Democracy Has Prevailed.

June 22, 2008

Jack Kelly Sunday

While the AP is reporting that Senator John McCain's campaign has been "hampered by missteps," our own Jack Kelly points out the three signposts that point the way to a McCain landslide (yes, he used the word "landslide") in November. He quickly adds that it's an "unlikely event" that McCain will heed them.

No bother, let's take a look at these signposts.

One - the cost of energy. Kelly's solution, of course is to drill for more oil (off the coasts of Florida and California and in ANWR) and to build more nuclear power plants.

I do want to go on record saying that Jack Kelly calls John McCain a flip-flopper. Take a look:
Now that John McCain has flip- flopped on drilling off of our coasts, there is a substantial difference between him and Mr. Obama on the issue.
John McCain's a flip-flopper. Jack Kelly sez so.

Anyway back to the signpost:
Opinion polls indicate a large majority now supports drilling for oil off our coasts and in Alaska. That majority is likely to expand and harden as gas prices rise yet higher this summer. But Mr. McCain can't fully capitalize politically on this change in public attitude unless he completes his flip-flop and consents to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Here's where Jack gets into some trouble. The opinion poll mentioned is probably Gallup. In answser to the question:

Please say whether you would favor or oppose taking each of the following steps to attempt to reduce the price of gasoline. How about: Allowing oil drilling in U.S. coastal and wilderness areas now off-limits to oil exploration.

57% favored, 41% opposed, and 2% had no opinion.

However (and this is the trouble for Jack) in the same press release, Gallup points out that last March when asked specifically about drilling in ANWR the numbers are a teensy bit different. In response to the question:
Do you think the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska should or should not be opened up for oil exploration?
52% said no and 43% said yes.

See the problem? Gallup does point out a few things:
The differences in the responses to the broad May question and the earlier question focused specifically on ANWR could reflect the difference in the wording and could also reflect the difference in time frame. The May question asked about "coastal and wilderness areas now off-limits to oil exploration" while the March question was more specifically targeted to ANWR. Furthermore, there is a two-month difference in the timing of the questions. The price of gas has risen in a seemingly inexorable fashion even in this short time period, suggesting the possibility that attitudes may have changed concomitantly.
The point being, of course, that based on Gallup's numbers there's no way to tell whether at this point opinion polls show support for oil exploration in ANWR. And yet Jack Kelly writes that because a majority support exploration in previously off-limits areas, John McCain should push to open up ANWR.

Sneaky, our friend Jack is.

But let's say ANWR is opened up. What then? This is from the Energy Information Administration ("The Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government"):
The opening of the ANWR 1002 Area to oil and natural gas development is projected to increase domestic crude oil production starting in 2018. In the mean ANWR oil resource case, additional oil production resulting from the opening of ANWR reaches 780,000 barrels per day in 2027 and then declines to 710,000 barrels per day in 2030. In the low and high ANWR oil resource cases, additional oil production resulting from the opening of ANWR peaks in 2028 at 510,000 and 1.45 million barrels per day, respectively. Between 2018 and 2030, cumulative additional oil production is 2.6 billion barrels for the mean oil resource case, while the low and high resource cases project a cumulative additional oil production of 1.9 and 4.3 billion barrels, respectively.

So production will begin ten years from now and will peak ten years later. Depending on which estimate comes closest, it will add between 1.9 billion and 4.3 billion barrels of oil over those 12 years (and remember this is ten years from now). According (again) to the EIA, the US consumes 20 million barrels a day - now. Adding 800,000 barrels per day 10 years from now won't do much.

And as for off-shore drilling according to the same EIA:
The projections in the OCS access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030.
Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant.
It would be a HUGE boon to the oil companies' profit margins. Anyway to help those guys out, you know.

At this point the column really runs out of gas. My guess (and it's just a guess) is that he really wanted the entire column to be on the first signpost, but couldn't find enough material. So he had to add the follow (quite weak) arguments.

