Thursday, July 3, 2008

Is Obama aping Bush?

The Leftist challenger recently did that sort of thing with great success in Australia

We're beginning to understand why Barack Obama keeps protesting so vigorously against the prospect of "George Bush's third term." Maybe he's worried that someone will notice that he's the candidate who's running for it. Most Presidential candidates adapt their message after they win their party nomination, but Mr. Obama isn't merely "running to the center." He's fleeing from many of his primary positions so markedly and so rapidly that he's embracing a sizable chunk of President Bush's policy. Who would have thought that a Democrat would rehabilitate the much-maligned Bush agenda?

Take the surveillance of foreign terrorists. Last October, while running with the Democratic pack, the Illinois Senator vowed to "support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies" that assisted in such eavesdropping after 9/11. As recently as February, still running as the liberal favorite against Hillary Clinton, he was one of 29 Democrats who voted against allowing a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee reform of surveillance rules even to come to the floor.

Two weeks ago, however, the House passed a bill that is essentially the same as that Senate version, and Mr. Obama now says he supports it. Apparently legal immunity for the telcos is vital for U.S. national security, just as Mr. Bush has claimed. Apparently, too, the legislation isn't an attempt by Dick Cheney to gut the Constitution. Perhaps it is dawning on Mr. Obama that, if he does become President, he'll be responsible for preventing any new terrorist attack. So now he's happy to throw the New York Times under the bus.

Next up for Mr. Obama's political blessing will be Mr. Bush's Iraq policy. Only weeks ago, the Democrat was calling for an immediate and rapid U.S. withdrawal. When General David Petraeus first testified about the surge in September 2007, Mr. Obama was dismissive and skeptical. But with the surge having worked wonders in Iraq, this week Mr. Obama went out of his way to defend General Petraeus against's attacks in 2007 that he was "General Betray Us." Perhaps he had a late epiphany.

Look for Mr. Obama to use his forthcoming visit to Iraq as an excuse to drop those withdrawal plans faster than he can say Jeremiah Wright "was not the person that I met 20 years ago." The Senator will learn - as John McCain has been saying - that withdrawal would squander the gains from the surge, set back Iraqi political progress, and weaken America's strategic position against Iran. Our guess is that he'll spin this switcheroo as some kind of conditional commitment, saying he'll stay in Iraq as long as Iraqis are making progress on political reconciliation, and so on. As things improve in Iraq, this would be Mr. Bush's policy too.

Mr. Obama has also made ostentatious leaps toward Mr. Bush on domestic issues. While he once bid for labor support by pledging a unilateral rewrite of Nafta, the Democrat now says he favors free trade as long as it works for "everybody." His economic aide, Austan Goolsbee, has been liberated from the five-month purdah he endured for telling Canadians that Mr. Obama's protectionism was merely campaign rhetoric. Now that Mr. Obama is in a general election, he can't scare the business community too much.

Back in the day, the first-term Senator also voted against the Supreme Court nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito. But last week he agreed with their majority opinion in the Heller gun rights case, and with their dissent against the liberal majority's ruling to ban the death penalty for rape. Mr. Obama seems to appreciate that getting pegged as a cultural lefty is deadly for national Democrats - at least until November.

This week the great Democratic hope even endorsed spending more money on faith-based charities. Apparently, this core plank of Mr. Bush's "compassionate conservatism" is not the assault on church-state separation that the ACLU and liberals have long claimed. And yesterday, Mr. Obama's campaign unveiled an ad asserting his support for welfare reform that "slashed the rolls by 80 percent." Never mind that Mr. Obama has declared multiple times that he opposed the landmark 1996 welfare reform.

All of which prompts a couple of thoughts. The first is that Mr. Obama doesn't seem to think American political sentiment has moved as far left as most of the media claim. Another is that the next President, whether Democrat or Republican, is going to embrace much of Mr. Bush's foreign and antiterror policy whether he admits it or not. Think Eisenhower endorsing Truman's Cold War architecture.

Most important is the matter of Mr. Obama's political character - and how honest he is being about what he truly believes. His voting record in the Senate and in Illinois, as well as his primary positions, would make him the most liberal Presidential candidate since George McGovern in 1972. But he clearly doesn't want voters to believe that in November. He's still the Obama Americans don't know.


