Chameleon Politics – President Obama’s Change
Gas prices are looking more and more like they’ll hit that $5 per gallon mark this year, probably somewhere near the peak summer travel months.
The president is now talking like a conservative when it comes to oil and gas prices. Taking an opportunity on Super Tuesday to steal some of the limelight away from the Republicans, President Obama pitched his energy strategy which is laden with green energy alternatives he plans to pay for by ending tax incentives for big oil.
While the president is saying one thing about oil and gasoline prices now, he has said something very different before.
In January 2008, candidate Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle that under his cap-and-trade plan, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” Steven Chu, now Secretary of Energy, told the same newspaper in 2008: “Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” That would put gas at about $10 a gallon.
This president has done nothing to pave the way for lower fuel prices since becoming president. In fact, he has done the very opposite since taking office.
In March of 2010, Mr. Obama reversed or scaled back nearly every major offshore oil opportunity that has come about since the price spike of 2008—effectively reimposing a moratorium on drilling off the coasts. His administration has killed leases in developmentally crucial areas of Alaska. His EPA has refused to issue permits. The White House used the BP oil spill as an excuse to also shut down the deep-water Gulf.
Onshore? Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has revoked oil-and-gas leases. The EPA is suffocating the coal industry with regulation. One of the president’s only clear State of the Union proposals was to raise taxes on oil and gas. The White House’s energy policy, says Dan Kish of the Institute for Energy Research, is “embargoing our own energy supplies to drive up their costs.”
During the Gulf oil spill the administration and Democrats didn’t worry about a back-lash for their blatantly “anti-oil” stance, but now that the Gulf has recovered and prices are approaching $5 a gallon their tune has changed. What do we hear coming out of the president’s teleprompter now? Fox News correspondent Ed Henry asked the president about gas prices and the notion that Obama wants to see prices go even higher at which the president scoffed, “From a political perspective, do you think the president of the United States going into re-election wants gas prices to go up higher? Is there anybody here who thinks that makes a lot of sense?” No, it makes no sense at all, which is why the president is now changing his tune.
It’s quite clear, going into an election year, President Obama is going to conveniently forget his past statements and actions when it comes to fossil fuels and he’ll hope you forget too. This president changes like a chameleon, liberal until it isn’t convenient or favorable and then adopting a more conservative tone to better serve his purposes.
Nobody should forget how angry the public was over $4 gas in 2008. That anger was enough to propel John McCain in the polls, where he stayed until the financial crisis. Another thing to remember; oil prices peaked in July 2008 and the unemployment rate was 5.7%. What might happen with $5 gas and 9% unemployment?
President Obama’s anti-oil record is clear through his words and actions and those of his appointees, and Republicans should use their bully pulpit in the House to directly connect prices to the Obama energy freeze. He’ll try to deflect, ignore, or minimize his record. He must be forced to face his record and explain it.
If the Republican candidates are smart they’ll continue to use this president’s past words and actions to refute and contradict what he is saying now in this election year.
- Obama lashes out over allegation that he wants higher gas prices (thehill.com)
- Obama Wants Lower Oil Prices But Forgets The Printing Press Effect (forbes.com)