Oil's Not Well
Is this fair? Yes and no. Gasoline prices go up and down and there is little at those times that a sitting president can do about it. But, at the moment we have a president whose announced policy has been that rising gas prices are, overall, a good thing for America. Rising oil prices mean America will have to turn to other sources of energy. They will make these other sources of energy more competitive in the market place. But in the short term nothing - not natural gas or electric cars, which GM just stopped making for a while, will ease the pain to consumers of high gasoline prices.
Obama's Energy Secretary Steven Chu has said he would like to see the price of gasoline go up to European prices ($9 a gallon). He has since disavowed that desire.
To avert blame, the president is claiming oil production is up since he became president. But it is quite clear that the recent drilling boom has nothing to do with anything this president has done. Drilling is only up on private and state land. It is down significantly on federal land, off coast, and in Alaska. It's environmental base of the Democratic party that the president is appeasing with these policies.
He continues to delay the building of the Keystone pipeline. Whoever his Republican challenger is this fall won't let him get away with such bald-faced misrepresentation of his energy policy. He will throw back in the president's face his own statements, such as that under his energy plan electricity rates would necessarily "skyrocket."
While that sort of talk was catnip to green voters, regular voters understand what this president's green dreams will cost them.
The talk now is of the president tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to temporarily flood the market with cheaper oil. The SPR was created to be used during national emergencies, not to bolster the re-election prospects of an incumbent president. This should and will be seen for the calculated and cynical gesture it is.
If gasoline goes up and stays there for much of the summer, it won't matter if it comes down in the fall. Within the electorate, the feeling will harden that the president's energy policies were a failure. He will be clobbered with campaign reminding voters of the Solyndra debacle and how he wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on other green companies, whose executives showed his campaign with donations.
No wonder they're scrambling. They'll be scrambling right up until Election Day.