“Drill baby, drill”: The moment the Republic died

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"“Drill baby, drill”: The moment the Republic died"

I couldn’t stomach watching Mayor Giuliani’s convention speech, so I missed this defining moment when it was live.

But should John McCain win (and maybe even if he doesn’t), and assuming the country fails to achieve a bipartisan agreement to take action strong enough and fast enough to avoid the catastrophic impacts of global warming (and of peak oil, too) — then the Future Historians of America (FHA) will be able to trace the precise time and place the great American experiment failed. It was September 3, 2008 at 10:14 pm EST at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota:

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Yes, the delegates to one of the two major political parties were chanting for crack cocaine to feed an addiction that is destroying the economic health of this country, strengthening our enemies, jeopardizing our security, and ultimately posing “an existential threat to civilization” itself. With apoligies to T. S. Eliot:

This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends.
Not with a bang but a chant of “Drill, baby, Drill.”

The chanting delegates to the Republican National Convention are obviously the hollow men (and women). Are the rest of us, too?

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37 Responses to “Drill baby, drill”: The moment the Republic died

  1. paulm says:

    It was pathetic.

    Are there any Republicans out there who appreciate the climate change nightmare? What are they going to vote now?

  2. Samuel says:

    It will never cease to amaze me how they can substitute slogans for honest policy.

  3. Paul K says:

    Too bad Obama has also joined the drill, baby drill crowd. Today in Pennsylvania he sang the praises of coal, saying global warming is important “but we are the Saudi Arabia of coal.” He also favors shale liquefication and continues to be one of the Senate’s biggest supporters of increasing corn ethanol subsidies. As Obama gets closer and closer to the McCain we can transition to 21st Century energy position, climate voters must decide who is better equipped to lead.

    [JR: Nice try. For Obama, drilling is the bone you have to throw the pit bull to get past her to the real stuff.]

  4. Hey Joe,

    That was one of my favorite poems, but it was awfully apt, so I will forgive your modification.

    I think it showed the lack of vision and the hollowness of the current energy policy advocated by the right-wing party faithful of the GOP. It was truly frightening, but at least the mask is off.

  5. Gary Herstein says:

    I dunno — particularly given the religious affiliations of the social conservatives in general and Sarah Palin in particular, I’ve still got to go with Yeats on this one:

    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

  6. kenlevenson says:

    Paul K,

    Nice try. You don’t say anything through this whole tragic farce of a convention and you reemerge accusing Obama of selling out to coal and oil?

    Who is better equipped to lead? You are jumping the shark.

    Clearly Obama is using coal and oil to lubricate the launch of big time renewable energy. At this point it would be a stretch to even claim the reverse for the McCain. It’s just drill baby drill…..

    You spent the previous week saying that the Republicans would do x, y and z – and not only did they not responsibly address our energy needs they went into GonzoLand…..
    On the other hand, not only did the Democrats make energy a a top shelf concern, Al Gore had the prime time bully pulpit.

    The Dems couldn’t have done more and the Republicans couldn’t have done less.

    Isn’t it time to give up on McCain/Palin?

  7. Robert says:

    As a UK citizen I am totally depressed by both Obama and McCain’s speeches, but particularly the latter. Both are US-centric to the point that they view the rest of the world as either non-existant or hostile. McCain’s “fight for America” chants were faintly reminscent of Hitler’s Nuremberg rallies. Whatever happened to the US’s stance as the world’s moral leader (not just its most powerful country)? The rhetoric is starting to sound more like a dangerous wounded and cornered animal rather than the king of the jungle.

    Under these circumstances any thought of global leadrship over climate change and the many other problems facing the world looks a very distant possibility.

    The most memorable item from McCain’s speech was that he has 7 kids. Add that to Palin’s 5 ….! What is the matter with these people? Can’t they keep their legs together????! If everyone on earth bred at the same rate the entire mass of the planet would be converted to human beings by the year 2175.

  8. hapa says:

    Both are US-centric to the point that they view the rest of the world as either non-existant or hostile.

    robert, i’m afraid i have some bad news about the general population of the USA. maybe you should sit down.…

  9. Paul K says:

    Robert,
    How dare you make that Hitler reference! What a vile self hating individual you must be. You slander a man whose honor, courage and commitment to freedom is acknowledged even by his most ardent political rivals. John McCain’s father and grandfather both fought to save England and the rest of Europe from the Nazis. You are a speck of dust in comparison.

    My apologies to everyone else here for the vehemence of this comment.

