Foreign Oil & Rob Portman
Rob Portman explained his solidly conservative positions against ObamaCare and cap-and-trade in this video interview outside of a fundraiser at the home of Jim Smail. Considering the leftist radicalism you will find among the two Democrat challengers, Lee Fisher and Jennifer Brunner, there is no doubt that Rob Portman is the only Ohio senatorial candidate remotely interested in shrinking government and unleashing America’s entrepreneurs to create the type of prosperity that statists could never legislate into existence.
However, maybe I’m just not patriotic enough, but what is with this “end our dependency on foreign oil” rhetoric of Portman, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, et cetera? No matter where oil is produced, prices are set by the global market and this is synchronized throughout the world by the global demand and ease of its transportation. Portman, as the former U.S. Trade Representative, certainly understands this.
The question asked of Portman by the reporter was framed as a question of “national security.” But if this is a debate of OPEC and geo-politics, the attempted 1973 oil embargo was a failure (it was so expensive that OPEC was forced to drop it after 2 months), and what American consumers saw was a result of President Carter’s price controls and panic. If OPEC can’t harm America collectively, individual nations who wish to cut off their oil production most certainly can’t.
And the rarely-mentioned flip-side of our dependence on foreign oil is their dependence on us buying it. Middle-east countries have economies largely based on oil, which gives the buyer more control and gives America vital political leverage by making it more expensive for irrational regimes to act irrationally. This isn’t a perfect equation, but its certainly more effective than supporting the impossible mission of having Americans try to produce and buy everything domestically.
While serving as a Congressman, Rob Portman, on Jun 26, 2000, voted against just about every conservative in the US House by supporting the bureaucratic implementation of some of the Kyoto Protocol. And he has a record of supporting inefficient ethanol. But he also supported drilling in ANWR, and voted against subsidizing those ugly, Malthusian hybrid cars. (Even though Rob bought one. Gag!)
So while his record as a conservative on energy is not spotless, Portman is certainly in support of an increase in sensible domestic drilling. But as a general principle, I think he should support new drilling, even if not a single drop of the increased production is actually used domestically.