Gov. Charlie Crist has dropped his long-standing support for the federal government's moratorium on offshore oil drilling and endorsed Sen. John McCain's proposal to let states decide.I can't say I don't welcome the change in position as we need more leaders to understand that we need domestic oil production to increase.
The governor said he reversed his position because of rising fuel prices and states' rights. Crist is considered a possible running mate for McCain, the Republican presidential nominee.
'I mean, let's face it, the price of gas has gone through the roof, and Florida families are suffering,' Crist said Tuesday. 'And my heart bleeds for them.'
Democrats immediately pounced on McCain's proposal, saying countries that allow offshore drilling have even higher prices and that oil companies don't need more offshore drilling areas because they have failed to fully exploit their current leases.
Last year, Crist had urged federal lawmakers to reject legislation, which they did, that would have allowed drilling as close as 45 miles off Florida's beaches. He also supported the moratorium during his 2006 campaign for governor.
The Democratic reaction cracks me up though. The current offshore drilling leases may not be fully used up, but they are also not providing very much oil either and there is nothing wrong with new leases being issued for new areas.
Second, the reason why countries that allow offshore drilling have such high fuel prices have absolutely nothing to do with offshore drilling and everything to do with high fuel taxes and different supply/demand structures.
Thus, the Democratic response is simply a choice non-sequiter. They can't really attack Crist's change in position (yet) because it still allows for a measure that would allow the environmental nuts to stop drilling by lobbying at the state level, but Democrats are starting to realize that drilling is going to have to happen if we are ever going to see a stop in the spiral of increasing gas prices.