Photo via Red, Green, Blue Blog
You remember it--how could you not? Those defeaning choruses of "Drill, Baby, Drill!" that defined so many campaign rallies a few months back. Its echo is still firmly resounding now--but some Republican leaders think it's time for a new slogan, and a new plan of attack in convincing the American public that there's still an urgent need for offshore drilling. In other words, they're gearing up for Drill, Baby, Drill, Round Two.Drilled Into Our Heads
But now that gas prices have fallen sharply from the $4 a gallon highs during the McCain campaign, it could be harder to galvanize supporters or win over new converts to the cause--especially coming off the heels of Obama's much publicized nods towards alternative energy measures in the stimulus.
Nonetheless, we can be sure to see an emphatic push for offshore drilling as both parties get ready to begin a new energy debate in coming months. And Obama has already drafted a tentative proposal for some offshore drilling. But don't expect to see the same motto--many Republicans feel that Drill, Baby, Drill has even damaged their cause. From Politico,
Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican who has been at the forefront of environmental issues, called the catchphrase "fun and catchy, but devoid of reality."
And certain Republican energy lobbyists had even harsher things to say:
"This year, everyone's thinking maybe they'll actually come up with grown-up things to say," said Republican energy lobbyist Michael McKenna, president of MWR Strategies. "'Drill, baby, drill' impeded the conversation. We energy guys hated it."
If Not Drill, Baby, Drill! Then What?
So if that slogan is officially retired, what's the next? Apparently, many have looked to the new RNC chairman Michael Steele to come up with another slogan. He's the one credited with using the phrase first, before Palin made it a staple of her stump speech. But so far, no mottos have come to the fore.
Another idea is reviving the "all of the above" approach in light of a more bipartisan political mood:
"One potential option includes putting new emphasis on an oldie but a goodie: "all of the above." House Republicans have been using the phrase for years, well before $4-a-gallon gas was a reality.
"A more accurate depiction of the Republican message is 'all of the above,' rather than 'drill, baby, drill,'" Lamborn told Politico. "It shows Republicans are sympathetic to the need for alternatives and renewables to be developed further but absolutely must not neglect conventional energy resources."
Good News for the Energy Debate?
Part of the reason that this has become an issue is that many believe the Democrats will attempt to reinstate the federal drilling moratorium that Congress allowed to expire last year (Bush lifted the executive ban on offshore drilling last summer). Also, some speculate that Republican leaders will push to open "still off-limits areas in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Florida, which are currently protected under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006."
But the unlikely return of Drill, Baby, Drill is good news--even if it's being reconsidered by some mainly for branding purposes. It means that even the most hard line supporters of the issue recognize that much of the public wants to see alternative options explored. Some Republicans will try to angle for more offshore drilling; it's inevitable. But perhaps round two will feature a different slogan: Compromise, Baby, Compromise.