Drill, baby, drill

Drill, baby, drill

"Drill, baby, drill!" was a 2008 Republican campaign slogan first used at the 2008 Republican National Convention[1] by former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, who was later elected Chairman of the Republican National Committee.[2] The slogan expressed support for increased drilling for petroleum as a source of additional energy.



Michael Steele used the phrase "Drill, baby, drill" during an address to the 2008 Republican National Convention as he called for increasing domestic production of oil, and the phrase proved to be popular among the delegates.[3] Prior to the Republican National Convention, Erik Rush, a conservative blogger and author of The Other Rush blog, had titled his August 28, 2008 sheet "Drill, baby, drill!"[4]

One possible source of the expression "Drill, baby, drill" was a similar three word expression used by Bill Epton, an African American radical, whose three word statement "Burn, baby, burn" in 1964 led to him being "the first person convicted of criminal anarchy since the Red Scare of 1919".[5] Another possible explanation of the origin is that Erik Rush or some predecessor modeled the phrase after the title of the 1966 Mario Bava film Operazione paura which was released in the USA under the colorful title Kill, Baby, Kill and also known as Kill, Baby... Kill![6] The 1973 Ray Austin film House of the Living Dead also used this same title Kill, Baby, Kill when released in USA video format, although this latter film achieved little of the popularity of the earlier Bava film. Another possibility is that it is a play on the "Burn Baby Burn" lyrics of the song "Disco Inferno".

Vice Presidential debate

On October 2, 2008, at the vice-presidential debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, "drill, baby, drill" reached a new prominence. Joe Biden, referring to the energy crisis and McCain's 20 votes against funding solar and wind energy, stated that McCain thinks "the only answer is drill, drill, drill. Drill we must, but it will take 10 years for one drop of oil to come out of any of the wells that are going to be drilled." Palin responded by saying, "The chant is 'drill, baby, drill.' And that's what we hear all across this country in our rallies because people are so hungry for those domestic sources of energy to be tapped into."[7]

Aftermath of the BP oil spill

Republicans continued to use the slogan after the 2008 election.[8] In 2010, however, the slogan received renewed attention because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a major oil spill at a BP offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The spill is causing extensive environmental damages and economic losses estimated in the billions of dollars. As a result, some proponents of "Drill, baby, drill" became embarrassed about their previous support.[9] The slogan was parodied as "Spill, baby, spill",[10] and "Kill, baby, Kill".[11] Two senior Republican Senators, Jon Kyl and Pat Roberts, made comments attempting to distance themselves and the Republican Party from the slogan.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Harger, Jim (2008-10-02). "GOP election promoter urges handlers to unleash Sarah Palin". Grand Rapids Press (Michigan Live). http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ssf?/base/news-44/1222953355216000.xml&coll=6. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  2. ^ "Top of the Ticket | Sunday shows: You better want to hear Adm. Thad Allen this weekend; he's everywhere | Los Angeles Times". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  3. ^ Hughes, Siobhan (September 3, 2008). "Steele Gives GOP Delegates New Cheer: ‘Drill, Baby, Drill!’". The Wall Street Journal. http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/09/03/steele-gives-gop-delegates-new-cheer-drill-baby-drill/tab/article/. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  4. ^ "Drill, baby, drill!". Worldnetdaily.com. http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=73559. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  5. ^ Bill Epton, Former PLP Activist, Dies[dead link]
  6. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060794/
  7. ^ http://debate.wustl.edu/transcript.pdf
  8. ^ Seitz-Wald, Alex (May 5, 2010). "Sens. Kyl And Roberts Pretend Republicans Never Embraced The Slogan ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’". Think Progress. http://thinkprogress.org/2010/05/05/kyl-roberts-drill-baby. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  9. ^ Rushing, J. Taylor (May 4, 2010), "Nelson says colleagues embarrassed by 'drill, baby, drill'", The Hill, http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/96101-nelson-says-colleagues-embarrassed-by-drill-baby-drill, retrieved 2010-05-13 
  10. ^ Corrigan, Patrick (May 1, 2010). "Editorial cartoon". The Toronto Star. http://media.thestar.topscms.com/images/cc/78/962b3769414f849bafd4e52f2447.jpeg. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  11. ^ "Group wants boycott at gas station in Reno | rgj.com | The Reno Gazette-Journal". rgj.com. 2010-05-28. http://www.rgj.com/article/20100528/NEWS/5280413/1321/NEWS. Retrieved 2010-06-05. [dead link]
  12. ^ Rushing, J. Taylor (May 4, 2010), "Senior Republicans distance themselves from 'drill, baby, drill'", The Hill, http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/95963-senior-senate-republicans-distance-themselves-from-drill-baby-drill, retrieved 2010-05-13 

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