There are so many problems with John McCain's idea that we're going to use offshore drilling to alleviate high gas prices and get us out of our current energy pickle.
First, there isn't all that much oil to be found in the continental United States and sucking it out of the ground won't lower prices substantially. Second, there are no ships available to serve new rigs. Third, oil companies currently have leases for some offshore drilling that they aren't using. Fourth, it will take seven to ten years before we can actually get at the oil off American shores, if we were to start drilling today. Fifth, it presents serious environmental concerns.
It's an ineffective attempt at a quick fix. In so far as it keeps Americans from thinking about and coming to terms with long-term structural changes that will actually solve the energy crisis, it's an incredibly damaging idea.
You don't have to be a Democrat to understand this. Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, a Republican, is calling out McCain:
"For anyone to represent that someone drilling off the coast in Florida is going to lower gas prices here or anywhere in this country is disingenuous and a flawed argument," he said. "Oil drilling could take 10 years before any oil is pulled out of the ground, and there are a large number of leases held by oil companies that are not being exploited now. We can't say we need more until we've exploited those."
H/T Think Progress.