Is unrest in the Middle East sending gas prices off the charts? Or could the oil panic have more to do with Wall Street speculators exploiting fear? On The Ed Show last night, The Nation‘s Chris Hayes says that the Obama Administration may be too "politically afraid" to confront the speculators on the escalating costs for fuel and food, but if they want to have any chance of curbing the volatile swings in price, they’ll have to act quickly and aggressively.

"When gas prices hit four dollars, the country’s politics go haywire," says Hayes. With so many of the government’s gas cost "overseers" in the pocket of big Wall Street donors, and with Republicans blocking funding for the administrations key regulatory bodies, Hayes isn’t expecting significant interventions from Obama any time soon.

For more on the gas price scare and what Obama can do about it, read Hayes’s "Will Federal Regulators Crack Down on Oil Speculation?"

—Kevin Gosztola