Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The drop in oil and the frustration of McCain

Can anything go right?

When Sen. McCain chose Gov. Palin to be his running mate, my immediate response was that we would be hearing a whole lot about energy independence, drilling offshore, and drilling in Alaska. To a degree, that has been true. Gov. Palin is giving a speech today, in fact, on energy independence.

But the message has gained little to zero traction. This is because since picking Gov. Palin, the cost of oil has dropped off the charts -- the cost of a barrel of crude oil is now in the $60-65 range. Yes, that's historically high. But compared with $147, which a barrel hit just a few months ago, it seems low, to be even a relief. In late August, when Gov. Palin was the made the choice, oil was around $120-125.

So as I see it, there is no way around it: As oil dropped so much and so quickly, Sen. McCain lost perhaps his strongest issue. While just about every observer talks about the economic crisis helping Sen. Obama, very few are talking about the oil price drop hurting Sen. McCain. To me, the drop in oil is the under-analyzed story of the election.

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