John, it is true that McCain made his life infinitely more difficult on energy policy, but it seems the Democrats are making it easier. After all, their immediate solutions are not solutions but simply efforts to tax and punish the oil producers. Those steps, as even the anemic McCain communications team can explain, do nothing to expand production or lower costs in the short run. Indeed, Barack Obama’s greatest political difficulty is that he keeps decrying short-term fixes without offering any hope of any short- or medium-term solution. Yes, it’s fine to spend $15 billion over ten years in new technologies. But the likelihood of anything productive coming from those efforts is unclear.
And frankly Obama isn’t coming up with any viable long-term solutions, like nuclear power, either. (He says he likes it in principle, but in practice–not so much. That’s why McCain is smart to champion a specific nuclear power plan.)So politicians can decry “gimmicks” all they want, and the gas tax holiday ranks up there as one of the cheesiest. But at some point you have to give the people some prospect of relief. You have to give them the audacity to hope. Right?