As expected, President Barack Obama strode to the lectern yesterday at the University of Miami, and, solemnly surveying the audience, claimed responsibility for the skyrocketing gasoline prices that are threatening our fragile recovery.
Yesterday’s speech was just the latest example of the president’s doing what he does best: blaming somebody else. In the particular case of rising gas prices, it is true that it is impossible to place blame on any one factor. Global markets are complicated.
Still, the president’s constant deflecting of blame is almost becoming amusing. Or, it would be, if it weren’t a serious matter to have a man whose prime motivation is saving his own skin in the most powerful job in the world at a time of economic crisis.
In analyzing the speech, the Wall Street Journal editorialist seemed to be having some fun:
'The American people aren't stupid," thundered President Obama yesterday in Miami, ridiculing Republicans who are blaming him for rising gasoline prices. Let's hope he's right, because not even Forrest Gump could believe the logic of what Mr. Obama is trying to sell.
To wit, that a) gasoline prices are beyond his control, but b) to the extent oil and gas production is rising in America, his energy policies deserve all the credit, and c) higher prices are one more reason to raise taxes on oil and gas drillers while handing even more subsidies to his friends in green energy. Where to begin?
It's true enough that oil prices can't be commanded from the Oval Office, so in that sense Mr. Obama's disavowal of blame is a rare show of humility in the face of market forces. Would that he showed similar modesty in trying to command the tides of home prices, car sales ("cash for clunkers"), or the production of electric batteries.
The turmoil in Iran is probably a huge factor in rising prices, but with Libyan oil production coming back, it can’t be the only one. Easy money could also be part of the reason. The oped points out that the administration wants to take credit if monetary policy helps the stock market, but they don’t want to take credit if, by the same token, commodity prices rise.
But, whatever the root of the current crisis, the administration is pursuing policies that lay the groundwork for the next energy crisis: slowed approval for off-shore drilling, failure to approve the Keystone LX pipeline, and President Obama’s plans to raise taxes on the oil and gas industries.
It should be noted that President Obama wasn’t concerned about high fuel prices in 2008. Indeed the administration saw elevated prices as a way to encourage people not to use the fossil fuels enlightened people such as those who serve in this administration so deplore.
In the build-up to yesterday’s speech, the Washington Post noted:
Obama noted last year that during the 2008 campaign, gasoline had topped $4 per gallon and his political opponents were using the slogan “Drill, baby, drill!”
“We’ve been down this road before,” Obama said then. But, he added, “none of these gimmicks, none of these slogans made a bit of difference. . . . So here’s the bottom line: There are no quick fixes. Anybody who tells you otherwise isn’t telling you the truth.”
Note to President Obama: It wasn’t the slogans that were designed to alleviate the problem—it was the practices behind the slogans. This quote from POTUS is about as brilliant as saying that ATMs take jobs from human beings.
The Journal has the final word:
We'd almost feel sorry for Mr. Obama's gas-price predicament if it weren't a case of rough justice. The President has deliberately sought to raise the price of energy throughout the economy via his cap-and-trade agenda. He is now getting his wish, albeit a little too overtly for political comfort. Mr. Obama has also spent three years blaming George W. Bush for every economic ill. If Mr. Obama now feels frustrated by economic events beyond his control, perhaps he should call Mr. Bush for consolation.