Sign post two - Foreign affairs. Jack writes:
The second sign post is Mr. Obama's clumsy embrace of a Sept. 10 attitude toward the war on terror. The law enforcement approach toward fighting it is precisely what led to Sept. 11, 2001. Fortunately, national security is the one issue Mr. McCain knows something about. The danger for him here is that he'll overemphasize it. The fact that we're winning the war on terror makes most Americans less interested in it, and more focused on economic concerns. Voter anxiety about Mr. Obama's fitness to be commander-in-chief is a strong subsidiary issue. But this election will be won or lost at the gas pump.
As for McCain's expertise on foreign affairs, I'll point you to The Nation this week:
Given this all but unchallenged media narrative, it can be an astounding experience to scrutinize McCain's record of judgment in the harsh light of history. For instance, before the Bush Administration embarked on its disastrous course in Iraq, McCain promised that a successful US invasion would "serve as a counterpoint to the state-directed Arab media's distortion of the Palestinian conflict." He told CNN viewers on September 12, 2002, that he was "very certain that this military engagement will not be very difficult" and, a month later, that "success will be fairly easy." When asked by Chris Matthews in March 2003 whether the Iraqis would treat Americans as liberators, McCain answered, "Absolutely, absolutely." In light of these and other such predictions, it is difficult to imagine just what the editors of the Washington Post were thinking when they instructed readers, "Whatever your position on the war, then or now, Mr. McCain deserves credit for foresight and consistency about how the war should have been waged."[emphasis added]
Some expertise. The Nation also points out some other mistakes by this foreign policy expert:
"As you know, there are Al Qaeda operatives that are taken back into Iran, given training as leaders, and they're moving back into Iraq." As media scholar Jay Rosen pointed out, McCain made this false claim four times, although Gen. David Petraeus had refuted it.
McCain also recently misstated the number of US troops in Iraq, saying on May 29 that "we have drawn down to pre-surge levels." The military, in fact, is two full brigades above the pre-surge levels.
Again, some expertise.

Signpost three. Now this one is confusing. Jack writes:

The third sign post was illuminated by the flap over the receipt by the (now former) head of Mr. Obama's vice presidential selection committee and two prominent U.S. senators of below-market-rate loans from Countrywide Financial Corp., which Mr. Obama has charged is in large part responsible for the subprime mortgage crisis. One of those senators, Chris Dodd of Connecticut, is trying to push through Congress a bill that would, in effect, bail out Countrywide.

This glaring conflict of interest hasn't attracted much attention from the news media because for most journalists a scandal isn't really a scandal unless Republicans are involved.

Let's see. Johnson is already gone and Dodd isn't running for President. So the conflict of interest is...where? I truly love that last sentence. I guess Jack missed the media's coverage of Jeremiah Wright (while largely ignoring Reverend Hagee) and Michelle Obama's lack of pride in the country (while ignoring both Laura Bush's comments and John McCain's own lack of love for the nation until he became a POW.

Yea, the media only covers scandals when Republicans are involved.

What newspaper is Jack Kelly reading??


Anonymous said...

John K.: "yawn" got any more polls. Like the one that says congress has an 18.3% approval. And the fact that your local Democratic chairman lied on KDKA this AM by saying The President has a 22% approval till he was politely corrected by Stacy Smith. The President has a 28% approval. Jim Burn runs false polls and tries to slip them by, why not you guys.

Anonymous said...

Wow, John.

You're right. What an outright lie!

And I mean really - a 28% approval is so much better than a 22%.

Nice going catching that out right lie.

Anonymous said...

Congress may have an 18% approval rating, but the vast majority still want Democrats to control both houses.

The problem with this off-shore drilling is much the same as the gas tax holiday gimmick. We could start drilling today and it will be another decade before we can start using that oil. Not so much a solution as it is a short-term boon to the oil companies.

Typical Republican fluff...sounds appealing but doesn't do anything to address the fundamental issues regarding our energy situation.

Anonymous said...

KGC says..

jaywillie.. Swing. And a Miss. By your logic, since there is no mass-available alternative combustion engine today and it may take at least 10 years (or more or never) to get such an alternative, then we should not try.

Better luck next time. Please pick your prize from the bottom row.

Anonymous said...

Uh, sorry KGC I checked with the judges and they over-ruled you.

Since the off-shore drilling/ANWR plans are being touted as solutions to our nation's IMMEDIATE problems, the fact that they won't have any significant effect for decades would seem to negate their IMMEDIATE usefulness.

Thanks for playing, you'll get a gift certificate on your way out the door.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Anon 6:58. Precisely my point - it's being touted as an immediate fix when it has no immediate benefits. should try not putting words into a person's mouth...I actually had thought about mentioning the current course that GM has taken and noting that as the kind of mindset we will need to find a solution to this. GM has decided to pursue not what they can do, but what they want to do; so their going full ahead with a new electric car and hoping that the technology of batterie's for those types of vehicles catches up.

To me, that's a responsible corporation recongnizing a changing market and the need for it to change as a company to survive.

Whereas the gimmicks that the Republicans have offered so far are not made with the best interest of the country in mind.

