The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Chameleon Politics – President Obama’s Change

with 7 comments

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.

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Written by DCL

March 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm

7 Responses

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  1. I just think Republicans are awfully selective about when they want to bring oil prices down. Won’t go after oil speculators, despise conservation, hate fuel standards, love to start wars in oil-rich territory… But would love to put people in my part of the country at risk by drilling in my back yard. Perhaps there’s a rationale for their way of thinking, but it’s become impossible to tell when Republicans have a rationale, and when they’re just looking at yet another line of attack, ANY conceivable line of attack… on a democratic president. Remember when I wanted to print up bumper stickers that said “I slept with Bill Clinton”? Because no rumor was too thin for Ken Starr to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to investigate.

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    Darnie Kris Glover

    March 7, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    • It’s beyond party at this point. I give Republicans less blame for this country’s demise simply because they have had little control over congress. The Democrats have maintained majorities in both houses for the better part of 70 years and therefore should shoulder more of the blame. It is clear to me that this president is determined to make government more invasive in our lives. Government has proven itself to be less than inept when it comes to creating anything other than revenue for itself through taxation. The private sector is being strangled with regulation and jobs are fleeing this country. We have drilling in my backyard and no environmental disasters. The mountain west is full of oil rigs. We can cave to the fear mongers who know they are promoting half-truths and misinformation to forward their own cause and ideology or we can stand up to them and show their true colors.

      In the meantime we are sitting on a 150 year supply of oil in the Bakken up in North Dakota. The unemployment rate up there is less than 3 percent. But the Democratic Senate along with this president continue to force feed us a green industry that has no market. Not that it won’t someday, but right now its oil that runs this country like it or not. The Senate, as I was writing this reply, voted down an amendment to allow the Keystone pipeline to be built. Now, millions of barrels of oil will be going to China from Canada. Please help me understand how this is a good thing. When it comes to the gas pump do you think Republican or Democrat Joes like you and me think that’s a good idea? But the media spin machine helps remain Obama spotless while the masses drink it down, every last drop.

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      Doug

      March 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm

  2. […] Chameleon Politics – President Obama’s Change (longversion.wordpress.com) […]

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  3. First of all, American oil production has increased every year that Obama has been in office. By contrast, it decreased every year that Shrub was in office. That torpedoes the claim that Obama has somehow been unduly cruel and restrictive to the oil industry.

    Second, don’t Republicans generally believe in free market economics? And if so, shouldn’t they understand that gas prices are determined by a global market? Shouldn’t they understand that demand has skyrocketed in recent years because the number of cars has skyrocketed in developing countries, while many oil wells all over the world are running dry? Isn’t that the reason why gas prices are high?

    Third, is it that difficult to understand that the amount of oil we could access and pump in the United States is, on a global scale, quite small, and thus nothing we can do at home will have much effect on a price determined on a global market? See this link:

    http://theblogthatwasthursday.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/republicans-are-full-of-gas/

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    alexbpop

    March 8, 2012 at 8:08 am

    • I respectfully suggest you look at Obama’s own words and actions before this election cycle started. My post was focused on the president’s penchant for saying the convenient or popular thing at the time while saying and doing nearly the opposite when he’s not on camera or on stage. There are numerous examples of this over the past 3 years as I cited in my post. This is far beyond Republican vs Democrat. Republicans are as culpable in many cases as Democrats however they have only claimed control of congress for less than two terms in the past 70 years or so making it hard to blame them entirely for the mess this country finds itself in. The consumer at the pump doesn’t give two cents about the demand in developing countries they expect their government to be more concerned with their issues rather than those of foreign countries. If you are a globalist then you agree with this presidents actions and agenda, but most Americans, Red state or Blue are not globalists. They just want the freedom their parents and grandparents had. We need to stop being so concerned with the “global scale” and focus on the national, state, and local scale. Once our house is in order we can help others with theirs. I am not an isolationist. I believe in free trade across borders but the policies of this president and those before him have put us in line to end up like Greece, Spain, and those in the European Union that are broke with out-of-control unemployment and riots in the streets. Party politics have choked our Republic to beyond blue in the face and this president is pushing us toward a Social Democracy which is not something most Americans want. It’s time to put the government in its rightful place and get it out of every facet of our lives. President Obama has made it very clear he plans to make government even more invasive in American’s lives. I respect that you may be OK with that, but I am not.

      Thanks for the reply and your view point!

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      Doug

      March 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      • I will agree with the previous guy that there is a huge misinformation campaign with regards to the President’s policies, and even though conservatives claim and fully believe one thing to be true, the numbers would show the opposite on many fronts, which is why they there are times I honestly believe modern conservatives are 90% about preconceived ideas as opposed to current information. I.E, Obama is weak militarily, he’s anti-business, he ignores illegal immigration, his name means he’s muslim, all of that wrong nonsense. I think Obama needs to do more about oil prices, and his reluctance to tackle this issue is more about his vanity than about sound policy. That’s my personal opinion. I will say this… it doesn’t matter whether Americans are globalists or not… it would be arrogant, though not out of character, for us to believe that escalating gas prices in the rest of the world would be irrelevant to us. And It’s been pretty clear to me for years that government intervention in our lives is all about perspective. For instance, the threats of constitutional amendments against gay marriage and abortion bans I find intrusive, even though I’m not gay or female. For most straight white Christians, that doesn’t feel like intrusion, because it’s not THEIR lives generally being interfered with.

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        Darnie Kris Glover

        March 9, 2012 at 6:16 am

      • Maybe I wasn’t communicating clearly. I’m not a fan of Obama and I won’t be voting for him this November. Many of his economic policies have been wrongheaded. But as President of the United States, the price of gas is not his responsibility.

        If we’re conservatives, we believe that free markets set prices, and that government attempts to meddle in pricing are guaranteed to fail. Generally’ it’s been liberals who want the government to meddle in pricing mechanisms, while conservatives have opposed that. There’s a global market for gasoline. When worldwide demand goes up and supply goes down, prices go up. There is nothing that the President or anybody else can do to stop this. The only thing on the table is allowing more drilling in the United States. But–leaving aside environmental and health concerns–the total amount of oil that we could drill here is small compared to global demand, so that wouldn’t make much difference.

        In a free market economy, we each have two choices. We can pay the market price for a product, or we can choose not to use the product. Demanding that the government somehow make the price lower is not a free market solution.

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        alexbpop

        March 9, 2012 at 7:12 am


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