“What do you think are some of the important issues in this year’s presidential election?”
My question was off-topic from the stated purpose of the interview, and my talk show guest seemed a bit caught off-guard. But I was even more surprised by his answer.
It was early in the year 2000. Vice President Al Gore was ramping-up his presidential bid, while a bunch of Republicans were slugging it out for a chance to run against him. And although the dot com economic bubble was looking like it might be headed for a burst, the American economy was still relatively stable – certainly more so than it is now.
“Well, our lack of a coherent energy policy is a huge issue right now” noted the famous automotive revolutionary Lee Iacocca. Gasoline was averaging only $1.50 a gallon at the time, and Iacocca was visiting my hometown of Phoenix to unveil his then-new electric bicycle invention. But he was willing to venture in to a discussion of presidential politics – and “energy policies” were top of mind for him.
“When I was running Chrysler I tried to get Presidents Carter and Reagan to focus on this, but when foreign oil is cheap it’s just too easy to play politics and to ignore the problem of foreign oil dependency” he continued. “One of these days America is going to end up in big trouble if we don’t make some changes…”
That was twelve years ago. And today we are in trouble – have we been “playing politics” all these years? - as yet another spike in foreign oil prices threatens our economy. And, just like in 2008, Barack Obama is once again running a campaign for the presidency in an environment of spiking fuel prices - only this time he’s the incumbent and not the outsider.
The price increases have become so burdensome that the President can no longer ignore them. Last Thursday he stated that “some politicians, they see this as a political opportunity,” and noted a headline from “one newspaper” which supposedly indicated that “Republicans are licking their chops” over rising gas prices. “Only in politics do people root for bad news” President Obama growled to his audience.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.