Both John McCain and Barack Obama have been terribly slow to pick up on this crisis. The winner this fall will be the candidate who first identifies with this issue and proposes the most intelligent, fast acting and complete economic plan, concentrating on the absolute need for energy independence.
So I was especially pleased to read Thomas Friedman's excellent op-ed piece in yesterday's New York Times, Anxious in America.
|Come August, though, I predict both men will be looking for a financial wizard as their running mates to help them steer America out of what could become a serious economic tailspin.|
I do not believe nation-building in Iraq is going to be the issue come November — whether things get better there or worse. If they get better, we’ll ignore Iraq more; if they get worse, the next president will be under pressure to get out quicker. I think nation-building in America is going to be the issue.
It’s the state of America now that is the most gripping source of anxiety for Americans, not Al Qaeda or Iraq. Anyone who thinks they are going to win this election playing the Iraq or the terrorism card — one way or another — is, in my view, seriously deluded. Things have changed.
Up to now, the economic crisis we’ve been in has been largely a credit crisis in the capital markets, while consumer spending has kept reasonably steady, as have manufacturing and exports. But with banks still reluctant to lend even to healthy businesses, fuel and food prices soaring and home prices declining, this is starting to affect consumers, shrinking their wallets and crimping spending. Unemployment is already creeping up and manufacturing creeping down.
At this point John McCain is substantially ahead in proposing the clearest and fastest energy independence plan. I urge you to read McCain's Lexington Project. It will be tough to implement, but we must begin now. This cannot wait.
Barack Obama is a little like a deer caught in the headlights. Obama's really poor and ill conceived attack on McCain's (belated) oil drilling strategy, i.e. "It will be at least 5 years until we seen any significant oil" sounds especially hollow when all Obama has proposed is an alternative energy strategy that produces only minor results after 25 years.
I've written extensively about the expanding impact of the oil crisis on all parts of society. This problem is really severe. Thomas Friedman is so very right and the candidates need to wake up. The future of our economy dwarfs all the other issues.