Over recent years the price of gas at the pump has fallen dramatically, leaving Republicans with a huge problem. How to blame President Obama?
In previous years, when gas prices were hovering around $4 a gallon, it was much easier for the GOP to paint the president as a high gas price loving liberal who wanted everyone to drive expensive smaller cars. They, of course, left out the fact that gas was $4 a gallon in the summer of 2008–BEFORE Obama was even elected.
Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich predicted that Obama’s “anti-American energy government” would result in “$10-a-gallon gasoline.”
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) predicted in 2012 that if Obama were re-elected, gas would go up to $5.45 by the beginning of 2015.
Obama’s opponent that year, Mitt Romney said that Obama was entirely responsible “for what happen to gas prices under his watch.” And that “the doubling of gasoline prices obviously follows a presidential policy.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed high pump prices on “the painful effects of President Obama’s energy policy.”
Current House Speaker Paul Ryan said that Obama was striving “to great lengths to make gas more expensive.”
Unfortunately for Republicans, gas prices went down instead of going up.
But since gas prices never reached the Mad Max post-apocalyptic levels neo-con have fantasized about for years, Republicans have had to get creative in trying to spin low gas prices under Obama’s watch as a bad thing for the American people.
So Republicans are doing something that no one thought they would do in a million years. They’re going green to attack Obama for low gas prices.
In a recent, The Daily Caller article titled, “Obama Was Wrong About Gas Prices And Now Liberals Are Scrambling,” columnist Michael Bastasch makes the argument that falling gas prices are hurting the environment and increasing global warming.
Global warming, you know that thing Republicans swear doesn’t exist?
In the article, Bastasch cites an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report on fuel economy standards that warn of how cheap gasoline compromises their global warming goals.
The premise of Bastasch’s article is that liberals never wanted lower gas prices because they were determined to “nanny state” everyone’s driving habits, but now their plan has backfired, and Obama’s now to blame for any negative ecological impacts.
But don’t think Republicans haven’t figured out to translate low gas prices into an economic crisis. In 2015, conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh opined on how low gas prices are an indicator of bad economic times under Obama’s watch.
“One of the leading, or primary, reasons why the price of oil is down, and gasoline, is demand. Demand is down. And the demand is down because the U.S. economy’s in the tank.” The reason “you won’t find very many experts acknowledge this,” he went on, is “because it contradicts the idea that the economy is roaring back,” Limbaugh charged.
The truth is that the president does not control gas prices which are controlled by fluctuating global markets well beyond any one world leader’s control. Here’s how The New York Times explains it:
“Oil is a global market in which America is a big consumer but a small supplier. We consume about 20 percent of the world’s oil but hold only 2 percent of the oil reserves. That means we are, in economics jargon, “price takers.” Domestic production has increased during the Obama administration, but it has had minimal effects on global prices because, as producers, we are just too small to matter much. And even if domestic oil companies further increased production, they would sell to the highest global bidder.”
In other words, American oil producers are selling their oil to those countries that pay more money for it. And America will always buy oil from countries that produce more and sell it cheaper. Therefore, domestic energy policy has little to no impact on gas prices.
However, the truth just doesn’t make for good political theatre.
Soon you should expect to hear how Obama’s low gas prices are currently killing more Americans through increased auto accidents, drunk driving, and road rage incidents. But as soon as a Republican takes over (which hopefully won’t happen for a very long time) they will flip low gas prices back to being the result of “sound” conservative policies.
Featured image via Bill Pugliano/Getty Images; YouTube