April 22, 2004


Kerry Criticizes Bush on Saudi Meeting (Mike Glover, AP, 4/22/04)

"I believe the American people deserve a president who just isn't going to have a friendly talk, but who is going to fight to guarantee that we lower prices for Americans," Kerry said.

Kerry used an Earth Day speech to criticize a meeting in which, according to a broadcast report, Bush and Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sulton discussed increasing oil production to drive down prices as the election nears.

"I don't know if it was a deal, I don't know if it was a secret pledge, I don't know if it was just a friendly conversation among friends," Kerry said. "The fact remains that whatever it was, the American people are getting a bad deal today."

Speaking to more than 2,000 people at the University of Houston, Kerry said Bush broke a 2000 campaign pledge to put pressure on oil-producing nations to increase production and to "jawbone" OPEC nations to that end.

"I'm here today to say if there was no deal, if there was no agreement, then stand up today and jawbone OPEC to lower the price," Kerry said. "They could up that production tomorrow. We need to have them answer why they won't do that."

This may be the only Kerry speech, and the only Earth Day speech, that I've ever agreed with. Drive through the Environment today; new low oil prices brought to you by John Kerry and OPEC!!!

Posted by David Cohen at April 22, 2004 5:13 PM

If JFK really wants to have any chance to win, he should start saying that if elected he will completely stop all financial and military aid to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc., until they show concrete signs of reforming their societies, especially reining in the America-hatred in their state-run media. Just repeating the number of billions of dollars we send them annually would be extremely effective on the stump. Of course, he would then renege immediately upon taking office, as Clinton did in his tough-on-China rhetoric, but it would definitely be a hugely popular message. And it would fit in with his soft-power/law enforcement stance on the WOT.

Posted by: brian at April 22, 2004 5:28 PM

Not bad. I suppose it's too naive to object that he actually values stability in the middle east over democracy so that he can keep oil prices low and Arabs locked down. In other words, his foreign policy guru is apparently Henry Kissinger.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 22, 2004 5:40 PM

So is Kerry saying thtat Bush should take whatever action to strongarm OPEC contries into increasing oil production? Would that include threatening them with military action if they refuse? If military action is threatened, would liberals claim that Kerry is interested in spending 'blood for oil' or is it only Republicans that allowed to be accused of that?

Posted by: bbb at April 22, 2004 6:19 PM

Americans fall in two camps: those who believe that oil prices should be low but that pols have no ability to do this and those who believe oil prices should be high for the sake of conservation, greeness, etc. The former would consider Kerry's talk cheap and his promises empty; the latter can now consider Kerry a sell-out (and on Earth Day, to boot).

Posted by: MG at April 22, 2004 6:38 PM

My own theory about this, is that in order not to
end up in the same situation as the 73 Oil boycott, don't make the same mistakes. Certain
factors in the US polity, such as the reaction
to the San Diego oil spin of 69, which led to
earth day, strongly discouraged domestic oil
production. That along with the defeat in Vietnam,
very much supported by the likes of Kerry, made
any Third World force; (and I include the Saudi
plutocrats that financed the PLO; including Black
September; re Agents of Innocence) believe they would not be opposed. Dore Gold, has further pointed it was the ulema; the Wahhabi islamic
assembly that was behind King Faisal's decision
to issue the OPEC decision. (Maybe that was why
he met his particular fate)The Democratic majority
campaign against Nixon; which would devolve into
abbrogation of the enforcement of the Paris Peace
Accord; for whose dissent Negroponte was exiled to
Guayaquil; the Church committee witchhunts on foreign intelligence services & equally important
multinational corporations; which was where Sen.
Kerry recruited one of his chief aides Jack Blum

Posted by: narciso at April 22, 2004 8:35 PM

bbb has it right. Isn't it awfully unilateral of us to impose our national interests on Saudi Arabia? Shouldn't we instead work in a multilateral fashion with OPEC and other Arab nations, France, and the UN to internationalize the problem of high gas prices?

Posted by: jsmith at April 22, 2004 10:36 PM

Kerry should promise to plant the US flag over the Spratly Islands. He could prove his manhood in Southeast Asia all over again.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 22, 2004 10:53 PM

My first thought on reading this was very similar to bbb's - isn't this Kerry endorsing the invasion of Iraq in order to loot their oil? Doesn't the left constantly claim that invasion was a fight for lower oil prices?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at April 22, 2004 10:58 PM

what sort of influence might we exert over opec, aside from military force? economic sanctions would only lead to higher oil prices (to recoup said losses). opec has us by the balls until we decide to wean ourselves from our 20bbl/day addiction.

Posted by: poormedicalstudent at April 23, 2004 1:55 PM