- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 13, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

OP-ED:

In the name of protecting the environment from increased gas consumption, Democratic leaders oppose the price-cutting strategy of more off-shore drilling while concurrently arguing that OPEC should do it for us. Doesn’t this neutralize the very environmental protection they’re hoping to secure by opposing domestic drilling?

It’s like we’re in a bizarre segment of Jeopardy: “Alex, I’ll take schizophrenia for $200.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, wrote a March 13 letter to Vice President Dick Cheney telling him to use the president’s “considerable influence with OPEC nations to encourage oil producing countries to increase their oil production.” If she supports more production anyway, why not have it originate in America where it can better cut fuel costs and reduce spillage through transport? And spare me Mrs. Pelosi’s shell-game insistence, as she argued recently on ABC’s “This Week,” that U.S. oil companies can already drill on 68 million acres of leased government land. Most geologists understand that those resources are diminutive and far less accessible when juxtaposed to the immense supplies to be enjoyed off the Outer Continental Shelf.

The speaker also contends that drilling now wouldn’t yield results for another 10 years - a position frequently echoed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat. Of course, by their own measure, this means that we could be swimming in surplus oil right now had we ignored them a decade ago when they said the same thing.

Add this to their astonishing interference with oil-shale opportunities throughout Utah, Wyoming and Colorado (which exceed the reserves in Saudi Arabia), and you’re left with a party that could never survive public scrutiny were it not for the media’s allegiance to them.

(On July 23, Investors Business Daily reported a 15-1 ratio of correspondents donating to Democratic candidates over Republicans. On July 27, the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s Campaign Coverage Index found that since June, Democratic presumptive nominee Barack Obama has been a dominant factor in about 80 percent of the campaign coverage vs. the 52 percent given to Republican presumptive nominee John McCain.) Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid additionally assert that we should start reining in speculators vs. raising off-shore production. However, if soaring prices are triggered by speculators predicating their investments on the assumption of low supply, then wouldn’t replacing that belief with a perception of increased supply accordingly reduce those prices? You can’t have one without the other.

Leading Democrats also assert that unless we keep the prices high, we’ll lack the incentive to go with alternative fuels - hence the need to keep up the pressure. Characteristic of this media-political mindset was a June 10 interview in which CNBC’s John Harwood asked Mr. Obama if high gas prices are “a line incentive so that we do shift to alternative means of energy.”

Mr. Obama immediately said, “Well, I think that we have been slow to move in a better direction when it comes to energy usage.” He further added that, “we’ve been consuming energy as if it’s infinite,” and that we’re “outstripping supply with China and India growing as rapidly as they are.” The anchor then asked, “So, could these high prices help us?” Mr. Obama answered, “I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment.”

Rep. Michael Burgess, Texas Republican and a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, recently told me that, “Democrats won’t admit that we can reduce prices at the pump while still pursuing wind, solar and hydrogen sources.” This perspective is shared by 70-plus percent of the respondents in virtually every poll on the subject.

These realities naturally scream a question: Why are Democrats so doggedly against getting what they want unless they also get to lessen personal economies in the process? The reason is heartbreakingly self-evident - cheaper energy fuels individual prosperity, and that renders their socialistic agenda far less attractive.

Socialist politicians gain power over the wealth of a nation whenever its own gate-keeping citizens are gullible enough to relinquish their independence in exchange for authoritarian protectionism.

Their dependency formula is best illustrated by looking at kids going to college: The extent to which they’re reliant upon their parents for money is the same degree to which they’re answerable to them - no difference.

Show me a socialist-leaning Democrat (the kind that now dominates the party), and I’ll show you a person with “mommy and daddy” issues.

Alan Nathan is a columnist and the nationally syndicated host of “Battle Line With Alan Nathan.”

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