Kyl: Obama Is Dr. No
There were some great moments in today’s McCain campaign conference call with reporters, featuring Arizona’s other senator, Jon Kyl and former CIA Director James Woolsey. First, it’s official: Sen. Barack Obama will be known forevermore — or at least until somebody at McCain HQ thinks of something else — as "Dr. No." I said yesterday I couldn’t wait for the James Bond-themed ads. Thankfully, I didn’t have to. The first one came out today.
During the call, even Kyl got in on the "Dr. No" action:
"Contrasted with Sen. [John] McCain’s balanced approach of more production and less use, you have ‘Dr. No,’ or as we in the Senate are referring to it, as a mantra of ‘No, we can’t.’ No, we can’t drill offshore. No, we can’t drill the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. No, we can’t do oil shale. Of course, he said he’s not a proponent of nuclear [energy], so no, we can’t do that. He’s even said, ‘No, we shouldn’t do a reward for the technology improvement for a battery that would allow people to use those kind of vehicles.’ It’s a very negative approach, which basically says there are no answers to the hurt that Americans are suffering right now. It’s up to leaders to come up with answers, and that’s what John McCain has done."
Doug Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s senior economic adviser, chided Obama for not understanding how offshore oil exploration will help to bring down oil prices:
"Sen. Obama might want to take a time out to talk to his economic advisers. Futures markets are driven by expectations…and a strong initiative to expand future supplies has an unmistakable impact on the psychology of those traders about future stock prices and by definition the futures market translates immediately into changes in the entire set of future prices — from five years in the future to the present. The arithmetic of modern finance is something that certainly should not be debatable."
This was followed by a delightful exchange with CNN’s Frank Sesno, who asked Holtz-Eakin to cite an actual example of this "unmistakable impact on the psychology" of futures traders. Holtz-Eakin responded by pointing to the reverse situation, saying, "when we see even the potential for a cutoff in world oil supplies…you see an immediate translation in spikes in prices." Sesno, not satisfied, pressed for an example of the phenomenon that Holtz-Eakin had described. The economist then said that the previously undebatable point was an untested experiment:
"For the United States, the reality is we haven’t been aggressive in opening exploration, so we haven’t been able to run the experiment, which is imperative for the American people right now."
Woolsey came to Holtz-Eakin’s aid with some rambling comments about how we’d be in worse shape if we didn’t drill in the Gulf of Mexico, and how new technologies will make offshore drilling easier and safer, before being saved by the moderator who asked for the next question.
Finally, Kyl closed it out with this little dandy:
"Sen. McCain recognizes that because of the emergency situation that people are in right now, we need a balance of things that can have an immediate impact, that can have a medium-term impact, and that can have a long-term impact. On production, for example, I know one of the arguments is it will take three to seven years, maybe 10 years. I’ve never gotten to a goal if I didn’t start the journey at some point. Everybody knows we would have oil coming out of [the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] had President Clinton not vetoed that 10 years ago."
Psssst. Sen. Kyl, do you know who else opposes drilling in ANWR? McCain. You know, the guy on whose behalf you are speaking to reporters. He said so as recently as Monday. In the future, you might want to stay on message and ix-nay on the ANWR-skay.