Like most Americans, I was euphoric when our president called his late press conference to announce the death of Osama bin Laden. I was online, as were many Americans, expressing pride, relief, and that collective exhale that comes with justice served. I tip my cap to the president for maintaining the secrecy, which is so fleeting in Washington, and making what many rightly called a gutsy move of sending in a strike force to get proof of bin Laden’s death. That would have been difficult if a bomb had been dropped on that house. Aside from the choice to keep that evidence, which our men and women risked their lives to get, secret from the American people, it was a flawless operation. The aftermath, though, was anything but flawless.
You see, I had this crazy idea that after his announcement the president would get back to the business of running the country. Given evidence of his work ethic in the past, with the parties with top-notch celebrities at the White House, date nights to New York, an unusual amount of vacations, and his time hitting the links, I’m not sure why I expected that. But the president stayed true to his previous actions when he took what many, even some 9/11 families, considered to be a victory lap after killing OBL. I’m not sure if the president made this choice or he was pressured by those who are tasked with getting the president re-elected. But the buck does stop with him, yes? I’m sure the sycophants who surround the president and maybe the big man himself had visions of the campaign ads that would just seem to write themselves. All that was left to do was to hit the road and get those photo-ops. One problem: As the euphoria of getting bin Laden wanes, America is coming back down to earth realizing we have skyrocketing gas prices, out-of-control government spending, and a rising unemployment rate. If only our president were as grounded.
It was like the Keystone Cops. In their haste to score political points, the support staff around the president rolled out “facts” of the bin Laden raid to the eager public. And within hours, that same staff would walk back, downplay, or full-on contradict previous statements. There was a firefight, then there was just one gun. He was given a chance to surrender, then he wasn’t. The wife was used as a human shield, then it was an unnamed woman, then she wasn’t killed but only shot in the leg — oh, and she was indeed bin Laden’s wife. Who can keep it all straight now? The White House surely couldn’t. An exasperated Jay Carney even threw his hands up at one point saying even he was confused. Now at first blush this seems to be more evidence of something that has become common knowledge here on Capitol Hill among both parties. It’s “amateur hour” at the White House. But the cynic in me suspects something more. All the misinformation given by the White House kept the fever of this story going … and going. The story, from so-called news outlets that carry Obama’s water, was how “new” details had emerged from the raid. Fair news sources rightly called the White House out on getting so much wrong. But this statement-retraction-redefine-refine narrative allowed the White House to do something that would help in Mr. Obama’s re-election hopes. It allowed a sympathetic press to all but ignore the dire economic fallout from this administration’s policies.
The average price of gasoline is now $4 a gallon across America. When this happened to Bush, story after story was published or broadcast about how the former president’s greedy oil buddies were profiting off our misery. Conspicuously absent from news coverage today is the constant drumbeat of how Americans are suffering under the boot of high gasoline prices. The media would rather focus on the president’s trip to Ground Zero. Some news outlets are stepping up though. A recent CNNMoney survey finds that 9% of Americans’ budgets go to pay for gasoline. The report outlined that Americans could buy round-trip airfare from New York to Los Angeles or more than a dozen dinners for two at Applebee’s or two 16 GB iPod nanos if they had not spent $368.09 a month on gasoline. It’s a tax on every American family that drives, yet we have a president who stubbornly refuses to allow American companies to go after the energy resources we need here at home. For the last 30 years, liberals have said, “If we start drilling now, it will take 10 years to make a difference in oil prices.” Indeed, if we had told liberals to shut up thirty years ago, the pain at the pump could have been avoided today. But our president is a big government guy. The smartest president, or so we’re told by the left, America has ever had doesn’t realize that we need the titans of industry to get us alternative energy sources faster. His latest big idea, floated in an internal memo, is to tax every American by the miles they drive. Isn’t that novel? Just where do Democrats get that “tax and spend” label from?
Conservatives agree that corporate welfare to oil companies, to all companies, must stop. It’s wrong to give taxpayer money to oil companies that make billions. It’s just as wrong to give taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood, which posts a billion dollars in annual revenue. What America should be doing is allowing these energy companies to extract America’s oil to bring down prices. That would rein in those “evil” speculators. These energy companies in turn will make profit. That’s a good thing. Understand that private companies are vastly more efficient; they have the ability to get products to market faster and less expensively than any government program would. Government could offer the energy companies a way to make more money if those companies invest their profits into development of alternative energy sources like non-food derived biofuels and solar, wind, and nuclear technologies. The government would reward those companies with tax breaks for finished products or, in other words, rewards for results and only results. But this notion escapes Mr. Obama, as he is in the practice of rewarding failure. We learned recently that Fannie Mae, a government-sponsored enterprise, will once again ask for over $8 billion in a taxpayer-funded bailout. But hey, keep the cameras on the president, who is still talking and touring about his operation to get bin Laden. Is it any wonder that we’re about to reach the debt ceiling … again?