The troubling psychology of Michelle Obama

A not-too-bright lady full of unjustified anger

Now that Barack Obama has pretty much wrapped up the nomination, it's time to raise a question that lots of people have been talking about privately but not publicly. Is it possible that Michelle Obama is the force behind Barack Obama's refusal to embrace traditional patriotic symbols? Could Obama's wife be largely responsible for the candidate's damaging associations with crackpot race-baiters like the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and the Reverend Michael Pfleger? In sum, could Obama's wife be a large part of his political problem?

Obama himself seems, at least on the surface, relatively free of the kind of corrosive racial resentment that is so common among African American activists of our day. This resentment is especially puzzling as it often comes from people who, far from being victims, have actually enjoyed benefits and privileges that they would probably never get if they happened to be white.

Consider the case of Michelle Obama. She was raised in a two-parent, middle-class family. She applied to one of America's top universities, Princeton, and was admitted. Of this experience, Michelle says on the stump, "All my life I have confronted people who had a certain expectation of me. Every step of the way, there has been people telling me what I couldn't do. When I applied to Princeton, they said: you can't go there, your test scores aren't high enough."

Which is all very moving, except that her test scores weren't high enough. Michelle Obama is part of the affirmative action generation of above-average but far-from-stellar performers who were granted preferential admission to America's most elite institutions.

Michelle notes that she graduated with honors in her major. Again, the problem is that her undergraduate thesis is on the web. You might expect that she wrote about Shakespeare's sonnets or the political evolution of W.E.B. Du Bois. Well, no. Essentially Michelle Obama wrote about the problems of being a black woman at an Ivy League university.

Here is a typical passage: "By actually working with the Black lower class or within their communities as a result of their ideologies, a separationist may better understand the desparation of their situation and feel more hopeless about a resolution as opposed to an integrationist who is ignorant to their plight."

Alas, the grammar is all wrong here. More than once, the tenses are garbled. People are ignorant "of" the plight of the lower class, not ignorant "to" their plight. And"desparation" should be spelled "desperation." To wreak so much havoc on the English language in one sentence, without conveying anything of substance, is perhaps deserving of a prize. Is this what her professors were thinking when they granted her honors? Whatever the Obamorons say, let's remember that that these are not mere typos; they reflect an estranged relationship to the English language. Moreover they appear not in an off-the-cuff transcript but in a thesis that is supposed to reflect the culmination of one's college career.

Subsequently Michelle went on to further appointments and even managed to cash in big time on her skin color and marriage to Barack Obama. She was hired by the University of Chicago hospitals to run "programs for community relations, neighborhood outrecah, volunteer recruitment, staff diversity, and minority contracting." Here her salary was $400,000 a year.

One might expect that the reaction of someone who gets so many privileges to be grateful to a society that makes them possible. But no. Michelle Obama thinks that her very success is an example of white oppression. By a bizarre twist of logic, she converts "you're not good enough, but we'll take you anyway" into a message of "they said I wasn't good enough, but I proved them wrong."

Ordinarily these psychological peculiarities may be of little interest, except perhaps to a therapist. But Michelle now stands next to a man that may be elected president of the United States. Barack Obama wants everyone to "lay off" his wife. He doesn't seem to realize that this is not a reasonable request concerning a woman who clearly influences him and who stands to have public influence in her own right. Moreover, for months the media has been laying off her precisely because she is his wife. Like Michelle, Obama seems to confuse preferential treatment with ill treatment.

Of course we've had controversial first ladies in the White House before. The Obamas, however, aren't there yet. Will Barack Obama be ultimately forced to distance himself not just from the Reverend Wright and the Reverend Pfleger but also from his own wife?


Romney: Obama Shows 'Frightening Naivete'

Barack Obama's approach to the war on terror shows "frightening naivet,," Mitt Romney tells Newsmax. "Even the peaceniks of the last decade have recognized that the pre-911 thinking of the early 1990s was wrong," Romney says. "The great majority of those who opposed the conflict in Iraq nevertheless recognize that it is a war against a radical, violent Islam. But Barack is one of the few who has still refused to speak out against radical violent Islam and jihadism." To suggest, as Obama has, that the way to deal with terrorists is to prosecute them "bespeaks a remarkable lack of understanding of the threat which we face," Romney says.

