Larry Kudlow

The number-one economic issue this election is gasoline prices at the pump. The tax-hike effect of surging oil on global markets that has translated to a huge spike at your local gas station has drained the economy of its vitality. It has damaged consumer purchasing power, made it tougher to pay mortgages on time, worsened the credit crunch, raised the inflation rate, undermined corporate profits, and thrown stocks into the first bear market in five years.

Of course, with all the political hoopla from the Denver Democrats, it’s easy to forget the populist revolt against high gas prices at the pump. Sen. Obama never mentioned skyrocketing pump prices or their devastating economic impact on ordinary working-class folks. But this is the energy election. It will determine our future peace and prosperity. And Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has the energy answer: Our abundant country can produce more energy at lower cost if government gets out of the way.

Coming from the natural-resource rich state of Alaska, Palin is an experienced energy expert. She knows more about the economics of energy than senators McCain, Obama, or Biden. And in this year of the oil-shock economy, Palin’s role will be absolutely crucial.

"Obama is way off-base on all that. I think those politicians who don’t understand that we need more domestic supply of energy flowing into our hungry markets [are] living in la-la land. And we’re in a world of hurt if they’re agenda continues to be to lock up these safe, secure, domestic supplies of energy."

That’s what Palin told me in a CNBC interview in late June. I call it drill, drill, drill. But in fact it’s a full-throated America-first energy policy that will create millions of high-paying jobs with complete government deregulation and decontrol of the full menu of energy sources: oil, natural gas, nuclear, clean coal, shale, and the alternative fuels of wind, solar, and cellulosic.

Why aren’t all the candidates talking like Palin? How can this great country put its future growth and prosperity in the hands of enemies like Tsar Vladimir Putin, Ahmadinejad, and Hugo Chavez. Well, get ready for Sarah America to take on the fight against all comers.

The plain-talking governor is even tough on John McCain. The senator has said it’s too pristine to drill in ANWR. But Palin told me in June that "Sen. McCain is wrong on that issue. . . . We’re talking about a sliver of the coastal plain of Alaska being explored and drilled for oil. It’s about a footprint of a 2,000-acre plot of land. That’s smaller than the footprint of LAX."

Larry Kudlow

Lawrence Kudlow is host of CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report,” which airs nightly from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.