March 31, 2004

It's A New Track Record!

John F'n Kerry is infamous for being on both sides of about every issue at one time or another, but this is a new low even for him:

The presumptive Democratic nominee complained that Bush has not taken steps to drive prices down, calling on the administration to stop pumping oil into the nation's emergency stockpile until Americans see cheaper prices. The administration has rejected that notion.
Just because Clinton dipped into the strategic reserve during his term to artificially depress pump prices doesn't mean it's a good thing (I think, but don't have the info to prove it yet, that if Clinton hadn't done that, Bush wouldn't be in the position of having to put it back now!). I think the President is being smart here by trying to replenish as much as can be done before OPEC's scheduled production slowdown.

Eight paragraphs later:

Kerry also raised the specter of the uncertainty in the Middle East in light of the Iraq war, saying, "no young American in uniform ought to ever be held hostage to America's dependence on oil from the Middle East."
First, there's no connection. It's not like we seized Iraq in order to steal its oil (despite what the Communists at ANSWER try to tell you). Second, we're buying the oil to replenish the reserve so we're not dependent on oil from the Middle East in the event they try to screw us like they did in 1973. There's nontrivial logical gymnastics involved in being on both sides of an issue while simultaneously claiming your opponent is wrong both times.

Update: Jon Henke has a better analysis of this, with a couple of points I haven't thought of: mainly, if we start dipping into the SPR for non-emergency reasons, it encourages US oil companies to reduce their inventory (since they know they would be able to count on the SPR to cover the shortage). It also encourages OPEC to reduce their production, to keep prices where they want them to be.

Posted by Chris at March 31, 2004 09:12 AM

Category: Political Stupidity