Obama has said the government can crack down on terrorists "within the constraints of the Constitution." He has said, "What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks - for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center - we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated." In the 1993 World Trade bombing, while some perpetrators were prosecuted, others, like Osama bin Laden, were not, Romney points out. Moreover, Romney says, since the 9/11 hijackers did not care if they were killed or sent to jail, and all died in the attack, it is foolhardy to suggest that the threat of prosecutions would be a deterrent.

"The thought that this is a criminal matter restricted to a few handfuls of individuals is completely out of touch with the reality of radical jihadism," Romney says. "From the Phillippines to Malaysia to, of course, the Middle East to Pakistan to Nigeria - it's a global effort, and it requires a response far different than calling up the local police department and asking the DA to prosecute them."

Obama doesn't get that we are in a new age, where "military might is essential," Romney says. "What we're facing right now in al-Qaida and global violent jihadism is an enemy which has relatively crude weapons but highly motivated warriors," he says. "Over the next decade or two, they will surely obtain highly sophisticated weapons with massive casualty potential. Now is the time to stop this enemy, because the consequences of ignoring them until they have massive casualty capability are almost unthinkable."

Striking Differences Between Obama, McCain

In many respects, Romney says, Obama is the exact opposite of John McCain - not just on issues but with regard to straight talk. "Barack Obama is appealing to the audience he thinks he needs to win," Romney says. "Particularly during the primary, he appealed to the far left of his party, and with time you will watch him slowly but surely change his stripes and try and appeal more to the center and pretend he's something he's not."

Already, Obama is re-branding himself, Romney notes. "He said for instance he would vote against the proposed revision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, particularly if it included forgiveness for the telephone companies," Romney says. "But now he says he'll vote for FISA, even though it includes the telephone company issue."

Obama said he would have personal meetings with the world's "worst dictators without precondition," Romney says. "Now he's trying to change the language and suggest some kind of prior deliberation would take place."

Obama said during the primary that the D.C. handgun law was constitutional. He wanted to make handguns illegal, Romney says. "Now he exresses approval of the Supreme Court's decision," Romney says.

The biggest flip has been on campaign financing. "He was very much in favor of public financing of campaigns and said he would take public financing. Now he's moved very much off of that commitment," Romney observes.

"These were not changes of perception by virtue of changed circumstances over years," Romney says. "It is instead a change in a matter of weeks." Despite the flip-flops, the media have largely given Obama a pass. ...

More here

Obama's Fatal Flaw

On June 28, 2006 Barack Obama gave a speech about the role of religious belief in the public square. His intervention was thoughtful, respectful, and, in my opinion, it advanced this important debate-something no Democrat of note has done of late. The same speech also revealed what I believe is the fatal flaw of Obama, the candidate: the inconsistency between his smart analysis and his subsequent action.

Last week, James Dobson took to the airwaves to denounce Senator Obama's 2006 speech for "deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own confused theology", for promoting a "morality of the lowest common denominator", and most notably, for holding a "fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution."

Senator Obama has at times been guilty of all three of these defects, but in my opinion, Mr. Dobson's scrutiny of the speech didn't quite hit the mark. He failed to point out the speech's many merits, and instead gave the media sound bites which made Obama look like a statesman when he subsequently dismissed Mr. Dobson's biting radio address as more divisive rhetoric from the right. Dobson tried to summarize Obama's lengthy keynote address by saying Obama believes, "unless everybody agrees, we have no right to fight for what we believe in."

That certainly would be a "fruitcake" interpretation of the Constitution, but this is hardly a fair characterization of the senator's speech. To his credit, in this speech Senator Obama rejected as fallacious the idea of seeking a morality of "the lowest common denominator." He said he used bad judgment when he used this fallacy against Allan Keyes in their race for the Illinois senate seat: "I answered [Mr. Keyes] with what has come to be the typically liberal response in such debates, namely, that we live in a pluralistic society, that I can't impose my own religious views on others, that I was running to be U.S. Senator and not the Minister of Illinois."

Surprisingly, Senator Obama even admitted to double-talk: "I was also aware my answer did not adequately address the role my faith has in guiding my own beliefs." Why did he use against Keyes a "typically liberal response" when he didn't believe in it? I don't know, but remember the fatal flaw.

The second great merit of Senator Obama's 2006 speech was his excellent explanation of how religion can work in a truly pluralistic society: "But what I am suggesting is this-secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering in to the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King-indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history-were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition." Very smart analysis, indeed!

