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We will, perhaps, ask an obvious question here. Still, we surely would like to have a logical answer. After seven-and-one-half years in office, President George W. Bush signed an executive order two weeks ago permitting oil exploration off our shorelines. The order has no legal weight whatsover, apparently. As president, Bush can't lift a ban on offshore drilling without similar action by Congress. Thusfar, the Democrat congress isn't budging on Bush's request that they join him in approving drilling off our shores. It is our guess that Americans generally support exploring for more oil. After all, we have seen gasoline prices skyrocket while politicians debate various plans that ""might"" help the situation. Generally, Democrats in Congress say oil exploration won't help with domestic oil supplies for five to seven years. Frankly, we buy the Republican argument that, regardless of how long it takes to kick in, the sooner oil exploration begins, the sooner we have some relief. If we had started on oil exploration seven years ago, it seems obvious we would be realizing the results about now. Why hold things up anyway since the Chinese can already drill 60 miles off the Florida coast? The Chinese, who have no grand record on the environment, can drill off the Florida coast but American cannot? What’s wrong with that equation? But our obvious question is this: why did Bush wait until six months is left on his eight-year term before doing something to help the common man? Surely, the president and his family (and Vice President Dick Cheney) are all big oil people. But Bush was elected to serve the people of the United States; not his immediate family and close friends. The compassion he and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, should lead him to help the common man in this instance. The president likely knew what his order would do. Frankly, we're not sure everyone did. An order that has no legal power has resulted in crude oil prices dropping by $25 a barrel since he issued it. Gasoline prices have fallen at the pumps in Southern West Virginia by as much as 25 cents a gallon. The American Automobile Association (AAA), which was issuing dire warnings of impending prices approaching $6 a gallon just weeks ago, now says it thinks prices have “topped out” and will actually fall by 25 to 30 cents by Labor Day. All with the stroke of a pen? An order that means nothing legally, according to informed sources, has sent prices dropping like a lead balloon because those who speculate on oil and gas expect the value to go down now. They believe Congress will eventually follow Bush's lead, under public pressure. They think the demand for gasoline is falling and will fall even more if the price doesn't level out. Much as we hate to say it, this is exactly what conservative radio pundit Rush Limbaugh said would happen. Limbaugh has been pontificating for months about a ""ceiling"" above which gasoline prices cannot realistically go. It could be -- shudder -- that he was right. Of course, a tornado or bloodbath in the oil fields could send prices right back up. But, for now, we ask the president: why didn't you help us all sooner?

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