Chris Graham: Is McDonnell’s point moot?

Republican voters continue to toy with the idea of nominating a social conservative to run for president this fall.

The GOP establishment, meanwhile, is trying to position itself to be able to take advantage of the only thing that may be working in their favor.

“I am extremely concerned by recent reports that oil and gasoline prices continue to rise and gas could reach an average of $4.25 a gallon by April,” Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a political statement released today.

McDonnell, as we know, is backing sometime-Republican-frontrunner Mitt Romney for the party’s presidential nomination. A business conservative, Romney would seem well-positioned to be able to take the high-gas-prices ball and run with it this fall, but that’s assuming he gets the party nod over Rick Santorum.

A Santorum nomination would seem to take economic issues off the table this fall. The Santorum juggernaut would make the November campaign about non-money issues like abortion, women’s rights, gay rights – as it turns out the precise issues that have had the lion’s share of attention in McDonnell’s Richmond these days.

But that’s the State Capital McDonnell. The VP Hopeful McDonnell is focused on pocketbook issues.

“I am concerned that the Obama Administration’s ongoing lack of a comprehensive energy policy leaves us vulnerable to continued future energy price spikes and uncertainty in this critical area,” the governor said in his political statement today. “When the cost of gas and oil go up, all our citizens and businesses are impacted and any economic recovery becomes far more difficult to sustain. Our future economic prosperity depends upon our ability to put in place a comprehensive domestic energy policy that will provide for greater energy independence and security in this nation.

“In short, we need a ‘Red, White and Blue/All of the Above’ energy policy for America. Instead, this administration has unfortunately adopted the opposite approach.”

The governor may be right on with the political pushback on gas prices, but the point may well be moot if his ideological kin Santorum gets the Republican nomination this fall.



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