Not in the least!
But he is in panic mode.
There are smart people in the administration. OK, maybe not many wise (sapient) people, but definitely clever people. They know about peak oil. They know that it is here. They know the standard neoclassical economics explanation of what happens when supply doesn't meet demand. They know the price of fossil fuels go up. They know that prices have been going up. I'll even bet that they have read the scientific papers about peak oil! We know the military has been studying the issue for quite a while. They have even published their concerns.
So if you were President of the United States and your staff is telling you we are running out of oil and that the whole system is going to come apart at the seams as a result, what would you do?
The president knows that energy is critical to the whole economy. He knows that energy flow has to increase in order to have a 'growing' economy. He knows that the American people are spoiled beyond belief. He knows that they will rebel against any message that suggests that they need to pay more for energy or that they will have to restrict their lifestyles in light of new energy realities. And he knows that the US's access to oil is being pinched off by production capacity and geopolitical and international economic forces beyond his control. He knows that the financial markets are keeping the illusion of wealth production alive and has to be supported to keep the illusion alive.
And he knows that the situation is hopeless.
That is why he is opening up oil drilling off Virginia and will likely open other areas for oil companies to lease and explore. He now understands the Drill-baby-drill message. He has no other choice. He is in panic because he is a political animal, just like all the rest. He wants to hold power and he wants his party to hold power in spite of the fact that it is rapidly becoming obvious that it is a no-win proposition.
This is why I doubted our new president's wisdom during the campaign and why I am now convinced that he is really clever but definitely not wise.
I can't help but wonder how he is going to handle the longer-term problem that is mounting. This is like a game of chess where you have lost most of your power pieces while your opponent maintains a knight, bishop (one that hasn't been accused of child molestation we hope), and maybe a castle. You have to take every escape move you can. Your queen is in constant jeopardy. Now you hope your early move to castle your king pays off. But it won't. This is where our president's foresight fails. His panic move is just as bad as believing his chosen financial advisers about how to save the economy and the bailouts of banks and Wall Street. He will fail (are you listening Rush Limbaugh? You will get your wish. But it will get you too.)
I vacillate between hope for truly sapient people to prepare for the worst case scenario, and despair for what is going to happen to the vast majority of people who actually attend to leaders like Obama (or John Boehner or Glen Beck!). The former stand a chance of a future life. The latter are lost. I would prefer to focus on the potential for the former, but am constantly pulled back to think about the latter. This desperate move by Obama is just one more example of why the latter case is going to prevail. He understands the nature of the problem but completely misses the nature of anything like a solution. Sometimes I wonder if I have cast my last vote in a national election!