The apparent Republican Presidential nominee Senator John McCain stuck his head into the environmental lion’s mouth at a town hall meeting Tuesday in Santa Barbara, California touting his offshore oil drilling banner and drawing the ire of local anti-oil activists. An increasingly unpopular California Governor Schwarzenegger who opposes offshore oil drilling also attended.
The usually timid local Congresswoman Lois Capps (D) chastised McCain for calling for more offshore drilling virtually on the hallowed site of the 3 million gallon 1969 oil well blow out that coated local beaches, launched the modern environmental movement and made Santa Barbara an obligatory political stop to bash offshore drilling which McCain did himself during his 1980 campaign. Capps took pains to read Obama talking points criticizing McCain’s idea as continuing Bush-Cheney policies. Santa Barbara City Councilman, liberal Democrat up and comer and Obama supporter Das Williams blasted McCain in the Las Angeles Times saying, “What we are seeing is just a shameless amount of opportunism from Mr. McCain.”
Six out of ten Americans now support more offshore oil drilling to increase supply and eventually lower gasoline and diesel prices. But an overwhelming majority of California “left coasters” oppose it. In fact Capps’ 23rd District was gerrymandered in 2000 to give her a safe entirely coastal district that runs from Monterey into Los Angeles Counties and in places is only six inches wide gaining the national title of the “ribbon of shame” as the most contorted district in America.
The McCain town hall event followed a $1,000 per person fund raiser Monday night attended by about 200 including the usual freeloaders. Oprah Winfrey hosted a record setting multi-million dollar fund raiser in Santa Barbara a few months ago, and Rudy Guiliani also dipped into local pockets before his campaign imploded. Once conservative the Central California coast has definitely gone liberal with Democrat majorities in Ventura, and Santa Barbra Counties, and while San Luis Obispo County clings to a Republican voter edge the June primary there elected a liberal majority to its Board of Supervisors. John Kerry carried Santa Barbara County in 2004 and McCain trails in California from 20-30%.