Sen. Hillary Clinton sometimes talks as if she wants oil and gas to be cheap and abundant, but she never stops working to make them expensive and scarce.
But there's a key to predicting when she will start gushing about America's need for inexpensive fossil fuels. Call it Hillary's hurricane rule: When a storm interrupts oil and gas supplies from the Gulf Coast, she becomes an instant gas-pump populist.
Flash back to Sept. 28, 2004. A headline in that day's New York Times read: "Oil Nears $50 as Gulf Storms Curtail Output." Crude oil, it said, had hit its highest price since oil began trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange in 1983.
Noting that the Gulf region provides a quarter of domestic oil production, the report attributed the high price of crude to a tight margin between global supply and demand, reports of political instability in foreign oil-producing regions and the fact "that one-third of daily production in the Gulf of Mexico is still being disrupted from the effects of Hurricane Ivan," which had struck the week before.
Mrs. Clinton seems to have read this report. "This is the highest price per barrel of oil since oil began trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange 21 years ago," she said that day.
But while lamenting that the average driver would "pay $300 more for gas this year than last," she did not blame tight supplies or Hurricane Ivan. She blamed "big oil" and the current administration's energy policy. "(W)e've seen big oil's profits continue to go up," she said. "It's clear that our dependence on foreign oil and the lack of an energetic energy policy to move us from dependence to independence has taken a toll on us."
So, what has Mrs. Clinton done as a U.S. senator to decrease dependence on foreign oil and advance an "energetic" energy policy?
She has opposed drilling in any part of the massive Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). She has opposed new drilling off our coasts. She has even opposed drilling for natural gas in New York's Finger Lakes National Forest, co-sponsoring a bill that would permanently ban such drilling.
Except when hurricanes cause sudden spikes in oil prices, Mrs. Clinton finds it politically expedient to tailor both her rhetoric and actions to the elitist aims of her environmentalist friends.
"I have voted against opening (ANWR) to drilling at every opportunity during my time in the Senate," she boasts on her website.