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We may have the most gymnastic presidential candidate ever fielded in modern American history. John Kerry has mastered the art of the flip-flop, changing positions with blinding speed on such issues as the war in Iraq, funding the troops, gay marriage, and corporate taxation. Now Kerry has changed positions on the gas tax in a desperate bid to find an issue on which to recapture any momentum possible to reverse his free-falling poll numbers:
Seeking to drive down crude oil prices, the Massachusetts Democrat called for a policy in which the United States applies greater pressure on oil-producing nations to increase production and said U.S. officials should temporarily suspend filling U.S. oil reserves. ... Kerry argued that diverting oil intended for U.S. reserves directly to the market will help depress gas prices, although analysts say that probably would have a negligible effect. ...
The political ad released today by the Bush campaign contends that Kerry supported raising the gas tax 11 times in Congress and backed a 50 cent a gallon tax increase.
In 1994, Kerry publicly supported, but did not vote for, a 50 cent per gallon increase in the gas tax, as one way to help balance the federal budget. Soon after, Kerry backed away from that idea and, as a presidential candidate, now opposes any increase. He did vote several times for a smaller increases in the gas tax in 1993.
Then there's also this silly sort of flip-flop that just puts a bit of icing on the cake:
Kerry has no plans to deviate from his new strategy of focusing on domestic policies and staying generally more positive than Bush in ads, the strategist said. There are no plans for a more aggressive Kerry push back.
Yet in speeches, Kerry is often harshly critical of Bush. At a fundraiser Monday night in San Francisco, Kerry said, "It is a disgrace that this president and his party traffic in prejudice against gays and lesbians and others in this country." Wade said the "others" includes African-Americans, citing Bush's position on affirmative action and appearance at Bob Jones University in 2000.
Yes, I can see how calling Bush a racist bigot maintains Kerry's facade as the more "positive" campaigner.
The problem with gas prices is not just crude-oil supply, although that certainly has an impact. Despite what Kerry says about ANWR, domestic drilling would relieve pricing pressures to a degree and allow the US to bargain more effectively with OPEC. Kerry wants it both ways -- he takes the administration to task for not being tougher on OPEC but then sides with environmentalists in tying both of Bush's hands behind his back. Until we have the political will to produce our own oil, OPEC will continue to play hardball with us. This dynamic was proved out in the Reagan administration, which encouraged domestic oil production and broke OPEC's back on pricing, leading to several years of inexpensive fuel costs.
But the other problem the US faces is refinery capacity. The US has built no new refineries in 30 years, thanks to the efforts of environmentalists that have protested each proposed facility. Whenever a refinery experiences a temporary shutdiwn, as a major Midwestern facility did a couple of years ago, regional prices shoot through the roof as fuel must be shipped in to cover the shortfall, usually from the Gulf Coast. A President Kerry beholden to environmental interests would likely be highly unwilling to correct this problem. In fact, a President Kerry would likely be part of the problem.
Until we address a realistic and non-hypocritical view of supporting our own needs for oil production, gas prices will remain high, and Kerry has no realistic proposals for lowering them.Sphere It View blog reactions
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