Today oil pops up near $120/barrel -- floating on a strike and pipeline shutdown in Scotland, rampaging rebels in Nigeria, saber-rattling over Iran, an influx of novice traders into the market, a sinking dollar and, most important, the realization that if supply is struggling to match demand today things could get really nutty when production actually begins to fall off noticeably in the not distant future. Gas prices are lagging months behind the oil spike, but even so have become the most important issue to Americans, even ahead of the war in Iraq. Indeed, all three of the remaining candidates have seized on the issue of gas prices in their attempts to grab voter attention. Unfortunately, none is making any sense whatsoever.
A while back McCain announced his plan to suspend the gas tax through the summer -- thereby encouraging further consumption, increasing our dependence on foreign supplies and weakening the country. So much for straight talk on national security from McCain.
Clinton, missing a wonderful chance to jump all over McCain and make him look silly, said she thought it was a great idea. She just wishes she thought of it first.
It's increasingly difficult to climb on the Barak O-Bandwagon when he also keeps saying ridiculous things about the energy predicament. There are no easy answers, he says. So true. But then he blames the rising prices on 'Washington' and the failure of politicians to stand up to oil companies. A popular view, but off the mark. No We Can't (tell the truth about energy).
It doesn't end with the candidates. Those in office have also been talking nonsense. Bush and Brown pointed their fingers of blame at OPEC. Pelosi and the rest of Congress have also been talking smack about OPEC and are pushing the NOPEC bill which would allow us to sue them for price fixing. Sue OPEC! That is the wisdom emanating from Congress these days.
These proposals have all been deemed by various advisers to be politically advantageous to their sponsors. And each one completely fails to address the core issues or causes of America's oil dilemma. Of course, since these are politicians saying these things, they probably don't even believe what they're saying. Maybe they know better. Even if they do they are not willing or able to speak the truth. They decide it's a better deal to endorse policies that will be politically popular even if they'll make our problem worse. Rather than come clean with the people, political leaders appear to be positioning themselves for attempts to get out of the way of the train wreck and try like hell to blame somebody else for it.
From the Sad Reality Department: These soundbytes conjured by political consultants and spewed by politicians are a reflection of the ignorant views of their target audience. All the sound and fury about gas prices these days does not bode well for our ability to recognize a looming energy crisis, much less avoid it.
On a positive note, bike commuting could pretty much save the country. Just throwing that out there, in case any politician wants to take that ball and run with it. No? Okay, never mind.