  10. Paul K says:

    kenlevenson,
    I’ve made comments on several threads the last few days. Maybe you missed them. I am glad no one took me up on the $2 bet ‘cuz I’d be writing a lotta checks. My family is glad I only played the drinking game on the first night.

    You probably didn’t notice that while the delegates chanted drill, baby, drill, McCain was calling for a grand national commitment to transition to 21st century energy and warned of the danger of global warming. He reach out his hand to anyone who wished to join in this challenge. I hope you are prepared to do so.

    I do not suggest that Senator Obama has sold out to anyone although one could say he’s been in the pocket of ADM since his days in the Illinois Senate. My point is the gap between Obama and McCain on energy issues is much narrower than the hyper partisan McCain all bad, Obama all good spin promoted at climateprogress. As the campaign goes on and both candidates are forced to the middle, the gap will narrow even more.

    I’ve read and continue to study Obama’s energy plan. I hope you’ll do the same with McCain’s.

  11. I have been follwing both sides carefully since the beginning because I believe in that old adage “Know Your Enemy” All the speeches at the RNC were about FEAR. Trying to give us a list of all the things we need to fear. Kind of like the drug commercials that keep people going to doctors for expencive tests and then putting them on whatver name brand drug is down in sales. But not once was Climate Change which is my greatest fear for my grandchild even mentioned. I also know that if the republicans get McCain elected they will march over him to a man, with Palin leading the way and leaving the deepest boot prints, on their way to ANWAR and any other drilling sites they like with billion dollar subsides to the oil and coal industries. All in the name of ENERGY INDEPENDENCE! they’ll end up calling it PAlIN”S WAR

  12. hapa says:

    someone’s gonna be president, all right. and surely it is true we will learn in november and december how hard that president is really ready to fight for a for a greener future.

  13. Paul K says:

    Kathy Nockels,
    McCain and Lieberman talked about climate change in their speeches. Do you know your enemy enough to know that, unlike Obama, McCain has introduced climate legislation and voted against oil company tax breaks?

  14. Dennis says:

    while the delegates chanted drill, baby, drill, McCain was calling for a grand national commitment to transition to 21st century energy… . He reach out his hand to anyone who wished to join in this challenge. ”

    Strange, I would expect that, as the Republican presidential nominee, he would do more than “reach out his hand.” Lead, perhaps?

  15. Paul K says:

    Dennis,
    Bringing people together to achieve a goal is the essence of leadership.

    Here’s a goal found on page six of the fact sheet accompanying Senator Obama’s Aug. 3 New Energy for America speech: “As president Obama will work with all stakeholders to facilitate the construction of the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline. While this pipeline was proposed in 1976 and Congress authorized up to $18 billion in loan guarantees in 2004, there has been no progress in building this critical energy infrastructure under the Bush Administration. Not only is the pipeline critical to our energy security, it will create thousands of jobs.”

    Senator Obama is correct that this long stalled pipeline is a critical goal and luckily we don’t have to wait for his election to achieve it. At almost the same time the Senator was giving his energy speech, Sarah Palin – yes, that Sarah Palin – was putting the finishing touches on the pipeline negotiations she has pursued since becoming Governor. Because of her leadership the Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline will finally be built. A bit ironic, isn’t it.

  16. john says:

    Paul K:

    Couple of points — First, I think Robert’s observations are accurate — it wasn’t a comaprison, he said “faintly reminiscent.” Bill Clinton made much the same point when he said, “People have always been more impressed by the power of our example than the example of our power.”

    If all we can do is thump our chests in a jingosistic display of martial might at every opportunity and chant beligerantly, then please don’t be surprised at whatever names you hear. We’ve earned them.

    Second, if McCain really wants to usher in the 21st century, why doesn’t he show up for votes on 21st century technologies, and why does he spend most of his time pushing 20th century power like nukes and oil?

    Finally, please read Obama’s energy plan before mischaracterizing his positions again. As several others have pointed out, Obama’s position is not to favor drilling; it’s to use it as a negotiating chip to get you Repugs to back real inovative technology.

    You know all this, I believe, because you’ve been informed about it ad nauseum. Yet you show up here and spew what is either ignorance or intentional lies.

    Please either inform yourself, or quit lying, or quit commenting.

    You’re way past jumping the shark — you’ve killed it, skinned it and you’re wearing a sharksin coat.

    It’s just plain ugly, man.

