Drill Baby Drill: What If Sarah Palin Was Right All Along?


Remember when Democrats mocked Sarah Palin and her “drill, baby, drill” mantra? When the idea that raising domestic oil production could ever push gas down to $2 per gallon prices again was mocked and ridiculed by no less than President Barack Obama himself?

Yeah, about that:

Back when gas topped $4 a gallon, Republicans chanted “drill, baby, drill” at rallies across the country — arguing more domestic drilling would increase supplies, reduce dependence on foreign oil and boost the U.S. economy.

Democrats, almost universally, mocked the GOP plan. In 2012, President Obama called it “a slogan, a gimmick, and a bumper sticker … not a strategy.”

“They were waving their three-point plans for $2-a-gallon gas,” Obama told a laughing audience during an energy speech in Washington. “You remember that? Drill, baby, drill. We were going through all that. And none of it was really going to do anything to solve the problem.”

“‘Drill, baby, drill’ won’t lower gas prices today or tomorrow,” Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Calif., echoed on the floor of Congress in 2012. “But it will fuel our addiction to fossil fuel.”

Today, Democrats are singing a different tune, as increased domestic drilling has led to a record supply of domestic crude, put some $100 billion into the pockets of U.S. consumers and sent world oil prices tumbling.

The price of a gallon of regular gasoline on Monday was $2.13 nationwide, and below $2 in 18 states.

“Of course [Obama] was wrong. We’ve seen oil prices fall internationally now by half since last June,” said American Enterprise Institute economist Ben Zycher. “The U.S. is now the biggest oil and gas producer in the world, or almost that, and the effect has been to drive prices down as we’ve seen.”

Maybe it’s time to stop taking Democrats seriously on energy issues? Here in North Dakota Democrats are faced with a similar dilemma. They opposed reforms to the state’s oil tax structure which would have eliminated two triggers which could cost the state billions in revenues, creating budget chaos and derailing a push for eliminating the income tax. The idea was that the triggers would never trigger, so it wasn’t worth the reduction in overall tax rates the oil industry wanted in exchange.

Now, with oil prices plunging and North Dakota hovering on the brink of that trigger, Democrats are stuck in the same boat as their national colleagues who were so busy smirking about “drill baby drill.”

Meanwhile, Obama takes credit:

Nevertheless, Obama is touting the lower prices, which injected billions into the improving U.S. economy.

“America is the No. 1 producer of oil, No. 1 producer of gas. It’s helping to save drivers $1.10 a gallon at the pump over this time last year,” the president told a crowd last week in Detroit.

Galling comments from a President who has largely sought to hamstring the oil industry. His high-profile blockade of the Keystone pipeline has inspired obstruction of fossil fuel infrastructure around the nation (Could Keystone Be America’s Last Pipeline?), and now the President is striking out at the oil and gas industries with demands for massive emissions reductions.