Big oil guz­zlers, the anti-oil left, and big oil

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Bill O’Reilly

So now we have the pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates run­ning around telling vot­ers that they will help solve the prob­lem of high gas prices. Well, if you be­lieve that, you’ll be­lieve that Hugo Chavez drives a Yugo. It’s just bull.

Both Hil­lary Clin­ton and Barack Obama are call­ing for “in­ves­ti­ga­tions” into “price goug­ing” by Amer­i­can oil com­pa­nies. Good. There’s plenty of price ma­nip­u­la­tion go­ing on and, un­der Pres­i­dents Bush and Clin­ton, lit­tle fed­eral over­sight. If a big oil com­pany wants to tighten sup­ply, for ex­am­ple, it’s a snap. Just slow down the re­fin­ery process by or­der­ing ex­tra “main­te­nance” or some­thing.

But who is go­ing to in­ves­ti­gate Sens. Obama and Clin­ton on their op­po­si­tion to oil drilling? The Demo­cratic Party has con­sis­tently op­posed new drilling and nu­clear en­ergy, as well. Even the ded­i­cated lib­eral gov­ern­ments in France and Swe­den bought into nu­clear. But not the Amer­i­can left, no way.

On the Repub­li­can side, Mr. Bush has done ab­so­lutely noth­ing about ris­ing gas prices, which is part of the rea­son his ap­proval rat­ing is ap­proach­ing 20 per­cent. He blames the Democrats. Fine. But the pres­i­dent should be telling all Amer­i­cans to cut back their gas con­sump­tion by 15 per­cent. He should be urg­ing us to use less gas. That would at least cut into big oil’s record profit mar­gins.

Sen. John McCain pro­poses a gas tax “hol­i­day” this sum­mer. True, that would save the folks a few bucks, but it would also add to the mas­sive spend­ing deficit. The gov­ern­ment bet­ter start bal­anc­ing the bud­get soon, be­fore Haa­gen-Dazs be­comes more valu­able than the U.S. cur­rency.

The sad truth is that both po­lit­i­cal par­ties have sold out the folks. For decades, economists knew China and In­dia were in­dus­tri­al­iz­ing, and that those coun­tries would de­mand much greater amounts of oil. Ev­ery­body knew that OPEC would slow down pro­duc­tion and gouge the world if it could, and of course, now it can.

But if Amer­i­cans would get an­gry and be­gin pun­ish­ing the oil ban­dits, prices would drop. How­ever, we are of­ten a self­ish peo­ple. We want those gas-guz­zling Hum­mers and SUVs, and we’re pay­ing a big price for that, above and be­yond the sticker.

If I were pres­i­dent, I’d be on ev­ery pro­gram, lead­ing the charge to buy less gas, urg­ing folks to con­serve en­ergy in creative ways. I’d cre­ate peer pres­sure against the guz­zle crowd. I’d name the names of greedy oil com­pany CEOs mak­ing tens of mil­lions of dol­lars while work­ing folks suf­fer.

We need lead­er­ship on this en­ergy busi­ness or it is go­ing to crip­ple our econ­omy. Our en­ergy in­com­pe­tence has al­ready em- pow­ered our en­e­mies.

So let’s get an­gry out there. We the peo­ple can do this. Big oil is not look­ing out for us. Let’s stop re­ward­ing it.

Bill O’Reilly is a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated colum­nist.

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