Groveling is not an energy policy 

Critics who carp that George W is doing nothing about the people's problems with $4-a-gallon gasoline and that, in fact, he has no energy policy, must not have seen "the photo."

This remarkable photograph, taken May 16, shows Bush holding hands with King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia. The President of the United States had traveled to the Saudi ruler's horse ranch specifically to hug him up and beg the oil monarch to increase the flow of crude, hoping that a rise in Saudi production would cause a drop in our pump prices. So there it is: the Bushites' energy policy is the Royal Handhold and Kiss-up, and George is personally going to great lengths to pursue it.

In fact, this was Bush's second pilgrimage to King Abdullah's ranch in five months, beseeching the Saudis to give America some relief. "No," he was told in January, and his May venture in oil beggary produced the same result.

Rather than holding hands, maybe the president should make a fist and slug the King. After all, this is the kingdom that produced 15 of the 19 skyjackers who attacked our country on 9/11, a regime that has proven less than cooperative in halting al Qaeda terrorists, and a repressive monarchy that we help sustain with billions of dollars in military aid.

On the other hand, the Saudis have a point when they throw George's own laissez-faire ideology right back in his face. They say they're perfectly willing to send more oil through the pipelines, but only if the big refineries want to buy it. But ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and the rest are quite happy to keep supply short, for this helps them hold consumer prices high and wallow in record profits.

So what we have are super-rich Saudis and super-rich oil giants controlling supply, along with a sad-sack oil president who has blocked alternative fuel development, leaving him with no policy but to grovel.

Jim Hightower is the author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish can Go with the Flow. For more, visit jimhightower.com.

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