If we have an addiction to oil, it certainly doesn't make much sense to continue to enable that addiction.

Anonymous said...

Please forgive my ignorance... but who is Jack Kelly? I read about him every week on this blog, but I am not familiar with him. I suppose I could do a web search-- but if some kind soul wouldn't mind filling me in, I'd appreciate it.


Anonymous said...

Jack Kelly is one of the two conservative columnists at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (the other being Ruth Ann Dailey).

EdHeath said...

You know, if John McCain is elected, by some chance, and does open these areas to drilling (coastal areas and the ANWR) by Executive Order or something, what happens when the price of gas doesn't move? Or are the "speculators" going to drop the price just because there might be more oil in the system in ten or more years?

And KGC, obviously we should try to develop a "mass-available alternative combustion engine", since the price of oil is so high. Even if it is not available for ten years. Oh wait, Honda is .

Anonymous said...

John K. : Yep 28% is better than 22%. Especially when the 22% was an outright lie designed to deceive people. And made by the Head of Democrats in Allegheny County. Which of course supports my point, the Democrats around here will say anything necessary. So (yawn) run another poll. LMAO

Anonymous said...

Put down the crack pipe, John, and slowly back away.

Anonymous said...

Some facts to help cut through all the spin:

1. There are currently 44 million acres offshore leased for drilling. However only 10 million are "in production" at this time. The main reasons why there is no drilling on the remaining 34 million acres are a) a shortage of necessary equipment--particularly drill bits and b) a shortage of experienced personnel to do the work.

2. There is no "ban" on offshore drilling. What currently exists at the Federal level is a moratorium on any new leases for offshore drilling. There are bans at the state level (e.g., California and Florida) however state authority only extends out 3 miles from shore, beyond the 3 mile point, the Federal government is the controlling authority.

3. Onshore there are currently 47.5 million acres of Federal land leased for energy exploration but the energy companies are using only 13 million acres.

4. If the energy companies used the existing permits on the 68 million combined on- and offshore federal lands, they would nearly double current domestic oil production and increase production of natural gas by 75 percent.

5. If the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) were opened for drilling, it would take at 8-10 years before any oil is produced and the net effect on the price of oil would be a reduction of only a few pennies.

(Source: The Truth About America's Energy: a report produced by the House Committee on Natural Resources)

The brouhaha over ANWR has nothing to do with domestic energy production and everything to do with the right-wing trying to get a political victory over environmental groups.

Anonymous said...

Hey John K, instead of "LMAO", try closing your tags before you post.

Anonymous said...

John K.: Why are we working on alternative energy sources? They won't lower the price of gas in the next few months. Why plant corn? It won't lower the price of gas next week. See how dumb the left is when you use their own logic against them. LMAO

Anonymous said...

John K is right, for once. All alternate sources are in the future. I drive 78 miles daily. Dropped my speed to 55 and got a "back off" bumper sticker and walk more wthin a mile radius. Also, never had a guzzler. We all have to take steps similar. My son and husband make their own fuel from grease, given freely by the restaurants. Smells like french fries and chicken, so they stop and eat more. Now I have an obesity crisis. Wadda ya gonna do?

Anonymous said...

John K is right, for once. All alternate sources are in the future.

So because alternate energy sources aren't immediately available we shouldn't work on them???? That's like saying that because a cure for cancer won't be available tomorrow, they shouldn't bother doing any cancer research.

It's not an "either/or" choice. Improving the efficiency of existing energy sources and developing alternate energy sources are both important.

The Bush/McCain solution is "drill drill drill" and maybe the problem will go away long enough that they can dump it on the next generation. Considering how many former CEO's there are in the Republican "leadership", it's mind-boggling how badly they stink at strategic planning.

Anonymous said...

It's not an "either/or" choice. Improving the efficiency of existing energy sources and developing alternate energy sources are both important.

Of course this s correct, but we will always need oil and having our own supply seems a great advantage. Ths country was built on oil and the loss of our refineries has been devistating to us. Especially Pa. We should have seen this coming 20 years ago.

jimmy_the_freak said...

This is funny, I checked the rasmussen link and it clearly states:

"Congress has not received higher than a 15% approval rating since the beginning of 2008."

So according to Rasmussen the highest possible rating for Congress since the beginning of 2008 is 14%.

Seeing as how you pulled other statments out of this press release, you have obviously chosen to just ignore the statements that don't support your view.

jimmy_the_freak said...

By the way, If you beleive even half of what most politicians tell you, then I have some real estate I would like to sell you. :)