Bill Richardson probably still has hopes of joining Barack Obama’s ticket as VP at the convention, but this appearance may take a little of the luster off of his potential. The former Secretary of Energy told Fox News that there is “nothing wrong” with drilling more oil on federal lands, although he left himself considerable wiggle room on ANWR and the OCS:
“I mean, why do you have to drill everywhere?” Well, no, but as Richardson says, we have to start drilling in more places than we do now. He comes close to the McCain position by promoting increased domestic drilling as a parallel to enhanced investment in developing alternative fuels. That departs from Obamadoxy on energy policy, which rather resolutely opposes any new drilling.Richardson also opposes corn-based ethanol as a long-term solution. That may not set well with Obama’s corn-based ethanol lobbyists on the campaign, which have Obama locked into support for subsidies and tariffs for competing alcohol fuels. Richardson criticizes the efforts to turn food into fuel, which has put inflationary pressure on food and contributed to shortages around the world.
The governor manages to extend the distortion on federal leases. While it’s true that drilling hasn’t happened on many leases, that’s because they either can’t find oil on them, can’t get the oil they can find in a cost-efficient manner, or are still exploring the potential of these leases. The oil companies have plenty of resources to extend their efforts to new leases, which would eat up some of the so-called “windfall” profits that Democrats oppose in a much more productive manner than heavy taxation.
Given that energy will undoubtedly remain a key issue in the campaign, can Richardson possibly partner with Obama while holding such widely divergent views? And will Richardson’s more moderate and reasonable approach to energy policy undermine the Obamadoxy on energy — and possibly portend another flip-flop from Obama?
Update: Here’s a longer version of the interview from Fox, which touches on whether Richardson wants the VP slot (he says he’ll take it if offered) and a little more insistence that we have to start drilling now. The Fox clip caption says he talks about Obama’s ties to corn-based ethanol producers, but I haven’t caught that yet: