August 16, 2016

Kaine, Fully Embracing The Clinton Way, Flip-Flops On Offshore Oil Drilling

Since being named Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) has flip-flopped on a number of issues, including right to work, abortion funding, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Last night, after a rally in North Carolina, America Rising trackers asked Kaine about yet another flip – his position on offshore drilling. When asked why he changed his position on offshore drilling, Kaine said the following:

KAINE: “Um, I’m not sure that I did. Oh, you know what, but with respect to the Department of Defense objected to it off the shore, and that’s really where, that’s a huge industry in Virginia, the Department of Defense, and we can’t jeopardize that.”

Kaine said something similar when an environmentalist 350 Action activist asked him about it on Saturday:

QUESTION: “Will you support Hillary Clinton and support a ban on offshore drilling?” KAINE: “You know what, I actually I am now in that position because the Obama administration has decided not to do offshore drilling because of the Defense Department objects and I share those objections.”

This is a major flip-flop for Kaine, and shows his complete assimilation into Clinton’s say or do anything campaign. Kaine’s rationale for his offshore oil drilling flip-flop is Defense Department objections, yet in March, when the decision was announced, Kaine had a very different opinion of those DOD objections:

“I am particularly struck by the material objections of the Department of Defense to the incompatibility of drilling with naval operations off Virginia’s coast, cited by the BOEM as one of the three principal reasons for their decision. I have participated in this debate for over a decade as a Governor and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The DOD has been relatively quiet during this public debate and has never shared their objections with me before. I look forward to additional discussions with DOD to understand its position.”

Significantly, Kaine’s support for offshore oil drilling is nothing new. Since Kaine has been a Senator he’s been consistently in favor of increased offshore oil drilling.

In 2013, Kaine and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced the Virginia Outer Continental Shelf Energy Production Act that would have expanded “American offshore energy production.” Kaine was a strong supporter of increased offshore drilling because it would “create jobs”:

“Virginia is well positioned to be a national leader in offshore energy exploration… Virginia’s diverse energy portfolio is a model for the nation. This legislation will bolster our energy security, create jobs and direct revenues to Virginia that will support important priorities across the state.”

Also just last year Kaine joined with other pro-offshore oil drilling Senators to send a letter to the Interior Department pushing for expanded offshore drilling. This bi-partisan group of Senators once again touted the significant benefits of allowing offshore oil drilling:

“Offshore energy exploration can be an opportunity to diversify the economy and create jobs in the Mid- and South-Atlantic region, as well as a means to lessen our national reliance on foreign sources of energy.”

Kaine’s blatant pandering might not stand out to the Clinton campaign, given Hillary Clinton’s own history of flagrant pandering and flip-flopping. Yet for the American people, such an egregious flip-flop will certainly cause many to question Kaine’s principles.