Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's the Price of Gas, Stupid!

I just filled up my Honda Odyssey here on Long Island...$71! Gas is not just over $4 a gallon. That was a few weeks ago. At $4.23, it is now well over $4 and heading swiftly toward $5. The candidate who squarely and convincingly addresses this issue will be the next President of the United States. It's as simple as that.

Message to John McCain. Do not just concede that drilling is likely okay now. Call for drilling and make a big point of it.

In fact, call for rapid expansion of our nuclear and oil refinery capacity as well. The last time a license was issued for building a nuclear power plant was 1973. That was 35 years ago. Actually McCain has recently said that he wants 45 new reactors by 2030 to supplement the 104 that currently supply 20% of our national electricity needs (New York Times 6/19/08). In 2005, the Christian Science Monitor reported, "In 1981, the US had 324 refineries with a total capacity of 18.6 million barrels per day, the Department of Energy reports. Today, there are just 132 oil refineries with a capacity of 16.8 million b.p.d., according to Oil and Gas Journal, a trade publication." In real terms, the economy has tripled in size since then.

If John McCain hammers at this issue unrelentingly and with passion ("American Energy Means Prosperity and Security"), and if Obama's high principles and tender conscience (and powerful environmentalist lobby) will not allow him to soften his stern opposition to these measures, the Republicans will win the White House in November.

Charles Krauthammer, "McCain's Oil Epiphany" (Washington Post, June 20, 2008), is puzzled by McCain's half measures on nuclear plants and utterly perplexed over his refusal to support drilling in the 0.01% of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) that contains those billions of barrels of oil.

Paul Krugman thinks drilling, whether off-shore or in ANWR, will have an insignificant impact on oil prices, even in the long run, and that the suggestion that it will is a con. Keep it up, Paul.

Michael Barone suggests that the Democrats have their heads buried deep in the sands of unreality, not only on this issue but also on the war in Iraq ("The Facts in Iraq Are Changing"). Even the Washington Post is telling them to wake up on Iraq. When a candidate, Obama in this case (for ideological reasons, perhaps also for party political reasons), is stuck on a major narrative that is years out of date and the obsolescence of which most voters can see plainly, it is hard to imagine that he could win the election.

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