Why did Barack Obama soften his stance on offshore drilling last week? I asked this question of a campaign insider, who is also a long time environmentalist. The answer back was basically: “Don’t blame Obama, we (environmentalists) didn’t do our work well in the community, which is why the American people think that offshore drilling is the answer to our energy crisis”.
This answer made sense to me initially, and its certainly no shocker to think of the environmental community as somewhat ineffective, but actually, it turns out not to be true. A great overview of the issue just posted by the Yale Forum backs up a poll from last week conducted by The Wilderness Society.
It turns out that its really all about how you ask the question. If the choice is between investing in clean energy (wind, solar, tire gauges) and offshore drilling, then clean energy wins coming and going (76% to 19% in the TWS poll).
So the real question, again, is why has the mainstream media so uncritically reported the polls in which drilling is presented as the only option to lower gas prices – despite the fact that there is no way drilling will have any significant impact on the price of gas.
And I suppose, its still worth asking why the Obama campaign has given proponents of drilling a leg up, by conceding even a little.