by John Hawkins | March 17, 2005 6:22 am
If you’ve cruised the net over the last day or so, on the right or left, you can’t help but see ANWR, ANWR, ANWR everywhere. The 51-49 vote in the Senate to open drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is causing Liberal Democrats to gnash their teeth in grief and conservative Republicans to get more excited than the kid in that Numa Numa Dance video.
We can learn a lot about the priorities of conservatives and liberals by watching their reaction to ANWR.
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Conservatives are happy because they believe we’re about to start tapping into a major, new domestic source of oil even if it will take years to get the crude flowing out of the ground. That means new jobs for Americans who handle the drilling and build the pipeline to Alaska. It also means that we’re going to acquire more of the substance that powers our economy without having to pay out our money to less than friendly countries like Saudi Arabia & Venezuela. Best of all, the oil is in the absolute middle of nowhere, so we don’t have to inconvenience anyone to drill ANWR. To the right, developing ANWR is all upside, all positive, an idea that is so fantastic that they can hardly understand how any rational person could oppose it.
On the other hand, liberals are enraged that it looks like we may be drilling ANWR. Part of that is because of their free floating hostility to the oil industry, but their real beef is that ANWR is such a remote area. Conservatives may consider that a feature, but to liberals it’s a bug. The very fact that it’s a godforsaken region that almost no one visits makes it so rare and valuable to them that it’s worth leaving billions of dollars worth of oil in the ground and forsaking tens of thousands of jobs just in case someone wants to ever see what the boonies are like in the future. Oh, and we mustn’t forget, they claim that the pipelines, roads, oilmen and people going back and forth might — and I say might because this is heavily disputed — disturb the animals. The fact that you could make the exact same argument about every populated area in North America seems lost on them.
Now you tell me: who’s looking out for everyday Americans on this issue? Conservatives who want more jobs & oil for their fellow countrymen or liberals who are concerned about future back-packing trips for an infinitesimal percentage of the population and maybe happier caribou and polar bears, maybe not. That’s not a tough call…
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