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McCain Is Exactly Wrong on Energy

Wednesday, 11 Jun 2008 | 12:58 PM ET

Sen. John McCain delivered a nearly pluperfect supply-side tax-cut plan yesterday, one that is worthy of conservative support, and frankly a real eye-opener showing just how good he can be. I wrote about it in my latest column.

But then he goes on NBC’s Today Show this morning and gets the whole energy story wrong. Oh my gosh.

When asked about gas prices at the pump, and whether they could go any lower, Sen. McCain said he didn’t think so because “You’ve got a finite supply, basically, and a cartel controlling it.”

This is exactly wrong. There is no finite supply, or if there is we are 100 years away from it. I don’t know who has put this thought into the senator’s mind, but it is a bad thought in terms of energy and a bad thought in terms of the politics of this campaign.

Look, we have the Bakken fields, the outer continental shelf and all the offshore drilling opportunities, ANWR, and so forth. There’s probably over a trillion barrels worth of reserves out there. And Republicans in the Senate are trying to move a deregulated drilling bill through the process. McCain should be backing this and talking about it.

Democrats are out there pushing cap-and-trade, which would jack up gasoline and oil energy prices, damage the economy, and create a massive central-planning exercise. The Democratic Congress has done nothing to alleviate the oil shortage. They’re captured by the greenies. They should be blamed.

This is a real turnaround issue for the Republicans and Mr. McCain. But McCain’s not going there.

Incidentally, in the Today Show interview, the senator takes a whack at oil-company profits, suggesting they should return some of these profits to consumers. And he would consider voting for a windfall profits tax. And then he used the phrase “obscene profits.” Make that two oh my goshes.

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  • Lawrence Kudlow is a CNBC senior contributor. Previously, Kudlow was anchor of CNBC's prime-time program "The Kudlow Report"