The third great merit of Senator Obama's speech was his invitation to people of faith to learn how to more effectively influence public policy in a Democratic Republic: "Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. What do I mean by this? It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, to take one example, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all."

Here Senator Obama is exhorting Christians to communicate their religious convictions reasonably, such that a pluralistic society can see the benefits for society's common good. Tangentially, Senator Obama is suggesting the Christian ethic is indeed reasonable and valid for the pursuit of the common good. Is he talking about natural law, written on the heart of every man and woman? I hope so. That would be very smart analysis.

It is precisely Obama's smart breakdown of moral issues that frightens me. If this speech is any indication, he thinks through ethical issues better than most-even better than many of his conservative counterparts-and then makes choices which simply do not follow his logic. Senator Obama loves to refer, for example, to "the tragic decision of abortion" as a "moral issue" which concerns him greatly, thus his support of adoption. At the same time he is among the most ardent promoters of every kind of abortion, including the partial-birth abortion legislation in Illinois, and the refusal of primary care to child survivors of botched abortion procedures.

For most people, being concerned about an issue, just like being smart about an issue, translates into good action. It's called consistency. But Obama's willingness to use abortion as an example of how people of faith must learn to communicate their universal values more reasonably, then fighting for the exact opposite, is insulting, and frightening. Respect for the life of a hurting baby who has just been born, is the most reasonable thing I can think of. What kind of translation do we need?

Senator Obama's fatal flaw is his unwillingness or inability to be consistent in word and deed on some very basic issues, of which, abortion is only one. His excellent speech on the urgency of ridding our country of racism, coupled with his simultaneous and strange embrace of pastors spewing reverse racism, was another. Are there more? We'll find out.


Who's smearing whom?

The only obstacle between Barack Obama and the presidency is the mountain of smears that will no doubt come his way. That's the narrative that Obama supporters - and his swooning chroniclers in the mainstream media - would have us believe.

Obama himself set up a website,, correcting some e-mail chain letters that allege he "can't produce his birth certificate," is "secretly a Muslim" and that he "won't say the Pledge of Allegiance." In May, Newsweek published a cover story confirming the Obama campaign's fears, declaring that "the Republican Party has been successfully scaring voters since 1968."

Writers Evan Thomas and Richard Wolfe concluded that the 2008 presidential election will be no different. "It is a sure bet that the GOP will try to paint Obama as 'the other' - as a haughty black intellectual who has Muslim roots (Obama is a Christian) and hangs around with America-haters."

But has it been a "sure bet?" Not really. Thus far, no one with any serious affiliation to John McCain's campaign has resorted to the alleged "scare" tactics in which Republicans - and, apparently, only Republicans - have been perfecting since Richard Nixon was first elected. On the contrary, if the past few months have showed us anything, it's that the Obama campaign is the one dealing in crude smears.

There have been only two incidents in which people officially associated with McCain have done anything approaching what Thomas and Wolfe predicted those dastardly, conniving Republicans would inevitably do. In February, a conservative talk radio host speaking at a McCain rally made reference to "Barack Hussein Obama." McCain immediately condemned the statement, leading the embittered and embarrassed professional yacker to complain that McCain "threw me under the bus." The only other smear-worthy episode occurred in March, when the McCain campaign suspended a low-level aide who provided a link on his Twitter account to a video featuring the rants of Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Heavy stuff, to be sure.

Contrast the absence of smears from the McCain camp with some of the outlandish remarks made by high-ranking Obama supporters. In April, West Virginia Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV said that because McCain "was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet," and "was long gone when they hit," the Arizona senator who spent five and a half years in a Vietcong tiger cage having his arms repeatedly broken didn't really understand the carnage of war. "What happened when [the missiles] get to the ground?" Rockefeller asked a crowd at an Obama rally. "He doesn't know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues." That the great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller would impugn the wartime experience of John McCain is especially rich, given that the only "battle" Rockefeller has seen is when he hunts wild game at his 80-acre ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Rockefeller's smear was the first salvo in a pattern of attacks meant to insinuate that McCain's Vietnam experience not only shouldn't count as meaningful "experience," but rendered him psychologically unfit for presidential office. In May, Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin said of McCain, "Everything is looked at from his life experiences, from always having been in the military, and I think that can be pretty dangerous." Over the weekend, retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark said that McCain is "untested and untried," and elaborated that, "I don't think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president." Clark, you may remember, ran for president in 2004 on his record as a career military officer, so his comment, which he has not retracted, was not just morally offensive but self-discrediting.

