates, the people who went door to door trying to convince people to vote for Obama; the people who donated all the money they could to his campaign; the people who, in short, put Obama into office, were all progressives.

However, once he was in office, Obama proved to be weak and indecisive.  He ended up ditching many of his campaign promises in order to get bipartisan votes, which often didn’t appear.  Obama should forget about trying to appear moderate because it won’t get anything done.  He should instead use methods such as reconciliation to get legislation passed that he promised to pass during his presidential campaign.  Otherwise he will face a progressive bloc that is far less willing to help his next presidential campaign.

And he should start by outlawing all offshore oil drilling.