Barack Obama campaigned in Elkhart today with the man many predict will join the Democratic ticket, Senator and former Governor Evan Bayh. Unfortunately, Bayh proved himself just as adept at energy policy and honesty as his party’s nominee, and a good deal less adept at turning a phrase:

During the primary, Bayh supported Hillary Clinton. On Wednesday, he was a cheerleader for Obama and attacked John McCain’s policy on drilling for oil.

“Senator McCain yesterday was saying that his solution to America’s energy challenge was to drill, drill drill. Well, that sounded a lot like my dentist to me. Look even Arnold Schwarznegger – the governator – who’s known for being a fairly straight shooter, says that drilling alone is not the answer to American’s energy challenge,” said Bayh.

“We need to give an energy rebate to families to give them some immediate relief. The mother who is having to cut back on groceries because of rising gas prices. The guy I met who couldn’t fill up his gas tank to go on a job search, didn’t have the money. I’ve said that we need a $1,000 rebate – energy rebate to provide families a little bit of relief over the next four to six months,” Obama said.

“Drill” sounds like the dentist?  Oh, Lord.  Do the Democrats think that’s funny to people paying $50 to fill their tanks, or paying skyrocketing prices on produce and other goods at the market?  If they only consider drilling in dental terms, then they need a mental root canal before being allowed anywhere near energy policy.

John McCain hasn’t said that drilling alone would solve America’s energy challenge.  His Lexington Project in fact argues exactly the opposite — and he wants to support a broad range of new energy supply sources, including clean coal, nuclear, and increased domestic production of oil.  McCain has managed to learn that “drill” has another context besides cleaning up cavities.  Maybe the Democrats should take the time to learn that as well, and in the meantime maybe Bayh should study a little more to see exactly what McCain proposes.  Maybe he’d even agree with McCain if he bothered to learn it.

Meanwhile, Obama continues to flog his rebate plan with the anecdote of the man who didn’t have enough gas in his tank to look for a job.  If Democrats had allowed drilling in the mid-90s when the Republicans proposed it, we’d be reaping the benefits now, and that man would have plenty of money to fill his tank.  If Obama and the Democrats would support it now, we’d have lots of new jobs here in the US available for that man instead of sending our wealth overseas.