Oil vs. ‘Morning in America’

President Obama can boldly reshape American politics and decisively revive the American economy by challenging oil speculators with an aggressive drawdown of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, sending Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Riyadh to urge a dramatic increase in Saudi oil production, fighting for a temporary surtax on speculative trades rebated to consumers through a temporary cut in the gasoline tax, championing investigations to determine whether there is wrongdoing in the pricing of gasoline and launching a Ross Perot-like campaign to educate and lead the nation about new energy sources.

There is a war of the worlds under way in American politics, global economics and energy security. This war of the worlds pits an American economy on the brink of a major revival comparable to the “Morning in America” spirit that reelected President Reagan in 1984 and let loose the surge of growth and confidence that followed, versus skyrocketing pressures on the prices of oil and gasoline, fueled in significant part by the frenzied greed and speculation that took our economy down during the Bush years.

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Obama can reach for presidential greatness, and the lasting legacy of a national recovery and renewal that could be far more powerful and profound than what is imagined by those blinded by the six-hour news cycle.

Let the Republicans, who look increasingly desperate, keep hoping America fails and putting oil speculators ahead of American consumers. Let them help China by opposing America competing against China for the energy and jobs of the future, while they blame Americans for being jobless and oppose programs to create jobs. Let them fight to their death to bring back GOP policies that caused the crash, attack women who use contraceptives, criticize Clint Eastwood for boosting America, support higher profits for Big Oil, oppose the separation of church and state and champion the greed of the vulture over the prosperity of the nation.

Morning in America is coming. The only question is when. The greatest threats are those who profit from oil, and Republicans who attack alternatives to oil.

Do not underestimate the potential political and economic power of the recovery that has begun. The economy still faces challenges, but the signs of recovery are real, growing and widening in scope. Made in America is the comeback kid. Detroit is back, whether the GOP likes it or not. Let vulture capitalists claim they were right that the auto industry should have been destroyed to save it, after Obama’s policies saved it without the destruction they hungered for.

The economic trajectory from 2011 to 2012 is similar to the economic trajectory from 1983 to 1984 that gave birth to the Morning in America spirit that reelected Reagan and set the stage for the resurgent America that followed.

In politics, finance, economics and consumer psychology, it is the trajectory and arc that matter, in 2012 as in 1984. They have now turned favorable. Even bank lending has risen to its highest level in years. As the trillions of dollars of hoarded capital are unleashed by banks and corporate America — a process that has already begun — growth and job creation will accelerate further.

Let’s challenge the speculative fever and vulture frenzy that threatens the Morning in America that is coming. The president should initiate a drawdown of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, if necessary twice, to burn the fear of God into the soul of speculators. The Saudis should increase oil production and end their policy of friendly words and unfriendly deeds. Democrats should champion a six-month transaction tax on speculative energy trades, rebated to consumers through a six-month cut in the gas tax.

In this war of the worlds for the next Morning in America, the president and Democrats would be supported by a resounding majority of Americans.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics, and can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at brentbbi@webtv.net.