In the Energy Debate between Palin and Obama...Obama Lost

Ben Voth, communications professor and director of debate at SMU's Meadows School of the Arts, writes about the energy debate between President Obama and former Alaska gov. Sarah Palin.

By Ben Voth

"You  know we can't just drill our way to lower gas prices. If we're going to take control of our energy future, and can start avoiding these annual gas price spikes that happen every year when the economy starts getting better, world demand starts increasing, turmoil in the Middle East or some other parts of the world, if we're going to stop being at the mercy of these world events, then we need a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy - oil, gas, wind, solar, and nuclear, and biofuels, and more."

President Obama made these remarks in February of 2012 at the University of Miami.  The President was criticizing the longstanding argument of political rival Sarah Palin, who urges the nation to "drill, baby, drill."

Palin expounded on these sentiments in 2010:

"Although the Left chooses to mock the mantra of "drill, baby, drill," and they ignorantly argue against the facts pertaining to the need for America to responsibly develop her domestic supply of natural resources, surely they can't argue the national security implications of relying on foreign countries to extract supplies that America desperately needs for industry, jobs, and security. Some of the countries we're now reliant upon and will soon be beholden to can easily use energy and mineral supplies as a weapon against us."

In 2011, in an interview with the CBS affiliate WTKR in Hampton Roads, Virginia, the president contradicted his own remarks suggesting that oil prices cannot be lowered by arguing:

"We're talking to oil producers around the world and letting them know it's in their interest to make sure that high oil prices don't end up hurting the world economy."

Of course, in this case, anyone can increase drilling and lower oil prices -- as long as it is not the United States.  In fact, while tightening the moratorium on the U.S. Gulf of Mexico drilling, the federal government provided money for foreign governments to use the same deep drilling techniques in South America to increase global oil supplies.  The rhetorical license the Obama administration has to take all sides of this debate is an important political advantage....

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