With political pundits dubbing Nevada a "battleground" in the presidential race, those of us in the Silver State can expect to see lots of campaign ads from both Barack Obama and John McCain leading up to the November general election. In order to help you sift through the cheesy music, majestic images, and less than subtle innuendo the Las Vegas Weekly will break down various campaign ads from both candidates.
Today, we take a look at a McCain ad focusing on his plan to lower gas prices, and in the next installment of the series we examine Obama's response:
"Pump" –- by John McCain 2008
While Obama was touring the Middle East and Europe, McCain released this ad blaming him for high gas prices:
Poor timing since, as I'm sure anyone with a gas-powered vehicle has noticed, fuel prices in the area and across the country have been creeping downward the last few weeks. The average in Las Vegas for regular unleaded dipped below $4 last week.
"Gas prices $4, $5 no end in sight. Because some in Washington are still saying no to drilling in America. No to independence from foreign oil.
Who can you thank for rising prices at the pump?
Chanting: O-ba-ma O-ba-ma O-ba-ma
One man knows we must now drill more in America and rescue our family budgets. Don't hope for more energy, Vote for it. McCain
I'm John McCain and I approve this message."
The kicker: "Don't hope for more energy, vote for it," is a clear attempt to contrast McCain's experience and image as a no-nonsense politician willing to tell it like it is, with Obama's inexperience and optimism.
First of all, trying to blame Obama, a first-term senator, for record gas prices is a little far-fetched. Next thing you know McCain will claim violence in Afghanistan and a health care system on life support are Obama's fault, too. "Pssst … Obama put salmonella in your tomatoes."
McCain has called for the suspension of the 18.4-cent-a-gallon federal gas tax and 24.4-cent-a-gallon diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The McCain campaign has said the lost revenue would be paid for by money from the general fund. And this is a good idea, why? This does nothing to reduce oil consumption, and will have the double impact of cutting U.S. tax revenue while draining government coffers. Doesn't seem like a good idea while the U.S. is running the largest deficit in history.
McCain also believes the federal government should lift restrictions on offshore drilling and provide incentives to states permitting offshore exploration. He has said he is against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but has recently wavered on his commitment to the ban.
Bill Nelson, Florida's Democratic senator, noted that U.S. oil companies already control large tracts of land in the Gulf of Mexico where they have not yet begun testing for future drilling.
"The fact is, the industry should be sinking wells in areas already under lease, before demanding control of millions of new acres or destroying long-protected lands," Nelson said in a statement after Bush lifted the Presidential ban on offshore drilling on July 14, something McCain supported.
A congressional ban on offshore drilling is still in place.
McCain's support for offshore drilling is, in a word, ignorant. In the grand scheme, the restricted offshore areas don't have that much oil. It would take a decade for us to actually see a drop of oil from those areas. So drilling for oil in these restricted areas will do absolutely nothing for people struggling to fill their tanks now, and could cause irreparable environmental damage.
Even when oil from these fields starts hitting the markets and reaches peak production levels, it still isn't likely to have a visible impact. The Energy Information Agency (EIA) projects that if we open up offshore drilling now, we could reach peak production of 200,000 barrels a day by 2030.