The smears didn't stop there. On Monday, Obama foreign policy adviser Rand Beers unfavorably compared McCain's POW experience with "the members of the Senate who were in the ground forces or who were ashore in Vietnam," and who "have a very different view of Vietnam and the cost ... than John McCain does because he was in isolation essentially for many of those years and did not experience the turmoil here or the challenges that were involved for those of us who served in Vietnam during the Vietnam War."

It's curious how anyone could argue that a man with such visceral understanding of the capacity for what America's enemies will do to our men and women in uniform doesn't fully appreciate the cost of war. But even more troubling is the unmistakable pattern of these smears, all of them unsubtly alleging that McCain is an unhinged, mentally unstable warmonger who would deploy soldiers capriciously because he hasn't truly experienced the horrors of ground battle. Indeed, the claims of these four men - and the short period of time in which they were all uttered - are so similar in tone that one would be foolish not to at least consider the possibility they were coordinated by the Obama campaign.

Nevertheless, the fears of Obama supporters that their candidate lies eternally vulnerable to GOP smears exists only in their fevered imaginations. The evidence of dirty Republican tricks has been utterly absent this campaign season. And if anyone has tried to smear Barack Obama in the way that Thomas, Wolfe and other Democratic partisans allege, it was not the Republican National Committee, but rather Hillary Rodham Clinton and her surrogates. In February, the Drudge Report claimed that the Clinton campaign circulated photos of Obama in a traditional East African turban and robe, with the message that the images showed him "dressed." Asked if there was any truth to the smear that Obama is a Muslim, she infamously replied, "As far as I know," it wasn't the case. After the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, she said the results showed that "Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again."

The belief that "the Republican Party has been successfully scaring voters since 1968" is a comforting salve for Democrats. After all, it's much easier for them to demonize conservatives than consider that the reason for their electoral defeats may lie with liberal ideas. Please don't take that as a "smear."


How to Lower Oil Prices Now and in the Future

What Obama doesn't get

Last week, Barack Obama and his ideological fellowship mocked John McCain after the Senator stated that opening up domestic oil exploration would have an immediate negative impact on oil prices, primarily because of psychological reasons, long before the first barrel is pumped (Obama Assails Remarks by McCain on Offshore Oil Drilling). Unfortunately for Obama and his minions, such attacks go a long way in proving that none of them have even an elemental understanding of how markets, including the oil markets, work.

Ultimately, markets are driven by supply and demand. But economists and scientists have known for years (centuries, even) that severe market swings, both upwards and downwards, have a life somewhat independent of supply and demand. At their core, human beings, their emotions, and their subconscious behavior patterns primarily drive those severe swings. Call it "panic", refer to it as "jumping on the bandwagon" -- it exists, it is a component of today's oil prices, and it can be addressed.

For evidence of this "psychological component" of the markets we can look way back to books like "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay published in 1841, or to more mid 20th Century works such as this article from 1962 in Time Magazine, Emotions & the Market. More recently, we have "Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises" from 2005, written by Charles P. Kindleberger. Kindleberger does a wonderful job of describing the various stages surrounding a financial crisis, boom, or bust - stages which inevitably lead to first mania, then panic.

But as much as we can easily refute Obama's infantile attacks on McCain by using those works and many more like them, today we're dealing with the question of oil. Namely, would the mere opening of new domestic oil exploration create an immediate downward pressure on oil prices?

For that we turn to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Martin Feldstein, We Can Lower Oil Prices Now. Mr. Feldstein was the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Ronald Reagan, is currently a professor at Harvard, and is also the President of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In his editorial, Mr. Feldstein quickly dismisses the idea, proffered by Democrats, that pure financial speculation explains the current dramatic rise in energy and food prices worldwide. He first discusses perishable agricultural commodities (specifically corn), noting that demand has greatly increased from China, India, other third world countries, and also from the need for ethanol as a fuel additive. This increase in demand all happened rather quickly, and the supply sector has yet to catch up. But since corn is a food staple for billions of people, supply will catch up (people will plant more) and prices will stabilize.

