Meanwhile, McCain and the Republicans have finally found an issue - oil drilling - exposing how the Democrats oppose drilling virtually anywhere that there might be recoverable oil. Not in Alaska. Not offshore. Not in shale deposits in the West. The Democratic claim that we “cannot drill our way out of the crisis in gas prices” begs the question of whether, had we drilled five years ago, we would be a lot less dependent on foreign market fluctuations.
The truth is that the Democrats put the need to mitigate climate change ahead of the imperative of holding down gasoline prices at the pump. If there was ever a fault line between elitist and populist approaches to a problem, this is it. In fact, liberals basically don’t see much wrong with $5 gas. Many have been urging a tax to achieve precisely this level, just like Europe has done for decades.
Obama said that he was unhappy that there was not a period of “gradual adjustment” to the high prices, but seems to shed few tears over the current levels. After all, if your imperative is climate change, a high gas price is worth 10 times a ratified Kyoto treaty in bringing about change.
Republicans can drive a truck through the gap between this elite opinion and the need for ordinary people to afford the journey to work in the morning. And, with a 16-state media buy, the Republican Party and the McCain campaign are doing precisely that.
If Obama softens his aversion to drilling, it may be the final straw for some of his liberal supporters. Where would they go? Nader is still a possibility. But McCain can attract liberal votes. He doesn’t need to bleed Obama only from the right. His own stands against drilling in Alaska and torture of terror suspects and for immigration reform make him suspect on the right, but quite acceptable to the left. If moderate liberals are disgusted by Obama’s obvious attempts at chicanery and repositioning, they might just cross the aisle.