Price at the pump

Today, because crude now costs $100 a barrel, and gas prices rapidly are closing in on $5 a gallon, I don't care who the vice presidential running mates are. Give me back my $2 gas!

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Moving from our existing crude energy source to something greener makes a lot of sense. Given all the talk in Washington escalating about closing the Straits of Hormuz and/or war with Iran, energy independence not only is a noble goal, it serves a useful purpose: It will help inoculate OC (and America) against unpredictable events around the world. Honestly, I can't think of anything more patriotic, even if this is an election year.

To be fair, Newt isn't the only candidate talking about the price of gas at the pump. Rep. Michele Bachmann, a former Republican presidential candidate herself until last month, often addressed the issue on the campaign stump. So has President Barack Obama. To their credit, they all mention the issue; however, none of them truly has made it a major cornerstone of their campaigns.

Why? Because no sooner does one of the presidential candidates float a truly big idea -- say, about health care -- than everyone, Democrats and Republicans alike, starts carving it up. Ditto for immigration reform, No Child Left Behind or payroll taxes. We really don 't know how these issues will play out socially, militarily or economically.

We do, for a fact, know how $5 per gallon for gas will play out.

The economic impact will be quick and devastating. Despite the fragile economic recovery we have been witnessing as of late, $5 gas will drive the U.S. economy back into a recession. It's no wonder none of the presidential candidates want to bring up the topic.

The climbing price of crude may be good news for a handful of oil giants and their investors, but it is bad news for everyday folks living in Huntington Beach or Huntington, W.Va. For all their talk about patriotism, I say the time has come for the GOP and Democratic presidential candidates to rally 'round this impending crisis.

If they do, I am confident a new economic model can be forged that serves this nation's best interest. If they don't, I am afraid America faces an economic meltdown of unbelievable proportions. My guess is Newt Gingrich would agree.

Freidenrich was a congressional staff assistant to Rep. Don Edwards (D-Calif) in 1972. He is the founder of First Strategies consulting in Laguna Beach, California.