McCain Pander on Drilling Disappoints

His oil plan is economically daft and politically naive
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2008 8:30 AM CDT
An offshore oil installation. John McCain's endorsement of offshore drilling represents an about-face for the candidate.   (AP Photo/Shell ho)
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(Newser) – It's nothing new for the Bush administration to blame environmentalists for energy shortages, writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times. As early as 2001, Dick Cheney blamed green laws rather than rapacious energy companies for the California electricity shortage. But it's disappointing that John McCain has joined the bandwagon—especially as he, unlike Barack Obama, voted against Bush's "really terrible, special-interest-driven" 2005 energy bill.

McCain's reputation as a maverick is overstated, Krugman says, but on environmental issues the Arizona senator had shown some admirable independence. All that has been washed away with his endorsement of offshore drilling, which no serious economist or scientist thinks will put a dent in gas prices. All he's done, writes the columnist, is tie himself closer still to "the most unpopular president on record."