Thursday, August 07, 2008

McCain and the Politics of Oil

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There is no more divisive political issue now than crude oil. Not abortion, the Iraq War including the greater Global War on Terror, not global warming and not the housing crisis. No, oil is the game changer and it may just sway this presidential election John McCain's way.

When oil was hovering around $2 per gallon, Americans were environmental zealots, fighting global warming was imperative. Now, not so much. When people are spending a hundred dollars a week on gasoline, they are not so emphatic about environmental issues. Note the lack of global warming stories you've read of late.

Throughout the last decade, the idea of drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge was looked on with distaste as environmentalist's succeeded in painting the barren wasteland as a beautiful place where moose and elk romped and polar bears frolicked. "Hell no" we said, "we can't drill there and spoil a pristine wilderness" even though the area we wish to drill in is minuscule in comparison to the the whole of ANWR. But then a funny thing happened, oil shot through the roof and gas nearly doubled in price. In a flash, drilling everywhere and anywhere became a rallying cry.

John McCain has shifted his position on drilling but hasn't quite taken that final step and called for drilling in ANWR, Barack Obama has been left in the dust on the issue and is spinning his wheels trying to play catch up on an issue that wasn't even on the horizon eight months ago. He's locked into a position that is highly unpopular and he's hamstrung by his base.

This is an issue handed to McCain on a silver platter and all he needs to do is hammer it home. Fly to Alaska and pose for pix in ANWR so Americans can see exactly where we would be drilling. Take Gov. Sarah Palin along and have her explain what it would mean for the country and what it would mean for the state as she is quite eloquent on the issue. Rebut the rubbish that drilling throughout the country wouldn't help us in the short and long-term as anybody with half a brain would realize that more oil pumped from here means less we import from elsewhere. Talk about the money we send to Hugo Chavez and the Saudi's, people will surely listen and McCain would force Obama on the defensive on an issue he is sorely lacking expertise or credibility in. Force him to flip-flop for the umpteenth time and then hammer him for doing so.

The time for McCain to stop being nice and respectful in this issue is now. The Democrats know this is a critical issue that could sink them yet McCain wavers because he wants to be the "nice" candidate and take the high road. Well Senator, the high road is nice but with gas at $4 per gallon, driving the high road is an expensive proposition.

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