Surprise: Schwarzenegger flips, pulls support for California offshore drilling

Oh well. It’s not like California needs the revenue.

The announcement assures that no new drilling will take place off the state’s coastline in the foreseeable future because Schwarzenegger would have to include the drilling proposal in his May revision of the state budget.

Speaking at a news conference near Sacramento, the governor said television images of the oil spill in the Gulf have changed his mind about the safety of ocean-based oil platforms.

“You turn on the television and see this enormous disaster, you say to yourself, ‘Why would we want to take on that kind of risk?'” Schwarzenegger said…

“If I have a choice to make up $100 million and what I see in Gulf of Mexico, I’d rather find a way to make up that $100 million.”

Translation: “Think of the otters.” You know what’s most amazing about this? He didn’t even bother with an analytical fig leaf. It’d be one thing if he’d said, “In light of the BP disaster, we’ve undertaken a new study of the probability of similar accidents happening offshore here and the potential economic damage incurred, and it turns out it’s simply not cost-effective.” Granted, that would have looked weak-willed and opportunistic too, but at least there’d be hard numbers to toss back at his critics. Instead, we’ve got policy decisions being formed based on his visceral reaction to watching the oil wash ashore in Louisiana. For two years he’s pushed this project, and it took two days of live shots to change his mind. Either he didn’t do his homework about spill risk in the first place or he’s every inch the irresolute “girly man” he likes to accuse Democrats of being. And of course, by doing this, he’s handing the left “bipartisan” political cover to shut down drilling — even though, being term-limited, there’s no electoral reason for him to do so. What a shame that he can’t run for president like he desperately wants to do, huh?

I haven’t been this annoyed since last week’s Charlie Crist press conference. Speaking of which…