  17. hapa says:

    anyone who says gov’t is the problem is a fool. gov’t is a tool in the chest and the basis of our society — the body of law that creates our markets and our sense of stability.

    anyone who says they’ll shake up washington is a fool. literally biliions of lives hang in the balance of choices made about the future of the dollar. go there. change the curtains. change the rules for hiring and firing the experts. over the years, fashion determines some, secret or long-sought goals determine some.

    but we are not yet grown, this mass civilization. we have not yet to clean up after our first party. we don’t know what it means to be responsible.

    paul k, your “side of the aisle” has the psychology down but can’t bring us to a fighting stance to face hardship. to become new. it’s not about the vote. in a real sense we need to choose whether we will be agents of renewal or rest on our laurels. plastic laurels, now. made in china, out of unavoidably, increasingly dear petroleum.

    our enemies now — they are our own appetites — and our hidebound leaders — still fending off mother russia.

    in the face of the work we need to do, voting republican today is nihilistic.

  18. Paul K says:

    john,
    Quoting exactly from Obama’s public statements and position papers can hardly be called mischaracterizing.

    Of course I understand the Democrat’s attempt to spin their capitulation on drilling as a bargaining chip, but the fact is the bargain has been available to them the whole time. Check out the Senate Republican bill that was offered with 43 cosponsors after LWB was withdrawn this summer. It contained, for example, unprecedented support for plug in and EV development and deployment that went beyond previous Democratic proposals.

    Just the other day Joe himself said the 2005 Bush/Cheney energy bill “contained more clean energy and energy efficiency incentives than any bill in more than a decade” a time period that extends far back into the Clinton administration.

    It’s time to drop the childish and counterproductive we’re all good, they’re all bad rhetoric and seek common ground.

  19. Russ says:

    paul k:

    It’s time to drop the childish and counterproductive we’re all good, they’re all bad rhetoric and seek common ground.

    Then shouldn’t the “uniter” have done that starting in 2001?

  20. Dill Weed says:

    Know Your Enemy is a great song by Rage Against the Machine.

    Bullet in the Head is another and I believe is fitting, but you’ll have to listen to it to figure out why.

    I have some bad news for everybody.

    Jim Hansen will fail.

    I have been following the development of global warming for the last two years. I just finished reading all the posts on Jim Hansen’s website documenting his understanding of the science and his efforts to communicate it. I regularly follow developments on many climate sites pro and con.
    Explaining, attempts at persuasion, argument, appealing to others’ humanity (save the planet for your children and grandchildren and the animals too (Don’t vote, can’t talk.) will NOT get the United States to lead the fight against global warming (place a moratorium on coal plants that don’t sequester carbon or result in a large scale conversion to carbon neutral energy).
    It’s NOT going to happen, EVEN in the face of mounting evidence that we are approaching or have passed ‘tipping points’.
    Jim Hansen is learning that.
    He’s already encountered what he appropriately calls ‘green wash,’ politicians talking a good talk that expresses agreement and even commitment to change, but lacks substantive determination. There are two kinds of individuals, both lacking courage, that communicate this way and one is far worse than the other. The first is someone who understands and agrees, but who out of fear does not take a stand. The second is the smiling glad handing, back stabbing weasel who will step over your body to further his or her own interests.
    From the frustration that mounts as he literally attempts to save the planet and humanity as we know it and because of the slowness of others to respond meaningfully, Hansen may resort to more radical actions.
    If he does, he will give his opposition a readymade gift– a way to marginalize and nullify his voice while continuing with business as usual, profiting while exploiting and destroying the planet and endangering our futures.
    What to do?
    Hansen et al and all their evidence and arguments lack the leverage necessary to create change and on their own are not powerful enough to overcome the inertia of the status quo and those benefitting from it.
    Newscasts show the bill for our CO2 emissions is coming due. It appears that the consequences are going to escalate. Politicians will promise. Special interests will delay. We will all pay.
    What to do?
    Without accountability there can be no change.
    With anonymity there is no accountability.
    It is time to put the spot light of attention on those who are delaying change. Names need to be put with faces and actions so that later there can be accountability. If deniers are right, then they deserve our heartfelt thanks. If not, then not.

    It’s time to start taking names.

  21. Thank-you John. McCain’s VP is a climate change denier . I would think you could get nothing but mixed messages out of that at the very least.At the most a true picture of core republican outlook.

  22. hapa says:

    @russ: the “common ground” in question here is us all shaking hands, having a meal together, and voting republican in november. i’m sure we can find our way to such a positive, forward-thinking compromise. you have to admit: they haven’t yet had every opportunity to lock us into permanent environmental and fiscal decline.

  23. john says:

    Paul K.

