Amy Menefee

You know the presidential race is in full rhetorical swing when candidates are rallying people against a dangerous enemy of America. It’s time to play on the most basic of voters’ instincts: fear and hate.

The enemy in question has a worldwide network with agents embedded deep in the United States. It gets money from oil. And it has a name that makes the media jump to attention.

Yes, the next president must save us from … Exxon.

You could substitute other Big Business names there, depending on the political climate, but this is the one today’s candidates are naming. In his February 12 speech, Barack Obama summoned voters to rise up against the Washington “game,” which allows this mighty enemy to triumph over the Little Guy and imperil the Earth.

“[I]t’s a game that ordinary Americans are losing,” he said. “It's a game where lobbyists write check after check and Exxon turns record profits, while you pay the price at the pump, and our planet is put at risk.”

Exxon is political gold, because it hits on several of voters’ key issues – the economy, energy, gas prices, even global warming. According to many politicians, Exxon and other oil companies are to blame for problems in all those areas – and thus, they must pay.

Hillary Clinton said earlier that she wanted to “take” oil companies’ profits. In a Valentine to her friends at Income Redistribution ’R’ Us, her February 14 press release declared: “In 2007, many of the largest oil companies recorded record profits. Exxon earned $40.6 billion, the highest profit for any U.S. company in history. Hillary believes it is time for oil companies to do their share in funding clean energy technologies.”

Labeling something someone’s “share” makes it sound only fair. And listen – the next line is that “She would give oil companies a choice.” What fairness! Except the choice is how to be taxed: “invest more in renewable energy technology or pay into a Strategic Energy Fund.”

Option No. 2 would fund “ethanol and other homegrown biofuels,” among other things – both strategies that have been debunked as viable, greenhouse-gas-reducing energy aids.

But when it’s not your money you’re throwing carelessly at something, who cares? It’s Big Oil’s money. Just ask NBC’s Brian Williams, who apparently wanted to see some pitchforks after Exxon announced its 2007 earnings.

“[J]ust common sense here, but I’m thinking $40 billion – that’s profit, that’s not what they made over the course of a year – might have something to do with what we’re paying per gallon,” Williams said on the February 1 “Nightly News.” “Why shouldn’t people be outraged to hear that?”

Amy Menefee

Amy Menefee is Director of Communications for Americans for Prosperity.
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Amy Menefee's column. Sign up today and receive daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.