President Obama’s chief political advisor, David Axelrod, made fun of politicians on Sunday who are trying to bring down gas prices. In responding to Mitt Romney’s commitment to permit more drilling and open up new exploration in the United States, Axelrod said, “That’s not oil talk but snake oil talk.”
Obama also poked fun at Romney’s plan to increase the supply of oil by saying he thinks he has a “magic wand”. He went on to say that Republicans have had “the same script for 30 years, it’s like a bad re-run.”
But in 2008, it was candidate Obama who was complaining that the White House wasn’t doing enough to lower gas prices. Obama made fun of then President George Bush for gas prices being “$3.70. Two and half times (higher than) when George Bush took office,” Obama said.
This time, Obama is working hard to pretend that he has nothing to do with high gas prices.
The facts show that gas prices fluctuated throughout 2008 from roughly $1.50 to over $4.00 a gallon. In November 2008, when Obama was elected president, gas prices fell to $1.72. Today, the average gas price is $3.84. It’s much higher in some regions where production and drilling is scarce and in some state’s that require greater refinery processes or have placed higher local sur charges. In California, for instance, gas prices are almost $5 a gallon.
Obama’s assault on oil drilling and the permitting process for new exploration is undeniable. In some campaign stops, Obama has falsely claimed that he is responsible for an increase in oil production – but the fact is that the permits for the new drilling projects he counts were approved during the Bush and Clinton Administrations. The Obama Administration has also tried to delay and obstruct coal production. Last year, a Senate panel proved that the Obama Administration was using the Clean Water Act to stop coal production. Given that the global coal demand is increasing, this obstruction has not only greatly limited the expansion of American jobs but is shrinking the coal production workforce in the Midwest and Southern U.S.
Obama’s team has stopped new oil projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline which would have clearly provided more oil. And we know that an increase in supply means lower prices overall. Some left wing websites have been falsely misrepresenting one study that shows the Keystone XL Pipeline would increase oil production in the Midwest and therefore push the regional price of oil up because more oil would flow out to the rest of the United States. These liberal bloggers falsely call the overall price stabilization affect of the Keystone XL pipeline an “increase”. But the majority of Americans would get lower prices with the Keystone’s increased oil production and stabilization affect. And over time, everyone would benefit from an increase in supply.
But as gas prices increase and the prospect for new jobs stays stagnant, the Obama team will be scrambling to look like they aren’t to blame for a “none of the above” energy plan. Obama’s base of support from radical environmentalists will also be a concern for the president’s team as they consider how to do something to control sky-rocketing energy costs without alienating supporters.
Romney, meanwhile, has called for the Obama team responsible for the assault on new energy exploration and permits to be fired. The trio of obstruction, as he calls them, is Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Jackson and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.