Here is a copy of an image for a FreedomToast blog ad featured at DailyKos (as of 5 May 2005, it's in the top ad space near the top right corner of the blog). It's an image of a rich Arab, dollars in hand, pulling the strings of a white male puppet in suits, with a sign flashing high gas prices in the background (and a FreedomToast logo in the bottom right corner). What's the visual message here? Rich Arabs are bribing and pulling the strings of Republican politicians and oil industry executives, profiting handsomely from Americans who are paying through their noses for gas.
What's wrong with this picture?
Oil price hawks are actually Caracas and Tehran, not royals, sheiks, and emirs of the Gulf who subserviently pump up as much gas as possible in response to Bush's demand.
Besides, the main political factor (aside from economic factors like supply and demand and investor speculation, over which no one really has control right now, except through attempts at conservation, which have yet to be seriously made) that has led to the rise of oil prices is Washington's ceaseless warmongering and unquenched thirst for regime changes overseas: the continuing war in Iraq, rumors of nuke strikes and threats of sanctions against Iran, Sudan (the United States being the only government to call the Darfur conflict a genocide, threatening military interventions), the list goes on. Yet, self-described "netroots" liberals let Bush's foreign policy off the hook, for powerful Democrats essentially agree with Bush on Iraq (no full US withdrawal from Iraq) and Iran (sanctions or military strikes on Iran for regime change, before Iran gets its insurance against a US invasion: nuclear weapons) and go so far as to urge Bush to send US troops to Sudan if necessary.
Moreover, scapegoating rich pro-Washington Arabs for terrorism as well as rising oil prices is a safe game: it lets Dumbocrats score a few irrelevant points against Bush without really jeopardizing Washington's essential access to Gulf oil and geopolitically strategic territories. The case in point: the extraordinarily inane Dubai WP imbroglio. After getting a big slap in the face, Dubai eagerly offered to serve as a spy station for Washington in its Iran adventure. That's the reason liberals love to hate rich Arabs.
Mind you, there is much to hate about the Arab ruling class in the Gulf. Taking one look at any of the Gulf states makes you wish someone exported revolution to it. And yet, the state of Arab politics being what it is, the only serious challenge to the pro-Washington Arab power elite in the Gulf and beyond, alas, comes from Islamists of various schools. The best case scenario, the scenario feared by Washington as well as the Arab power elite, is that Tehran will extend its Islamist populist political influence in Lebanon, Palestine, and beyond, while cementing its ties with the socialist axis of good Caracas, Havana, and La Paz (one hopes that the Latin socialist leaders will wean the President of Iran from his urge to play to the Holocaust-denying gallery) and retaining Beijing and Moscow's support. The worst case scenario is that Islamist terrorists will grow even more militarily sophisticated, one day succeeding in sabotaging Abqaiq, "the world’s biggest oil processing complex."