Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Please Sir Can I Have Some More?

Imagine the President of the United States of America, with hat in hand, begging the leader of a third world country for anything. Today George W Bush did just that.

From ABC News:

Bush Asks Saudi King to Open Oil Spigots
Makes Personal Appeal After Public Rejection

One hour after his plea for more Saudi oil was publicly rejected by the kingdom's oil minister, President Bush made a private visit to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to again ask him to open the spigots.

The White House revealed Bush's private meeting with the Saudi monarch to reporters aboard Air Force One as the president flew to Egypt on the next leg of his Mideast trip.


Earlier Tuesday, Bush made his case for having OPEC, and particularly American ally Saudi Arabia, increase oil production as the price of gas hovers around $3 a gallon.

The Saudi oil minister, however, waited only a short time before announcing that oil prices would remain tied to market forces — a direct slap at Bush.

The president went over the head of the oil minister and made his case to King Abdullah and White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said the private conversation may have yielded some daylight in the Saudis' hard-line stance.

"The king says that he understands the situation. He's worried about high oil prices and how they can negatively affect economies around the world," Perino said aboard the presidential jetliner. "The president said there's a hope that as a result of these conversations that OPEC would be encouraged to authorize an increase in production … to help deal with the tight supply problems in this time when we have growing economies across the world, especially in China."

Simply put OPEC isn't going to increase supply until high prices drive down demand enough so that they start losing money. And they'll keep playing that game until we actually knuckle down and start moving towards true energy diversity/independence. Until that happens president after president will have to beg for more oil. Until we elect leaders that will do more than subsidize corn farmers and promote the agenda of lobbyists (for example the nuclear power companies or coal companies) this problem isn't going to get solved anytime soon.

We need leaders that understand the connection between oil consumption and terrorism (and/or global warming). That means electing leaders on a federal, state, and city level that will promote public transportation, increased energy efficiency, renewable energy (particularly switchgrass based ethanol), and eschew money from lobbyists. Where will find such leaders? I'm not sure. But we can start by voting for those that we believe are both pragmatic and principled and work our way from there.

Of course until that happens we could actually opt to bite the bullet and conserve.

h/t to Done With Mirrors

**Note** I originally screwed up and typed W's dad's name when I posted. I suck at both names and typing.