Oil doesn't come out of the ground just because it is needed. Oil and gas drilling rigs are leased for the most part by companies exploring for said product, and there are just so many rigs available. There are hundreds of oil and gas leases unexplored because the available rigs are booked up out over the horizon, and new rigs can only be made so fast. Leasing companies have gone through several boom and bust cycles and are skeptical of the durability of the current bubble's ability to support a large increase in business. The current batch of equipment suppliers survived the tough times in careers with a lot of rigs rusting in the marshaling yards. There's nothing like a billion dollars worth of equipment marking time to make an impression on a young oil man. Figures aren't available for China, but all their rigs are being used for their own production. The situation is even worse for offshore equipment. Across the northern tier of Western states there are leases galore waiting to be drilled, but have to wait for years before it can be done.
Bubble profiteers love a panic, and with an election pushing the issue we have a perfect storm in the making. Should Bush rescind his ban on offshore exploration and drilling, or the congress make leases available in the ANWR nothing is going to happen for at least three years, and nothing significant for ten. Does anyone really think the bubble will last that long?
It looks like we will have another whiz-bang governor's race this Fall. Attractive Republican candidate Dino Rossi lost last election by under two hundred votes after a manual recount. Close Close Close. 2008 brings a rematch and the State Republicans are determined to right the perceived wrong. The problem is that Governor Gregoir has been a competent governor, if not terribly inspiring. Rossi would have a hard time duplicating her success with meeting the state's needs and co-opting the Democratic Party's excesses in spending beyond the citizens' willingness to pay. I refuse to punish her for doing her job. Rossi would face a massive 2 to 1 Democratic party majority in the legislature, and would be unable to set the agenda, or control the state government. There is a lot of stuff to do in the next two years, especially on the transportation front, for State Government to degenerate into a poo flinging session. Perhaps 2010 will be better for them.
I won't bother to reiterate the old fable of the Scorpion and Frog, but let it be said that it is in the Republicans' nature to fly off into the nativist, racist dark tumor that lies just below their conservative skin. I say poke it with a pointy stick and stand back. Just a couple of Mexican flags at the Republican National Convention should be enough to get them to alienate a good 15% of the electorate. The Rs don't need any encouragement to snarl at Blacks or attack Moslem Americans. As a Mormon GOP Veep looks more and more likely, a simple statement by the D's VP candidate encouraging tolerance should be enough to get the fundamentalist snake handlers chomping at the bit.
For the purpose of this election the Republican brand name in Washington State is "inoperative". The conservatives have screwed the pooch so repeatedly and badly that nobody wants to be called a Republican anymore. The party formerly known as Republican is now the GOP. I suppose that they got tired of trying to rename the Democratic Party that they are giving it a whirl with their own minions. You will have a hard time finding a yard sign, at least for a statewide office that has "Republican" anywhere on it, and who can blame them. Gone are the days when the conservative's bogus "Contract With America" head fake gets any traction. The time when a flag burning amendment in October or a ban on gay marriage in September would bring out the true believers is past. The slogan "Tax and Spend Liberal" rings hollow when faced with the financial facts of 2008. Supporting the troops no longer means support for an idiot's war.
A brief history of the GOP if you would. An offshoot of the Whigs, the Republicans formed in the late 1850s to act as a Northern propertied class representative party in opposition to the Southern rural Democratic Party. The Republicans took on the moniker "Grand Old Party" after the civil war when "The Grand Old Flag" and "Grand Army of the Republic" were patriotic terms of the day. GOP was the Republican's first public relations lie, but not their last.
At the Republican State Convention the word "Republican" was a rare utterance, but they were knee deep in GOPs. The Republican's gubernatorial presumptive nominee refuses to utter the word in front of a microphone. Sad. The conservative wing of American politics has served a purpose in keeping us liberals honest, and I fear their credibility is so damaged that it will be at least a generation before they return as a political force.