NJ: Say, why hasn't President Obama visited North Dakota?

Every time the White House feels like making one of their umpteenth “economic pivots,” President Obama makes it his business to campaign tour around the country and give a grandiose speech promoting his Keynesianish policies for economic growth, often in a specific location in which he can tout jobs or technical innovation as evidence of how well he understands economics and can prescribe the best solutions for the country at large. Earlier this summer, for instance, Obama stood front and center in an Amazon.com distribution plant in Tennessee, shortly after Amazon announced they were going on a major hiring kick (much to the chagrin of certain locals, I might add).

So… why hasn’t President Obama bothered to use North Dakota as a backdrop for one of his life-changing displays of elocution? North Dakota, after all, has the lowest unemployment rate in the entire country at just about three percent and is raking in the revenue — clearly they’re doing something right, yet President Obama hasn’t visited the state a single time since the 2008 campaign.

Could it be that overwhelming reason behind North Dakota’s relative success doesn’t quite jibe with President Obama’s visions for economic growth, and he’s reluctant to draw too much attention to the area? National Journal seems to have noticed:

North Dakota is like an overachieving child who attracts the attention of everyone—except Dad.

The oil boom taking over western North Dakota and transforming America’s energy landscape has prompted visits from people around the world—Germany, Turkey, Japan, Dubai, and elsewhere—to see what they can learn and how they can benefit. …

“He said he wouldn’t come in the winter,” Heitkamp told National Journal while driving outside of Dickinson, a town of about 20,000 people on the edge of the oil patch. “That’s as much of a commitment—I think it’s really important for him to take a look,” said Heitkamp, changing her thought mid-sentence.

North Dakota is at the heart of America’s oil and natural gas boom. The state, thanks to two deep underground shale-rock formations called Bakken and Three Forks, produced more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day in June, roughly 10 percent of the country’s overall daily oil production and an all-time record for the state. North Dakota has surpassed both California and Alaska to become the second-highest oil-producing state in the country, behind Texas.

While the Obama administration has no choice but to begrudgingly include the oil sector in their ostensible “all of the above” energy plan, and they’re eager to point to natural gas as a “bridge fuel” with which we can hold ourselves over until their “investments” in what they’ve decided are better forms of energy start to bear fruit, their long-term plans for the drilling permits are conspicuously underwhelming. Energy companies and lawmakers are actively asking them to change that, but the administration has no plans to budge, and meanwhile, Obama needs to keep his self-fancied environmentalist contingent appeased. Such a sticky wicket, isn’t it?

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David Strom 6:41 PM on January 26, 2023