Fuel for a Fictional Fire
Obama is not to blame for high gas prices
Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Who or what is to blame for the current high gas prices?
Unless you've been stuck in a time warp for the last month, you probably noticed that the price for a gallon of gas has been steadily climbing. Oil prices jumped to a nine-month high on Monday, peaking somewhere around $105 per barrel.
The reasons behind the spike are extremely varied, but generally center on the paragon of jackass nations, Iran. On Monday, Iran announced that it would halt oil exports to "hostile" nations Britain and France.
Generally, this doesn't have much of an effect on crude supply. France only had 3 percent of its oil coming in from Iran, and Britain hadn't imported black gold from the Ahmadinejad regime in six months already.
People had become somewhat accustomed to the somewhat high, but tolerable prices over the past couple years. Fluctuations have been common, but mostly spurred on by the massive unrest and revolutions in the Middle East.
Notice, in no way was the name Obama uttered in any of those reasons. That hasn't stopped conservatives from throwing stones from their glass houses at the president and blaming him for the pain at the pump.
Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum both implicated Obama in the most recent great gas upheaval, saying his economic and environmental policies have forced prices higher. Obama's refusal to give the Keystone XL pipeline an instant rubber stamp of approval seems to be their go-to garbage talking point.
Ignoring for a moment that the Keystone XL pipeline wouldn't have any effect on gas prices for a decade or so, let's go back in time to when gas prices last jumped over the moon.
It was 2008, and the President was a fun old man named George W. Bush. Prior to his life as the most lampooned president in recent memory, he was actually a Texas oil executive. Bush began a few oil exploration companies, and served on the Board of Directors of an energy company named HKN.
A man with this much experience would most certainly have been able to keep gas prices low, considering he had very in-depth knowledge of the Oil industry. In July 2008, however, something strange happened.
Oil prices hit a record high of $147 a barrel, even with Mr. Oil himself at the helm of the nation. What gives?
As it turns out, other than starting more unrest in the Middle East, the president has little power over the price of crude oil, and consequently the price of gasoline. Obama didn't tell Iran to insist on powering forward with its nuclear program, just like Bush didn't have anything to do with Hurricane Katrina or 9/11.
Republicans will still, however, insist that they will be able to use their magic petroleum powers to keep gas below two bucks a gallon because it's easy for them to sit back and Monday morning quarterback for Obama than it is to actually suggest reasonable policy.
Doubly ironic is the fact that every Republican candidate other than Ron Paul thinks that strong military action against Iran would be a viable option in the future. It's doubtful that oil prices would fall if the U.S. bombs a major petroleum producer.
What we're seeing is the floundering of campaigns that are on the ropes. Obama's policies are helping the economy rebuild after a horrible stretch, and the Republican candidates are willing to latch on any bad thing and attach his name to it.