Saturday, April 24, 2004

Extremely well put, by the Center for American Progress:

As a presidential candidate in 2000, then-Gov. George W. Bush promised that, if elected, he would use the full weight of the White House to pressure oil-producing countries to increase production if there was a gas-price crisis. He charged, "The president of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the price" and promised that as president he would "convince them to open up the spigot to increase the supply." Yet, when Saudi Arabia led the fight within OPEC last month to cut production and raise prices, the president "refused to lean on the oil cartel" and refused to even "personally lobby OPEC leaders to change their minds." Now, with esteemed journalist Bob Woodward reporting that the Bush administration and top Saudi officials agreed to manipulate oil prices in conjunction with the 2004 election, President Bush's passivity towards Saudi Arabia is raising disturbing questions.

For months now, it struck me as odd that during an election year, you would figure the incumbent president would raise somewhat of a stink over rising gas-at-the-pump prices. It's a no-brainer political posturing issue. The President publicly states "it's an outrage!" to at least look like he cares about the woes of average Americans. Yet, Bush has been silent on the matter.

I thought that given such rising prices serve effectively as a regressive tax, it figured that Bush would not care (his concerns are with the top 1% wage earners). Or perhaps that such rising prices translated into more profits for his oil industry buddies, again explaining the silence. But with Woodward's revelation that this surge in oil prices was by Saudi design, allegedly known by Bush, it all now makes sense. With pump prices broaching the $2 per gallon level, causing gas-guzzling SUV & minivan owners to scream and holler, it would just make the relief that much more noticeable and welcomed when Saudi Arabia opened the spigots to dramatically lower prices -- with Bush then likely taking credit (claiming it was his behind-the-scenes negotiations that did the job). Gads, you can just see Rove praising this repulsive plan.

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