The Choice: Drill, Baby, Drill or American Values. You Can't Have Both

Political slogans are effective. They're short, catchy, easy to remember, and make good chants at rallies. There's just one problem; political slogans tend to make horrible public policy. In the last presidential election, Sarah Palin made famous the phrase, "Drill, Baby, Drill" promoting domestic drilling as the solution to meeting America's energy needs. It's everything a good political slogan should be and "Drill, Baby, Drill" caught on like wildfire. Tragically, the Deepwater Horizon disaster and recent revelations about how our dependence on foreign oil literally buys the bombs killing our troops, demonstrate why "Drill, Baby, Drill" sounds nice but is a horrendous energy policy.

As a former executive in the energy industry for many years, I know that domestic drilling cannot strengthen our country or secure our future. America's dependence on oil simply cannot be satisfied economically through domestic drilling. Tapping all available offshore drilling reserves would reduce our foreign oil imports by less than 3%, and even that level would not be reached for another 20 years. We don't have twenty years. As a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, I know that we are currently sending $500,000 per minute to foreign and hostile regimes that supply us with oil. Many of those dollars literally pay for the bullets and bombs killing our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Despite the facts, Sarah Palin continues to repeat her mantra, urging the country to trust the oil industry and pursue an energy policy that will do next to nothing to break our reliance on foreign oil, leaving America at the mercy of repressive totalitarian regimes like in Iran.

So this week, the American Values Network (AVN) is launching a major bus, online, and email campaign to show why "Drill, Baby, Drill" is not the path to securing America's energy independence. In the wake of the greatest environmental disaster in the nation's history, America needs a smarter approach to energy policy, not a futile pep rally chant and continued funding for the enemies of our way of life.

The latest ads -- which feature Palin and an oil covered bird next to the tag line "Drill, Baby, Drill"? -- follow on the heels of previous ads depicting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with the slogan "Iran makes a KILLING everyday we wait." The message is simple, continuing our current energy policy only benefits leaders with vested interests in oil and enemies of our way of life, not the American people.

Claiming that domestic drilling is a viable solution to America's energy crisis is dishonest and irresponsible. It is a policy that slows the wind, and we are already reaping the whirlwind with human lives, with jobs lost and local economies destroyed, and with the shores of the Gulf. Drilling has a roll in our energy supply but is FAR from providing the answer to America's energy addiction.

We need a smarter approach to our energy policy. The American Power Act currently being considered before the Senate will create 1.7 million new jobs that cannot be outsourced to other countries. It will redirect $51-93 billion per year that's currently being shipped overseas for energy back into our economy. All this will result in reducing the money Iran makes on the global oil market by $100,000,000 per day.

The choice is simple. "Drill, Baby, Drill" may be catchy, but comprehensive climate legislation is the key to securing America's future and saving our soldiers lives.