Democrats Make Energy A National Security Issue
This Blog, last week:
(W)hy canít the Democrats now use the national security angle to browbeat Bush and Cheney over energy and take advantage of the opportunity provided by the Energy Future Coalition?...It is an issue that can really separate Democrats from the hidebound and oil-industry beholden GOP in 2006 and beyond.
Will Democrats seize this opportunity to beat up Bush and Cheney for being weak on national security, terrorism, and for abdicating their responsibilities to all Americans on energy independence?
The New York Times, this morning:
But steep increases in gasoline prices tend to have repercussions as much political as economic.
"This is not just an economic problem," said Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster. "It is also, in the public judgment, a national security problem. There is a widespread belief in the country that the problem could be solved or a real dent made in it, but that this administration, because it is tied to big oil, is unwilling to take the steps necessary to reduce our dependence on foreign oil."
The rise in oil and gasoline prices could also provide another reason for the nation to embrace Mr. Bush's call for the spread of democracy in the Middle East, a source of nearly 20 percent of the nation's oil. A more stable, democratic Middle East would presumably reduce concerns about interruptions in the flow of oil.
For now, though, the first signs that the seeds of democracy are germinating in the region are being accompanied not by lower crude oil prices but by near-record highs.
And Democrats say they intend to use gasoline prices to reopen issues they have previously invoked to hold up the Bush energy bill, among them their call for an increase in fuel economy standards.
A nimble opposition is an effective opposition.