I recall sitting on the sofa watching the 2008 GOP convention and hearing the intoxicating refrain “Drill Baby Drill”. It was like the sensation of sitting in the dentist chair with my brainstem bathed in cool nitrous oxide vapors and face numbed with lidocaine.  I found myself tumbling head over heals in a mild, drooling, narco-twilight state while my twitching eyeballs attempted to focus on McCain.  My fellow citizens had drummed themselves into an enchanted war dance and gathered to hear Colonel Kurtz, but without the banana leaves.

Then I snapped out of it.  Drill baby drill. This was not just a work order or a requisition for drilling staff to please set up a few drilling rigs in the morning. This was an exhortation to rip those smirking tree huggers from their stations, pulp the trees to make a paper dunce cap for Pelosi, and call in the Air Force to oversee saturation drilling of the continental shelves, and do it pronto!

“Drill baby drill ” was a catch phrase along the lines of “Damn the torpedoes! ” or “somebody get a rope! ” Its conception and use was a masterful bit of applied propaganda- A figurative running of the liberals out of town on a rail.

But what was lost in the excitement were the pragmatics of oil production. You need to boost refinery capacity to increase the supply of refined fuels.  And, what oil company is going to attempt to flood the market in a bid to drive down oil prices? What oil company is going to step in and provide cheaper crude to US refiners so that they can, dutifully, distribute cheaper gasoline when the global market price is so high? Only the dumb ones. Do they think that Santa Claus runs Exxon?

I thought GOP’ers were market savvy, laissez faire devotees swingin’ the big stick of Ronnie Reagan tough love? What has happened to these people?

Seems to me that oil in the ground is like money in the bank. Why are we so anxious to deplete North America of its supply??  What about pulling back on demand to counter the high prices? That is the one big stick that consumers have in the market.

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