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Friday, August 29, 2008

The Palin family's energy bona fides versus the Democrats' big talk

When Barack Obama or Nancy Pelosi religiously intone, yet again, with serene and bleak confidence that "We can't drill our way out of this," I can't help wondering if either of them could tell the difference at a glance between a drillbit, a pumpjack, a derrick, and a blowout preventer.

By contrast, for most of the last 20 years or so, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's husband Todd has worked on or around Alaska's North Slope with job titles like "production operator." Now, that's a very blue collar job that can involve getting one's hands very dirty, but it's a job in which requires serious training. Slow-witted folks are quickly separated from finger-tips or worse, and the equipment one uses can cost tens of millions to replace, if you can get a replacement at any price any time soon, which right now you probably can't.

Which is to say, I don't think the notion of drilling for oil and gas is nearly so hypothetical to the Palin family as it is to either Barack Obama or Nancy Pelosi. I'd place a large wager on the likelihood that the Palin family washer and drier combo has dealt with its share of grease and drilling mud over the years, whereas the Obama and Pelosi households have fewer challenging stains and, indeed, rely a lot on dry cleaning.

So when Barack Obama waves his hands in the air in front of his teleprompter and says that he's going to create five million "green-collar jobs" out of nowhere when he becomes president, I wouldn't blame the younger Palin children if they began to look around for the magic pony. I mean, if you have a magic pony who can ride over the rainbows, or maybe a unicorn, you can probably do that. If you actually want to keep gasoline in the retail pump stations, though — and no, that's not the same thing as a pumpjack — somebody needs to still be doing that blue-collar work.

And if you want to deal with the various regulatory agencies and energy companies and environmental groups and tax policy think-tanks and all the rest of that stuff — well, now you're talking the kind of job that falls within Gov. Palin's bailiwick. Indeed, she's had a striking series of legislative successes in her first two years as governor, accomplishing far more on energy policy than the U.S. Congress has in the last 10 years. Not empty promises — but actual results. Results that translate into tax revenues; results that translate into transparent and open free-market negotiations, with energy companies competing against one another for the chance to serve the public interest; results that will turn into actual drillbits and pumpjacks and derricks and blowout preventers and pipelines and compressor stations and oil tankers and offshore platforms and the whole nine yards.

A regular reader, a fellow west Texan, emailed me this link to a story in a newspaper from San Angelo, Texas, which notes that the extended Palin family has ties to Texas too: Sarah Palin's maternal uncle Michael Sheeran and his wife Billie moved there "from Washington state nine years ago. Billie Sheeran is a hospital inspector and Michael Sheeran is retired from the nuclear industry, where he was involved in fuel design and nuclear reactors." This doesn't surprise me.

And the San Angelo area is smack-dab in the booming Texas wind-energy corridor, as I discussed last summer after driving from Houston to my home-town past dozens of giant windmills, working and under construction. My guess is that Todd and Michael could probably take one of those apart and put it back together, too, and ditto for the broken pumpjack over in the next pasture.

I like practical people with real-world solutions, both on energy and other important stuff. We don't need pie in the sky, we need drill pipe in the ground (including the ANWR mud flats and the "ground" offshore) — plus some reactors on the ground and some windmills in the sky. I like people who've actually done stuff, because they usually have the best ideas about how to do more. I like people who understand that the government damn near never makes or discovers anything — that at best, it can facilitate private industry doing that, and then its most important role is usually to get the hell out of the way.

The Palin family strikes me as these kind of people. Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi do not.

Posted by Beldar at 10:16 PM in 2008 Election, Energy, McCain, Obama, Palin, Politics (2008) | Permalink


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(1) MartyH made the following comment | Aug 30, 2008 12:43:08 AM | Permalink

Palin can be McCain's point on offshore drilling when Congress returns. She can call out the Democrats on that, on ANWR-and do it eloquently with a depth and breadth of knowledge. She kills the Dems on energy.

(2) Mike made the following comment | Aug 30, 2008 3:05:06 AM | Permalink

Hi Bill,

Add me to the 57K, via Hugh Hewitt.

You must feel like one of those people who saw U2 back in 1978 in pub with three men and a dog.

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