It's not just a matter of convenient or cheaper fuel. It's a question of national security.
Russian strongman Vladimir Putin's energy policy is clear: He wants all of it, and he wants his country to use it as a lever. Ask Europe. Or the animals of the arctic, where Putin has planted his flag and claimed the land and resources for Mother Russia.
Then there's China, which isn't shy about drilling off the coast of the United States for its energy -- which it is, in Cuban waters some 50 miles from the Florida Keys.
"China is trying to lock up resources around the world, and they are locking up resources in our own backyard where we can't even compete and play ball," Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel .
Energy will dictate the future. Countries that control it will control many other things. Energy, as much as military might, will dictate whether one is a superpower or an also-ran.
The Democratic approach is to simply oppose energy expansion. Shooting down everyone else's ideas is not a substitute for having your own policy. Democrats will increasingly find themselves behind the curve -- dangerously so -- if they continue to blindly oppose every traditional form of energy known to man.
Having said that, drilling alone isn't enough. It's a knee-jerk reaction, not a policy.
Even if President Bush somehow makes the Democratic leaders in Congress see the light -- and what it takes to keep it burning -- the country needs a more comprehensive energy policy than just offshore drilling.
We need a Manhattan Project-style program for alternative energy sources, particularly for transportation. We need to encourage the development of more hybrid, electric or hydrogen-fueled vehicles. We need to accelerate development of nuclear energy, which we haven't done for 30 years.
We need all that and more in our national energy policy.
Drilling and refining are just the start.
But if Democrats are against that, what do they propose in order to lower the cost of gasoline and to lessen the drag on our economy?
Just what are they for? Fred Flintstone's feet?