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‘Oil Rigs Don’t Cause Spills’

In his column for yesterday’s New York Times, Frank Rich notes that Obama has never apologized for nor explained a statement he made in April that “oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills.”

As you may have guessed, Obama’s made the comments in the wake of his March 30 announcement of plans to expand offshore drilling. Of course, Obama’s decision to expand offshore drilling was heavily criticized — and rightfully so — by environmentalists and proponents of clean energy.

During a Q&A session given on April 2, Pres. Obama responded to a questioner’s concerns about drilling. Here is, what I believe to be, the most telling part of Obama’s response:

Now, here’s the last thing I’ll say about drilling, though, because what you have is, you have some environmentalists who just said, don’t drill anywhere; and then you’ve got some of my friends on the Republican side who were saying, well, this is a nice first step but it’s not enough — you should open up everything.

I don’t agree with the notion that we shouldn’t do anything. It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills. They are technologically very advanced.

Seagull covered with oil.
Don’t worry, oil rigs are technologically advanced.

The first paragraph is a classic example of what frustrates liberals most about Obama: his infatuation with positioning himself in the ‘post-partisan’ center (as if such a thing really exists).

Obama carefuly crafted his response so it would seem like he is taking the sensible middle ground.  In the Obama narrative, you have the extreme environmentalists on the left who oppose drilling, and his “Republican friends” on the right who want to drill everywhere.

By coming out in favor of expanding offshore drilling, Obama adopted a Republican position and gave a poke in the eye to those radical environmentalists on the left.  One could reasonably suspect that the move was nothing more than a calculated attempt to drift to the political ‘center.’

Portraying the role of the pragmatic centrist, President Obama publicly assured us that the concerns of those anti-drilling environmentalists were without merit, because “It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don’t cause spills. They are technologically very advanced.”

Well, Mr. President, it turns out those environmentalists that you tried to disassociate yourself from weren’t so radical after all.