    1) You did — in fact — misharacterize Obama’s position re: drilling — Joe has linked to Obama’s actual statement here in this site.

    2) “Of course I understand the Democrat’s attempt to spin their capitulation on drilling as a bargaining chip …” Again, see the links Joe’s provided.

    3) “It’s time to drop the childish and counterproductive we’re all good, they’re all bad rhetoric and seek common ground …” As long as that common ground is your common ground? You start off with distortions about Obama’s position, and then, when you are called on it, you say Wait — time out. Let’s just all get along?

    Sorry, not going to happen. As I said, whether you are knowingly lying or merely ignorant, I think you’ve seen the folks on this site are too informed to let you get away with it. Maybe you should have been up in Minneapolis at the Stepford Convention. They were swallowing gallons of grape cool-aid — your BS would have gone down easy there.

  24. Russ says:

    You’re right hapa, there are still some some things left to steal, vandalize, or destroy. Some land to be defiled, some taxes to be cut, some programs to gut…

    Even after the recent veterans’ hospital debacle, mister soldier of honor still wants to privatize the VA.
    That’s the equivalent of abandoning your wounded comrades on the battlefield.

    Not to mention, two botched theater wars isn’t enough. McBush has far grander ambitions, evidently nothing less than a new Cold War.

  25. Paul K says:

    john,
    My common ground is the maximum deployment of currently available and near pipeline efficiencies and technologies to rapidly transition to a 21st century energy portfolio.

    I believe it is more productive to think in terms of fossil fuel use replaced, the action required, rather than CO2 emissions reduced, the result. Either way, the end point is the same. Like Joe, I think it can and should be done with the least amount of societal disruption and the most amount of economic benefit.

    It doesn’t matter if your concern is climate, national security, economic survival or that cutting edge technologies are really neat. What is important is the shared goal.

  26. Paul K says:

    One more thing. I have not distorted the Obama energy view in any way. The fact is he now favors an increase in off shore drilling. His political calculation or desire to get concessions from Republicans does not alter that fact. In addition, he also favors expanded drilling on existing leases, shale to oil and increased drilling in the Alaska Petroleum Reserve. Perhaps it is you who does not understand his positions. Read all about it here in his own words.

  27. SqueakyRat says:

    How does drilling everything in sight speed the “transition to a 21st century energy portfolio”? Does it make that portfolio a better risk for capital investment? No. Does it increase demand for that portfolio? Quite the opposite. Does it provide more public funds for research and development of that portfolio? Of course not.

  28. Joe says:

    Paul K:

    I am very close to putting you on permanent moderation for your continued spreading of debunked disinformation. Obama does NOT support shale to oil. Please read his plan and then understand what you are reading.

    He does not “favor” an increase in offshore drilling. The is incredibly clear from all of his statements on the subject. He is willing to tolerate an increase in offshore drilling if that’s what it takes to get the stuff that matters.

  29. Paul K says:

    Joe,
    A vote for additional off shore leasing is a vote for more off shore drilling no matter how noble the rationale behind it. Senator Obama does indeed favor increased off shore drilling. Quoting the official Obama energy fact sheet linked in my last comment, he promises to “require oil companies to develop existing leases or turn them over so that another company can develop them.” Are you saying the word require really means does not favor?

    He calls for expedited drilling in the Bakken Shale formation (I thought this was shale to oil and thank you for correcting me. Turns out it is straightforward drilling). He wants more drilling in the Alaska Petroleum Reserve. If this is disinformation, it comes from Obama, not me.

    Frankly Joe, I have been surprised at the kid glove treatment you have given Obama on energy issues especially his strong support for corn ethanol. I would think you would be horrified by what he’s saying about coal as he campaigns in Pennsylvania and other coal producing swing states.

  30. Paul K says:

    SqueakyRat,
    Energy independence is a critical step in the transition mostly because it keeps the money here for our economic benefit rather than sending it elsewhere.

    You ask “Does it make that portfolio a better risk for capital investment? Not necessarily, but it could well increase the amount of capital availbe for investment.
    “Does it increase demand for that portfolio? It shouldn’t have much effect on way or another for reasons I will explain.
    “Does it provide more public funds for research and development of that portfolio? Yes, because of the extra tax revenues generated.

    When thinking about our future energy mix, it is useful to separate fossil fuels used for transportation energy (petroleum) from electricity generating energy (coal). They are different problems with different solutions. Solving one does not necessarily automatically solve the other, nor does not solving one necessarily prevent a solution for the other.

