MICHAEL BARONE: “Sometimes public opinion doesn’t flow smoothly; it shifts sharply when a tipping point is reached. Case in point: gas prices. $3 a gallon gas didn’t change anybody’s mind about energy issues. $4 a gallon gas did. . . . In a country with less in the way of checks and balances, which can be gamed by adroit lobbyists and litigators, we would be building more nuclear plants, and would be drilling offshore and in ANWR. We would be phasing out the corn ethanol subsidies that are enriching Iowa farmers and impoverishing Mexican tortilla eaters, and we would be repealing the 54-cent tariff on Brazilian sugar ethanol (the sugar for which would be produced not in defoliated Amazon rainforests but in the desolate and currently unused certao).”