Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Energy Revolt of 2008?

I've argued so many times now that Barack Osama is the reincarnation of Jimmy Carter that it's old news these days ("Windfall profits" tax? come on!). I can't ignore though, the similarities between today and the late 70's (aside from the music, jeez, if I hear one more Foreigner song I'm gonna heave!).

Now these similarities have just become, well, weird: Perhaps the Gipper himself will make one last siren call from the great beyond. Unilateral surrender to our enemies? Been there, done that. Save gas and rescue our nation by wearing a sweater? Er, I mean pumping up your tires? Been there, done that. America won't elect a quasi-communistic, anti capitalist, America loathing liberal wussy again; no way, no how. Anything is possible now, even a McCain landslide...T

Larry Kudlow makes an interesting suggestion in his article on NRO:

As Sen. John McCain and the GOP leadership nationalize the drill, drill, drill message, the Republican party might conceivably be riding a summer political rally. The question of offshore drilling, along with expanded domestic energy production, has suddenly become the biggest political and economic wedge issue of this election....There is a voter revolt going on, and it reminds me of the anti-tax rebellion that lifted Ronald Reagan into office twenty-eight years ago. Is the conventional wisdom about to be swept away?...

Without even realizing it, the GOP drilling offensive has become a new contract with America. And it appears to be working. The public is putting aside global warming and choosing instead new-energy production, a stronger economy, and more job creation. Voters want growth, not austerity. They want Ronald Reagan, not Thomas Malthus. And by resisting this grassroots call, the Democratic party is digging itself into one of the biggest political dry holes in history.

I've had the contrarian instinct for a while that global warming had peaked (both substantively and politically) as an issue. Al Gore's Nobel Prize felt like a pretty good contrarian indicator. And now the drilling issue is beginning to feel a little like tax cuts thirty years ago--key to, and emblematic of, a pro-growth, populist/capitalist/anti-declinist agenda. Obama's tire gauge is reminiscent of Jimmy Carter's sweater. And leave aside the tax revolt analogy; it's worth remembering that energy itself was an issue in 1980. Reagan took what seemed at first a politically dicey drill/deregulate position, and ended up clobbering Carter and being vindicated by the policy of deregulation.

Wishful thinking? Or the lessons of history?
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