Feldstein then tackles oil, a more complicated subject because of the politics involved. He offers a simple and concise explanation on how oil suppliers choose to increase supply (and therefore reduce price). It's based on several factors, not the least of which is the expected future demand and supply from the countries that control their own oil production. Unlike corn, with oil we're caught in a political struggle that limits production within the United States. The rules of supply and demand still hold, but one particular political party intentionally and artificially limits domestic supply. That takes control of prices literally out of our hands, and when that is coupled with future predictions of demand outpacing supply worldwide, we have what we see today in escalating oil prices. The obvious solution to counter the rising prices -- do something domestically ourselves, and now. We might not see a drop of new oil for a year, three years, or five years -- but we will again control our energy future, and the price of oil and gasoline. From Feldstein's piece:
The relationship between future and current oil prices implies that an expected change in the future price of oil will have an immediate impact on the current price of oil. ...Once this relation is understood, it is easy to see how news stories, rumors and industry reports can cause substantial fluctuations in current prices - all without anything happening to current demand or supply.

By actively letting the world markets know that we are resolved to take care of our own future energy needs, we are directly combating the rise in oil prices. Such a message isn't (and shouldn't be) limited to just pumping more oil. To be most effective, the message should include the fact that we are actively developing methods to reduce our consumption of oil, while at the same time increasing our domestic supply of oil. More from Feldstein:
Now here is the good news. Any policy that causes the expected future oil price to fall can cause the current price to fall, or to rise less than it would otherwise do. In other words, it is possible to bring down today's price of oil with policies that will have their physical impact on oil demand or supply only in the future.

For example, increases in government subsidies to develop technology that will make future cars more efficient, or tighter standards that gradually improve the gas mileage of the stock of cars, would lower the future demand for oil and therefore the price of oil today.

Similarly, increasing the expected future supply of oil would also reduce today's price. That fall in the current price would induce an immediate rise in oil consumption that would be matched by an increase in supply from the OPEC producers and others with some current excess capacity or available inventories.

Obviously, working on more efficient cars for the future does nothing for the oil and gasoline currently used by the 247,421,120 cars estimated to be in use today within the United States. The increased price of gasoline will probably cause many people, especially the poor, to drive a little bit less. But most people don't have the means to go out and immediately buy a more efficient automobile (again, especially the poor), so it's safe to assume that our demand for gasoline over the next few years, if not decades, is not going to recede much, if at all.

That means that the only option we have to negatively affect the price of gasoline immediately is to open up more of our own oil fields for exploration and drilling. I'm not referring to the Democrats plan' to force oil companies to drill dry holes in presently leased lands that revert back to the government in a few years, but allowing those companies to drill in new areas where there is oil - offshore, in the Midwest, and in ANWR.

Are we going to see $2.00 a gallon gasoline again? Probably not. But it seems as if reaching the $4.00 a gallon price triggered some primal emotion in American consumers. They want answers and help, now. Only one party has a credible solution to today's energy crisis, and that's the Republicans. Open up more areas for domestic oil production, demand that Congress fast track the approval process for nuclear power plants, and invest money in renewable energy technology that might be an affordable replacement for other significant energy sources in couple of decades. Those are two solutions that give us more affordable energy immediately, and one solution that might give us affordable energy in the future.

The Democrats? Regardless of how many people they try to blame for high energy prices, that's all they have in their quiver -- the blame arrow. Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats are happy with the higher energy prices and they don't intend to do anything about it. Obama is on record (see YouTube video here) as saying that the solution to current high energy prices is ending the war in Iraq (of course, that's the key to everything), and investing $60 billion to switch America from a "car culture" to a "mass transit culture"!

Books can be written on what's wrong with Obama's plans. Suffice to say that it doesn't help anyone today, or for the next few decades. And the American public will never go along with it. Add to that the fact that the sole nationwide mass transit system we have now (Amtrak) is both an abject failure and hemorrhaging money (requiring constant taxpayer bailouts). Just one tunnel project in Boston cost $14.8 billion over 10 years starting in the 90s, so Obama's $60 billion figure is a ridiculous figure for transforming our transportation system to heavy reliance on mass transit. Come to think of it, perhaps the aforementioned Mackay tome from 1841, "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds", describe Barack Obama and his followers quite well.



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