We can do without Libya’s two million barrels a day of oil albeit with significant disruptions in the global economy. But if we lose Saudi Arabia’s nine million, we will face a global catastrophe.
And the Saudi monarchy will be the next casualty of the Middle East revolutionary wave. The king is 86 years old and very ill. The next two men in line are both over 80 and both sick. And, behind those three in line are 7,000 princes, each ambitious and at war with one another. The monarchy will not be able to buy off the opposition for long with cash subsidies. (We are indebted to Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal for these insights).
The fall of Saudi Arabia will accelerate the stagflation that will mar the final two years of the one-term Obama Presidency.
Republicans need to ratchet up their rhetoric about new drilling for oil. The 2008 liberal counter-argument that new drilling is not a short term solution begs the question of why the Administration has not used the intervening two years to effectuate the longer term solution that it offered.
Republicans need to be more vocal in criticizing the Administration for its defacto moratorium on off-shore drilling. Obama’s people are so sensitive to these criticisms that they just approved the first permit since the BP spill.
Republicans must call for reining in the regulatory hoops that on-shore slate drilling has to go through to get approval.
Republicans should press for much, much shorter approval times for nuclear power and a ban on EPA regulation and taxation of carbon and coal.
The Party should attack Obama’s proposed elimination of the Oil Depletion Allowance and other energy tax breaks and make clear that these incentives are vital for new energy development.
Finally, the Republicans should resurrect the issue of drilling in the ANWR Preserve in Alaska.
Sarah Palin should take the lead in this critique since energy development is her major field of real substantive expertise. It is an ideal opportunity for her to speak to a broader constituency.
Republicans should also propose a moratorium on the federal gas tax by passing legislation in the House to trigger a reduction once gas goes above $4 and total suspension if it rises above $5 per gallon. When the price drops again below $4, the gas tax can come back on line. Such a proposal will mean a cessation of campaign funding from highway contractors, but so be it.
Obama’s opposition to fossil fuels is his real Achilles Heel. At some level of gas prices, everybody is for fossil fuel development. Nobody is “green” at $6 a gallon!