John McCain: Childish and Dishonest

03 August 2008

The country is currently $9 trillion in debt. 47 million people lack basic health care insurance. We're fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We're dependent on oil for our transportation, and at the mercy of changes in the globally-set price per barrel. The ideological balance of the Supreme Court could radically change direction in the next four years, depending on who replaces the next Justice to step aside. American tax policies will come up for debate and revision in the year 2010.

So now we have a Presidential election, where we're supposed to decide who is best equipped to handle these problems. In a well-functioning democracy, both candidates should be explaining these problems to the American voters, and explaining why their solutions would make things better (or how their opponent's solutions would make things worse).

So what does John McCain do with his national platform? He does this:

That's right. McCain just photoshopped Obama's face onto a woman's body.

But it's not just that. He's also put out advertisements like this one, trying to breed resentment in the Spanish-speaking community for not mentioning Latin American countries in his Germany speech:

Most famously, McCain also put out an ad comparing Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears:

You'll notice that in the last ad (the Britney one), McCain finally at least mentions some policy concerns. However, even this is filled with falsehood and stupidity. According to the non-partisan Annenberg Political Fact Check:

McCain's new ad claims that Obama "says he'll raise taxes on electricity."
That's false. Obama says no such thing.

As I've previously written, the offshore drilling argument is bogus as well. If we were to open the outer-continental shelf to drilling leases, it would only result in about 200,000 barrels of oil per day going onto a world market that currently consumes approximately 85 million barrels per day. And not even that would happen until peak production (which the Department of Energy estimates as sometime around the year 2030). That amounts to a savings of pennies per gallon that is decades into the future.

The offshore drilling argument plays off of two easily-made misunderstandings. The first is that the oil drilled here would stay here. It wouldn't. That oil would not belong to the United States - it would belong to Exxon or Shell or Unocal, and they would sell it onto the world market. The oil would not be "ours" (unless McCain intends on nationalizing our oil supplies like Venezuela - which I'm certain he doesn't) and it would not make "us" energy independent. McCain's ad implies that offshore drilling would lead to independence from foreign oil. It most certainly would not, and McCain is simply lying by saying that it would.

The second major misunderstanding is that the oil recovered from the outer-continental shelf would result in lower gas prices. McCain himself straight-out lied when he said this: "Lifting that ban could seriously lower the price of oil — and Congress should get it done immediately. We need to drill more, drill now, and pay less at the pump."

McCain is 100% wrong on this. According to the Department of Energy, drilling on the outer-continental shelf would only result in about 200,000 extra barrels of oil per day at peak production somewhere around the year 2030. The world market today consumes about 85 million barrels per day (imagine what that number will be in 2030, when China and India expand their demand). This would quite literally result in a savings of mere pennies per gallon. That does not "seriously" reduce anything.

But even that scenario is overly-optimistic. The 200,000 figure assumes that all of the land would be available for drilling. However, even if the federal restrictions were eased, the state of California still wouldn't allow drilling off their coast. Their governor, legislature and voters are all pretty solidly against it. That means that approximately half of the 200,000 wouldn't actually be drilled in reality. In addition to that, the companies that finally do get the leases already have more accessible oil under land that has already been opened for leasing. They're not going to drill on the harder-to-get oil under the outer-continental shelf until they first drill in the bigger and easier to reach areas they already have under lease.

What we have here is the McCain campaign using lies and schoolyard taunts to scare up votes. It's really beneath the dignity of a potential President.
UPDATE: Not surprisingly, McCain has seen a significant upswing in oil & gas contributions since he started lying about offshore drilling:
UPDATE II: This isn't anything new for McCain, either. He also lied his ass off about Mitt Romney during the Republican primaries too. Specifically, McCain lied about Romney's positions on the war right before the Florida primaries. When I was watching the debates, this was the moment when it really hit home that McCain was both childish and dishonest (and ignorant):


Joe said...

yes, McCain is awful. But have you considered that this strategy might effectively court the votes of the uneducated, ignorant Americans that make up the majority of this country?
Dastardly, abominable, but perhaps the man has some insight into the minds that are festering outside major cities and educational institutions in the USA, people that will no doubt vote.

He knows he won't win the educated vote.

Samuel Brainsample said...

It's really sad but true. The most maddening thing is that we don't have a better press corps to actually debunk these things.