Everyone’s favorite Bush 2000 Flashback. From the 6/28/00 New York Times:
Gov. George W. Bush of Texas said today that if he was president, he would bring down gasoline prices through sheer force of personality, by creating enough political good will with oil-producing nations that they would increase their supply of crude.
“I would work with our friends in OPEC to convince them to open up the spigot, to increase the supply,” Mr. Bush … told reporters here today. “Use the capital that my administration will earn, with the Kuwaitis or the Saudis, and convince them to open up the spigot.”
“Ours is a nation that helped Kuwait and the Saudis, and you’d think we’d have the capital necessary to convince them to increase the crude supplies,” he said.
Asked why the Clinton administration had not been able to use the power of personal persuasion, Mr. Bush said: “The fundamental question is, ‘Will I be a successful president when it comes to foreign policy?'”
That was when oil was at about $30 a barrel, before it broke $100 this year.
Apparently, Bush just hasn’t gotten around to deploying the awesome force for global good that is his personality.
But today, behold!
Speaking to a group of Saudi entrepreneurs and later in an interview with reporters, Mr. Bush expressed his concern about the economy in some of his starkest language yet, saying that rising oil and gasoline prices are causing hardship for American families.
[But a]s Mr. Bush himself acknowledged, it was not clear that the president’s entreaties could have any significant effect on oil prices. Mr. Bush said the demand for oil, especially from expanding markets in China and India, as well as the United States, was rising faster than supplies.
Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, appeared to rebuff the president’s appeal, though he did so gently. “We will raise production when the market justifies it,” he said at press conference after Mr. Bush’s remarks.
All that capital earned with the Saudis. All that personality. No match for al-Naimi, master of the gentle rebuff.
While I’m sure Bush could muster up the capital with the Saudis after a few more wars or so, maybe it’s time to try a new policy of actual investment in homegrown renewable energy?