Oil, The Real Issue In The 2000 Presidential Race
Oil prices are at a 10 year high. It is the most expensive since Iraq invaded Kuwait a decade ago. The plunging Euro has made prices so high in Europe, that there are widespread popular protests against the high cost of fuel in the European Community, now spreading to Israel. Europeans, enough of whom have visited the United States, know that they can not compete economically while paying sky high oil prices, 70% of which is taxes.
The problem of the day in the U.S. is the more than 80 people who have been killed in SUV's (sport utility vehicles) because of defective tires. (Maybe it's the idea of the SUV which is defective.)
In the '50's and '60's, the capitalist west boasted of its superiority to communism because people living under that system had to wait in lines for scarce consumer goods and empty shelves. Today in the United States, traffic has become so bad that people wait in lines to turn into the mall to enter stores that are packed to the gills with imported manufactured items. While waiting in lines, some drivers get mad. This is called road rage, a term of art to describe the frustration brought on by the annoyances of driving. Many drivers are making up their own rules, running stop signs, making left turns from right lanes. It's like there's a rebellion on the road. Everyone sees there aren't enough police to ticket everyone, so why not just go ahead?
Did the American voters demonstrate more foresight than most people give them credit for when they fashioned a presidential race between oil executives and the author of Earth In The Balance? Bush-Cheney, who have spent a good part of their lives in the oil industry. Former President Bush was in the oil business, a representative from Houston, and as a public official devoted much of his energies to ensuring a steady source of supply from the Middle East. Dick Cheney's most recent job was as an executive at Schlumberger, the oil exploration company.
Bushes Democratic opponent, Vice-President Al Gore, wrote a book called EARTH IN THE BALANCE, an environmental tract which makes a strong case for curbing the greenhouse gases produced by cars and trucks. Gore chose Senator Joseph Lieberman, the first person of the Jewish faith to become a national candidate on a major party ticket. The Jewish state of Israel's independence and security is a major element in the political mix that determines American foreign policy toward the big oil exporters in the Middle East.
Even Reform Party candidate, Pat Buchanan, is contributing to this debate by injecting a note of anti-Zionism into the race. And GREEN Party candidate, Ralph Nader, who should be talking about this issue and forcing Gore and Bush to tell the voters their stands on this critically important subject, is talking about corporate power, instead. No wonder Nader's poll numbers are going through the floor.
All elections are somewhat about the candidates' ability to listen to the voters. Just as Bushes failure to heed the will of the Republican voters and choose John McCain as the Vice-Presidential candidate will be a major cause of his defeat if he loses, so too the American and world media's inability to see the clear expression of the voters and non-voters that the price of oil and the way it is used is the major issue in the 2000 presidential election. Bush and Gore have got to start to honestly debate their positions on the price and use of oil for this election not to be wasted.
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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf