That Republicans have, against the odds, won the first round of this debate is a remarkable feat. This initial triumph owes as much to Democratic ineptitude as it does to GOP savvy. It speaks to the fact that Democrats have been unable to rhetorically defend their environmental policy as sound energy policy....There's more. Read it. It's advice about what the Democrats should do now, but it doesn't seem any more convincing than the gambits that failed. Tell us to conserve — fine, but we still need oil. Tell us to develop alternate energy sources — fine, but we still need oil.
The Democrats' initial instinct was to revert to populism. They began wailing about the rapacity of "speculators." ... There was, however, a problem with this case: It simply wasn't true. Speculators weren't responsible for rising prices at the pump. And, beyond that, the public simply didn't believe this diagnosis. So the Democrats made their first adjustment. They began to broaden their populist diatribe and started attacking the likes of Exxon and the rest of the big oil companies. But, by that point, they were already losing the argument.
ADDED: I thought of a great energy conservation idea, much better than keeping your tires properly inflated. Don't use fossil-fuel burning transportation to go anywhere you don't have to go. That means: No vacations, nights out for fun, or pleasure drives into the country, no visits to family and friends that you can just as well telephone. No business trips, when you can use webcam communication. Don't go to the movies — watch TV. And don't buy anything that has been transported to you by the burning of fossil fuel unless you really need it. You can cut way back on your purchases of all sorts of items. You don't need another shirt or another toy for your child. And quit buying so much food. Since you are probably too fat anyway, this is a particularly good idea. All political candidates are welcome to use these ideas. You don't even need to link to me and acknowledge my contribution to this brilliant and immensely effective policy innovation. You can have it.