It was Aug. 18, just three months ago, and then-presidential candidate John McCain stood on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico (photo below) and proclaimed:
Americans across our country are hurting, as we all know, because of the cost of energy. Gas prices are through the roof. Energy costs have seeped into our grocery bills, making it more expensive to feed our families. Now as we prepare for the winter, it’s time for us to be more serious about our home heating oil needs. … And that means we need to start drilling offshore, at advanced oil rigs like this one.
At that time, oil was fetching as much as $150 a barrel on the world market, and American motorists were paying nearly $4 a gallon for gas, and McCain had abandoned his opposition to offshore drilling to score points with voters. Chants of “drill, baby, drill” were heard in the land. Few wanted to listen to reason. No matter that offshore drilling would do next-to-nothing to reduce oil prices, and American drivers would see no benefits for decades – if at all. Gas prices were “through the roof,” and voters wanted something done about it. Something was done. Enabling politicians and greed-crazed financiers ran the banking system aground, and the global economy toppled. The Bush Administration has since pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into the “financial system” supposedly to prop it up. So far, all it has done is enrich the bankers who caused the collapse. The global economy is still in free-fall. It’s beginning to look as if a depression is inevitable.
But, as my mother used to say, every cloud has a silver lining. And the economic meltdown has done what drilling would not have done. It has brought gas prices down, down, down. With oil trading at less than $50 a barrel, you can buy gas for $1.95 in Lakeland, Florida, where I live, and it’s cheaper in some other parts of the country. So, Americans no longer have to worry about the cost of commuting to their jobs… if they still have jobs.