    The solution to coal is is the maximum deployment of alternative generating technology and efficiencies. These technologies are right now getting increasing amounts of capital investment. Their growth is exponential. The big problem here, aside from the required massive transmission infrastructure improvements, involves old coal costs that I don’t fully understand. Earl Killian does and I defer to his superior wisdom about it.

    The solution to petroleum is efficiency in the form of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and EV vehicles. By 2045 it very likely there will be very few gasoline cars on the road. Hybrids are already cost effective vs gas powered cars. The only limit on hybrid sales is availability. They fly out of dealer showrooms. Demand far outweighs supply. I would be surprised if gas only cars are even manufactured in 2025 or earlier. When mass produced plug-ins and EVs become available, demand for them will also be tremendous.

  31. john says:

    Paul:

    Talk about bait and switch … there’s a big difference between tolerating drilling on existing offshore leases and advocating that the ban on new leases be dropped.

    There’s an even bigger difference between being against developing shale oil, and being for it.

    It’s amazing you would provide the link to Obama’s plan when it clearly shows you’re lying. And yes, it is now clear that you are lying — not merely grossly misinformed.

    You ought to stop embarrassing yourself. Most of us who frequent this site actually read stuff, so your baseless, doctrinaire assertions don’t work here.

    Go sell fantasy to people who don’t deal in reality — like the Republican Party, perhaps.

  32. Anyone not subconsciously awakened during Giuliani’s speech to the horrific interracial hatreds of forty-three years ago in Watts (led by the “burn baby burn” mantra) must have been taking a blissful Orwellian nap. Otherwise how could anybody listening to the Republican’s rhythmic “drill baby drill” repetitive slogan not react in panic?
    Not only did Giuliani’s “newspeak” leave me petrified of the Republican Party but left me wondering how viewers were not instantly awakened to the apocalyptic “Great Earth Burn” (AGW) potential of the US establishment’s new “Great Drill Campaign.” Only those in super denial or those too young to recall the 60’s racial propagandists who burned Watts to the ground while yelling “burn baby burn” could be emotionally disconnected from the parallelism these twin mantras SHOULD conjure up in our national consciousness.

  33. Matt Finnell says:

    Cross posted from Environment America’s Daily Kos Diary http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/9/8/15457/79891/662/591234

    I couldn’t quite believe it myself when I heard the crowd at the Republican National Convention last week, whipped up into a frenzy over the idea of opening our precious coasts to new drilling.

    Take Action Here
    https://www.environmentamerica.org/action/drill-baby-drill-congress?id=COM

    In the last few days, 10,000 of us have urged our representatives and senators in Congress to say no to new offshore drilling, no to putting our beautiful coasts at risk of devastating spills, and no to the false hope of a quick-and-dirty fix to our energy problems. That’s a fantastic accomplishment in such a short time.

    But frankly, we need to do more to make ourselves heard over the din of “drill, baby, drill” — especially when Big Oil’s propaganda machine can so easily amplify their call on Capitol Hill.

    As soon as the next few days, Congress will vote on whether to pass an energy policy paid for by Big Oil or one that puts us on a path toward a clean, sustainable energy future. Tell Congress to put a stop to the Big Oil agenda right now.

    Take Action
    https://www.environmentamerica.org/action/drill-baby-drill-congress?id=COM

    We’re raising the voice of people from all over the country to expose Big Oil’s self-serving agenda, which includes:

    * Saying NO to clean energy and energy efficiency tax credits,
    * Saying YES to $13.5 billion in tax giveaways to the oil industry, and
    * Saying YES to new drilling off our coasts.

    Let’s face facts. Big Oil’s agenda is not about saving us money at the pump. It’s about making them more money any way they can.

    As outrageous as that is, we cannot win without Congress hearing from more Americans like you.

    “Drill, baby, drill” is no solution to our energy problems, not by a long shot. Help us stand up to Big Oil today.

  34. shop says:

    Let’s face facts. Big Oil’s agenda is not about saving us money at the pump. It’s about making them more money any way they can.

    As outrageous as that is, we cannot win without Congress hearing from more Americans like you.

    “Drill, baby, drill” is no solution to our energy problems, not by a long shot. Help us stand up to Big Oil today.

  35. büyütücü says:

    “Drill, baby, drill” is no solution to our energy problems, not by a long shot. Help us stand up to Big Oil today.

  36. azdırıcı says:

    think it showed the lack of vision and the hollowness of the current energy policy advocated by the right-wing party faithful of the GOP. It was truly frightening, but at least the mask is off.