Ready to Rule on Day One!

So says Valerie Jarrett, co-chair of Barack Obama’s transition team. Part of Obama’s “ruling” will be a quick succession of executive orders, news reports indicate. High on the list will be an order reversing President Bush’s order that cleared the way for expanded offshore drilling.

The price of gasoline and heating oil has dropped off the radar screen somewhat as a political issue, but blocking the development of domestic energy reserves is absurdly short-sighted. As soon as the economy rebounds, so will the price of petroleum, and the high cost of energy will brake the recovery that is sure to come in the next 12 months. The Democrats must know this, but to the victors go the spoils, and the Dems have little choice, apparently, but to reward the interest groups who financed their victory.

Still, poll data indicate that even most Democrats favor more offshore drilling, so Obama’s order will be a sop to the hard environmental left, not the Democratic base as a whole. Which explains why Obama will issue the order: in September, before the financial crisis took center stage and when John McCain was making energy a centerpiece of his campaign, Congressional Democrats let the statutory ban on offshore drilling expire.

By issuing an executive order banning development of this critical source of domestic energy, Obama will take the Democrats in Congress off the hook. They won’t have to take the blame for the economic havoc wreaked by their party’s fealty to the hysterical wing of the environmental movement. Obama figures, perhaps, that in four years no one will remember the implicit tax that he placed on everyone who drives a car, heats a home, or buys products in stores.

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