Click here to listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me, Friday, May 16, 2008 on Newstalk 600 KTBB.

(A quick closed circuit to Michael Carter. Your comment on last week’s piece is one of the best we have ever received. Thanks for listening and thanks for the response, Mr. Carter. It’s greatly appreciated. Click here to read Mr. Carter’s comment.)

Back in the late 1970s, Eddie Chiles, the CEO of the Western Company of North America, an oil services firm, collaborated with adman William Finn from right here in Tyler. Together, they produced and ran radio commercials all over the southwestern and midwestern United States. You might remember the copy. The announcer would start off, “Are you mad today, Eddie Chiles? ‘Yes I’m mad,'” he would say and off he would go on how poorly we were being represented by a too-liberal, big-government Congress.

The effort became something of a cultural phenomenon. All over this part of the world you would see cars with bumper stickers that said, ‘I’m mad, too, Eddie.’

(Click here to read about Eddie Chiles’s ‘I’m Mad’ campaign.)

Chiles’s radio campaign ran for nearly a year leading up to the 1980 election. And although it did not materially impact the Democrat dominance of Congress, it did serve to remind many in Congress that they do, in fact, serve at the pleasure of the voters. There were some unpleasant moments for many congressmen and some outright defeats for some, all of whom otherwise believed that they had little to fear with respect to re-election.

I’m reminded of all of this because I, like Eddie Chiles, am mad. Like William Holden in the movie Network, (the reputed inspiration for Eddie Chiles’s radio campaign) I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.

(Editor’s note: It was actually Peter Finch who said, “I’m mad as hell…” not William Holden as we said on the air. We stand corrected and we thank the listener for pointing out our error.)

This piece today is little different from what we discussed last Friday and the Friday before that. But what’s happening with respect to energy is the big story. Our way of life and our prosperity are being threatened in ways we haven’t seen in over 30 years.

Gasoline prices are killing us. The high price of gas is rippling all through the economy. It’s raising the price of food. It’s killing business for auto dealers, boat dealers, RV dealers, marinas, restaurants and retailers. Money that is being diverted into filling up cars is being withheld from home improvement, dining out, buying clothes, going on vacation and so much more.

High gasoline prices are quite literally making us poorer.

And yet, much of this pain is completely unnecessary. Yes, demand is up. And it will continue to go up because even if we curtail our driving and our usage of energy, the burgeoning economies in China and India will not.

Increasing demand for fossil fuel is a fact of life.

So if demand is going to increase, the only mechanism for lowering the price is to increase supply. Which would be happening if free markets were allowed to work but isn’t because of the churlishness of the leadership in Congress.

Every person currently occupying the political spotlight is part of the problem. Every one. Republican John McCain is on record as being against drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, (ANWR). I so far can’t seem to find where he stands regarding the Outer Continental Shelf and the shale deposits in the Midwest.

Presidential candidates Obama and Clinton, together with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, good Democrats all, are just plain against drilling anywhere. They apparently don’t want the U.S. to drill a single additional oil or gas well, no matter how much energy could be produced and no matter how desperately we need it.

Obama, Clinton, Reid and Pelosi would all have you believe that they are the stalwart advocates for the poor and the disadvantaged and those who are victims of oil company greed and unfeeling Republicans. Answer me a question, Madame Speaker. Who is more damaged by $4.00 gasoline, one of your rich San Francisco liberal buddies or someone trying to get by on minimum wage?

I said it last week. A simple announcement from Reid and Pelosi that they are reversing their positions regarding drilling in ANWR and on the Outer Continental Shelf and on other federal lands, and the price of oil will plummet immediately.

The fact that they, together with nearly every Democrat and way too many Republicans, won’t do this, is simply outrageous.

Yes, I’m mad, Eddie. I’m mad as hell.

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