Sarah Palin has the an­swer on en­ergy

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

The No. 1 eco­nomic is­sue this elec­tion is gaso­line prices at the pump. The tax-hike ef­fect of surg­ing oil on global mar­kets that has trans­lated to a huge spike at your lo­cal gas sta­tion has drained the econ­omy of its vi­tal­ity. It has dam­aged con­sumer pur­chas­ing power, made it tougher to pay mortgages on time, wors­ened the credit crunch, raised the inflation rate, un­der­mined cor­po­rate prof­its and thrown stocks into the first bear mar­ket in five years.

Of course, with all the po­lit­i­cal hoopla from the Den­ver Democrats, it’s easy to for­get the pop­ulist re­volt against high gas prices at the pump. Barack Obama never men­tioned sky­rock­et­ing pump prices or their dev­as­tat­ing eco­nomic im­pact on or­di­nary work­ing-class folks. But this is the en­ergy elec­tion. It will de­ter­mine our fu­ture peace and pros­per­ity. And Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has the en­ergy an­swer: Our abun­dant coun­try can pro­duce more en­ergy at lower cost if gov­ern­ment gets out of the way.

Com­ing from the nat­u­ral-re­source rich state of Alaska, Mrs. Palin is an ex­pe­ri­enced en­ergy ex­pert. She knows more about the eco­nomics of en­ergy than Sens. McCain, Obama or Bi­den. And in this year of the oil-shock econ­omy, Mrs. Palin’s role will be ab­so­lutely cru­cial.

“Obama is way off-base on all that. I think those politi­cians who don’t un­der­stand that we need more do­mes­tic sup­ply of en­ergy flow­ing into our hun­gry mar­kets (are) liv­ing in la-la land. And we’re in a world of hurt if their agenda con­tin­ues to be to lock up th­ese safe, se­cure do­mes­tic sup­plies of en­ergy.”

That’s what Mrs. Palin told me in a CNBC in­ter­view in late June. I call it drill, drill, drill. But in fact it’s a full-throated Amer­ica-first en­ergy pol­icy that will cre­ate mil­lions of high-pay­ing jobs with com­plete gov­ern­ment dereg­u­la­tion and de­con­trol of the full menu of en­ergy sources: oil, nat­u­ral gas, nu­clear, clean coal, shale and the al­ter­na­tive fu­els of wind, so­lar and cel­lu­losic.

Why aren’t all the candidates talk­ing like Mrs. Palin? How can this great coun­try put its fu­ture growth and pros­per­ity in the hands of en­e­mies like Tsar Vladimir Putin, Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad and Hugo Chavez? Well, get ready for Sarah Amer­ica to take on the fight against all com­ers.

The plain-talk­ing gov­er­nor is even tough on John McCain. The se­na­tor has said it’s too pris­tine to drill in ANWR. But Mrs. Palin told me in June that “Sen. McCain is wrong on that is­sue. . . . We’re talk­ing about a sliver of the coastal plain of Alaska be­ing ex­plored and drilled for oil. It’s about a foot­print of a 2,000-acre plot of land. That’s smaller than the foot­print of LAX (Los An­ge­les’ air­port).”

Mrs. Palin was pleased that Mr. McCain came around on the Outer Con­ti­nen­tal Shelf. But she in­tended to talk him into ANWR. Ex­pect Mr. McCain to lis­ten care­fully. And she made this key point: The price of fuel will fall quickly in the ex­pec­ta­tion of more en­ergy sup­plies, just as soon as Wash­ing­ton per­mits.

And when I in­ter­viewed her again in late July, she was jus­ti­fi­ably fu­ri­ous that Congress was go­ing on sum­mer re­cess without a vote on rolling back its drilling mora­to­rium. “Well,” she said, “with all due re­spect to Congress, it’s pretty pa­thetic.” Mean­while, she was tak­ing action: Mrs. Palin had just got­ten the Alaska leg­is­la­ture to agree to a new nat­u­ral-gas pipe­line that was 30 years in the works.

The U.S. Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey es­ti­mates that there are nearly 100 bil­lion bar­rels of oil in the Arc­tic, with roughly one-third un­der sov­er­eign U.S. ter­ri­tory in Alaska. There are at least 10 bil­lion (and per­haps close to 20 bil­lion) bar­rels of oil in ANWR, while old es­ti­mates sug­gest be­tween 800 bil­lion and 2 tril­lion bar­rels of oil in the Rocky Moun­tain shale for­ma­tions.

It’s also worth not­ing that 1.8 bil­lion acres of the Outer Con­ti­nen­tal Shelf — with roughly 100 bil­lion bar­rels of re­cov­er­able oil and 400 tril­lion feet of nat­u­ral gas — are off-lim­its be­cause of the con­gres­sional mora­to­rium.

Mrs. Palin grasps the strate­gic im­por­tance of all th­ese do­mes­tic re­serves. She’s also a gov­er­nor who fully un­der­stands the en­er­gyand for­eign-pol­icy de­signs of Mr. Putin, who sits right across the pond from her na­tive Alaska.

Mean­while, Mr. Obama railed against drilling in his Den­ver con­ven­tion speech. He is op­posed to ANWR. And shale. And nu­clear power. He’s con­stantly bash­ing oil com­pa­nies. And all he talks about is a wind­fall prof­its tax. That’s why he has no real eco­nomic re­cov­ery plan. He has no in­ter­est in re­duc­ing gaso­line prices at the pump. He even spon­sored leg­is­la­tion to pre­vent 3-D seis­mic tech­nol­ogy and other re­search ef­forts to cor­rectly mea­sure our un­der­sea oil de­posits.

In other words, he just doesn’t get it.

That’s why the pro-life, tax­cut­ting, drill, drill, drill, fam­i­ly­cen­tered, cor­rup­tion re­former Sarah Palin will be a pow­er­ful weapon in this elec­tion. Don’t tell me she won’t make a dif­fer­ence this Novem­ber.

Lawrence Kud­low is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

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