Timing is everything, as the old saying goes, and no political issue depends on timing as much as that of energy. When prices for gasoline at the pump are high, energy climbs to the top of the electorate's list of concerns, but when prices are low, people tend not to think about it. If the price at the pump continues to climb and stays high through the summer, it will be very much on the minds of voters. And that will play to the strength of Sarah Palin's hand, as Scott Conroy recently observed at RealClearPolitics:
It would be difficult for Palin's GOP rivals, and even her Democratic critics, to deny that energy issues fall directly into the wheelhouse of the former Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commissioner who went on to lead a state where almost 90 percent of the budget is funded by oil revenue. As Tina Fey might say, Palin can see oil pipelines from her house.It has not escaped Gov. Palin's attention. She tweeted Tuesday:
During an appearance on Fox News last weekend, Palin nodded in anticipation and smiled confidently as host Jeanine Pirro lined up a question about what the government should do about rising gas prices.
Speaking with unbridled relish, Palin replied that opening the strategic oil reserves was not the solution to the problem and reverted to her old mantra that the government should "drill here and drill now" before going into a more in-depth criticism of the Obama administration's energy policies.
"Back in '08, our U.S. crude also was trading at about $100 a barrel as it is today for about six months, and that was right before our world economy imploded," Palin said. "And now here we are back again, so [Obama's] timing - his destructive timing - of locking up 97 percent of our off-shore and not allowing ANWR to be touched, not allowing domestic drilling to take place to the degree that it should, it is terrifying where he is leading us in terms of being at the mercy of foreign regimes that would seek our demise to produce energy for us."
As Palin continues to generate criticism from those who frequently suggest that she has not demonstrated a thorough understanding of the issues facing the country, the energy topic could offer a prime opportunity for her to prove them wrong.
As she continues to mull a presidential run, Palin figures to take particular note that energy issues figure to loom especially large in the nation's first voting state of Iowa.
Obama's so wrong on energy/scary wrong on oil;AK alone w/billions bbls & trillions cu ft of nat gas.(Other states, too) http://bit.ly/hX5AzTHer link points to this Investors.com article showing the results of its latest poll, which clearly demonstrates that Americans' attitudes about domestic drilling are very much in sync with what she has been saying for years:
With the price of gas up 39 cents at the pump in a month and heading higher amid turmoil in much of the Middle East, Americans wonder why the U.S. isn't doing more to exploit its own oil resources.Though most Americans relate to the energy issue as an economic one, Gov. Palin has often pointed out that energy trancends the economy. It is a national security issue. Our military depends on a stable source of petroleum products to fuel jets, tanks, trucks and many of its ships. When that supply is interrupted, the military can't move. That's why our national strategic petroleum reserve exists. It's there for the military to draw from if its supply is suddenly cut off or significantly reduced. It's not there to tap every time prices get near or above the four dollar level, something Sarah Palin understands, but President Obama does not.
They favor drilling in territorial waters, 67%-29%, according to a new IBD/TIPP poll. That is up from 61%-30% from last May and 64%-25% when Republicans touted drilling in the 2008 election as oil topped $147 a barrel.
There's also been a solid shift toward drilling in Alaska's Arc tic National Wildlife Refuge, with support at 54%-40%. That's up from 49%-43% last year.
A solid 65%-21% favor tapping federal shale reserves in states like Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, off just slightly from May.
"Americans understand we rely heavily on oil imported from the Middle East and the recent events cause concern and uncertainties in their minds," said Raghavan Mayur, president of Technometrica Market Intelligence, which conducted the poll.
Energy security is one more reason why our nation sorely needs a national energy plan which draws on "all of the above" sources, but includes a serious commitment to explore and produce much more oil and natural gas domestically. Besides, we could use the jobs which would be created, addressing another key concern on the minds of the electorate.
Sarah Palin's vehicle to the White House may have just pulled up to the gasoline pump, and that has to weigh heavily on her decision to run or not to run. No other candidate for 2012 knows this issue as well as she, and it's a club she can use to beat up on an incumbent president who has done nothing to reduce energy prices or increase domestic production, so beholden is he to the green lobby. High oil prices are knocking on that door of opportunity she has spoken of, and her time to make history may be waiting on the other side.
Related - David Paul Kuhn: Could Gas Prices Sink Obama's Reelection?