Energy independence

Yglesias nicely explains why all the talk of “energy independence” from both parties is nonsense:

This [North American energy independence], however, won’t work either because the whole idea of energy independence is conceptually bogus. Note on the chart that in the mid-1980s the United States was importing a lot less foreign oil than has been the case recently. That’s the Texas oil boom of Dallas fame plus some of the lingering consequences of the oil shocks of the 1980s. But if you recall, the American consumer was still vulnerable to supply shocks from abroad, and people were still really interested in OPEC decision-making. That’s because oil is something we’ve gotten really good at storing and shipping globally. Under normal circumstances, it makes sense to export Mexican oil to the United States rather than to India since Mexico is close to the United States. But if there’s a huge supply disruption at the locations where Indian oil comes from, then suddenly it makes plenty of sense to export Mexican oil to India. To keep the black stuff flowing to our border, Americans will have to outbid Indian purchasers and the price will rise.

From a consumer viewpoint, the geography of the supply side is totally irrelevant.Lobsters are cheap in Maine because storing and shipping live lobster is hard, but globally traded commodities aren’t like that. The price of gasoline is driven by global supply and demand plus local taxes.

Romney’s foreign policy

Unexpectedly busy day.  You’ll have to make to for a while with this spot-on observation from Steve Benen:

But if Mitt Romney’s campaign actually believes its own rhetoric about foreign policy, the Republican and his aides aren’t just embracing bravado; they’re alsoslipping into delusions.

Advisers to Mitt Romney on Thursday defended his sharp criticism of President Obama and said that the deadly protests sweeping the Middle East would not have happened if the Republican nominee were president.

“There’s a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you’d be in a different situation,” Richard Williamson, a top Romney foreign policy adviser, said in an interview…. Williamson added, “In Egypt and Libya and Yemen, again demonstrations — the respect for America has gone down, there’s not a sense of American resolve and we can’t even protect sovereign American property.”

Again, I don’t know Williamson personally, and his comments to the Post may be little more than partisan chest-thumping.

I’m more concerned, however, with the notion that Williamson might actually believe his own nonsense.

In Team Romney’s mind, the protests in the Middle East, and the deadly raid on the consulate in Libya, are President Obama’s fault. Why? Because Muslim protestors don’t “respect American resolve.”

If Romney were in office, the argument goes, there wouldn’t be protests — angry Muslims simply wouldn’t take to the streets because they respected America too much.

Presumably, I don’t need to deconstruct that for you.  I don’t think I’d need to deconstruct the foolishness of that to my 12 year old son (who turned in his current events report on Libya today).

Quote of the day

Mark Kleiman (first saw this at Sullivan):

[Romney’s] bluster is a coward’s idea of how a brave man acts:  Never hesitate, never apologize. When you’re wrong, say it again, only louder.

Yep.  Kleiman also links the video of Romney’s statement.  His affect during this is really just so off.  What’s wrong with this man?

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