Leadership vs. Political Opportunists
When I heard news that the Bush administration was releasing the Strategic Petroleum Reserves I had a couple of different reactions. The first was, good. Now is the time when it is needed most. Suppy has been disrupted heavily in the Gulf and this is a prudent decision all the way around.
The other thing I thought of was how all the political opportunists in the Democrat Party have been calling for use of the Strategic Reserves since oil rose above $34 per barrel. Releasing the reserves at that point would only be strategic for their political ambitions. The security of the country is a mere afterthought to these people.
They were predicting economic catastrophe to the American consumer with $40/barrel oil. What does it say about their understanding of the economy when we have a GDP growth rate just under 4%, the best in the industrialized world? And this is during the time when oil has risen from $40 to $70 per barrel. They are either clueless, political opportunists, or both.
The Strategic Reserves are simply a political weapon to Democrats. Has been for a long time.
Flash back to the 2000 election,
Al Gore, September 21, 2000 (Cost of a barrel of oil, $34)
"We ought to start with several releases of five million barrels each, and assuming that is successful, we should continue with these swaps in an effort to stabilize the price of oil at lower levels and help consumers."
The reserve, Bush said, "is an insurance policy meant for sudden disruptions of the oil supply or for war. It should not be used for short-term political gain ... at the expense of national security."
How prescient is that? That is the difference between leadership and political opportunists.
May,2004 (Cost of a gallon of gas, $2.00)
"These out-of-control prices are burning a hole in Americans' wallets," said Senator Schumer. "They are putting at risk the economic recovery and the administration insists on throwing fuel on the fire [making the situation worse]. So what are we doing? We are calling on the president to use our one ace in the hole [perfect solution]. The one way we can stop OPEC [Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries] and big oil from raising prices through the roof and that is by releasing some oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve."
May 2004 (Cost of a barrel, $42)
Half a dozen Senate Democrats plan to call on Bush today to begin releasing as many as 60 million barrels of oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve.These people cannot be trusted to leadership positions in government. Their first priority is to achieve power. They have demonstrated time and again that they cannot make tough, unpopular decisions. They just don't have the stomach (ie: courage) to go against short-term public opinion.
Where would we be if they got their wish?