We are talking, of course, about President Obama’s claim that the GOP is “licking their chops” over the bad news of high gas prices. This is the line uttered by the president in his most misleading energy speech delivered in Florida on February 23rd.
In that speech, President Obama claimed that Republicans were happy that gas prices were hurting Americans. Obama intended to show that Republicans didn’t care that America was hurting, happy they could use it as a political tool to hurt the president and his well-meaning policies.
Here is what he said:
“Some politicians, they see this as a political opportunity. I know you’re shocked by that. Last week the lead story in one newspaper said, ‘Gasoline prices are on the rise and Republicans are licking their chops.’ That’s a quote. That was the lead. Licking their chops. Only in politics do people root for bad news. Do they greet bad news so enthusiastically.”
Note how Obama uses the partisan slam, published in “one newspaper” written by a left-wing writer and presents this as fact about how Republicans feel about rising gas prices. Note that Obama didn’t quote any actual Republican saying rising gas prices is a good thing. He quoted one of his own follower’s partisan claims and then assigned that false narrative to his political enemies.
In your college debate class you’d call this a strawman argument. Using the claim of a partisan to represent the enemy’s position is what the rest of us usually call a lie.
This “one newspaper” from which Obama claims to quote is likely the left-leaning website Politico whose February 16th story begins with the line, “Gasoline prices are on the rise, and Republicans are licking their chops.”
It was Politico that said Republicans are “licking their chops,” not any Republicans.
Tellingly, not one of the reports in the news over the ensuing days tried to track down what “one newspaper” Obama was claiming to quote. It almost seems as if the rest of the Old Media assumed he was lying about the quote, but didn’t much care anyway because the slam on Republicans was too good to check.
Finally, Lance Burri suggests a viral meme campaign, albeit using low-res 3d analog technology, rather than on the Internet:
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) blamed President Obama for the spike in oil prices, saying the administration had pushed for consumers to pay higher prices at the pump.
“Let’s give the president credit for one domestic policy that works. He wanted higher gas prices and he got them,” said Daniels on Fox News Sunday. “Secretary Chu said $8 are about what they pay in Europe. It would be great. Secretary Salazar said $10 and it still wouldn’t be for drilling in the places where we know there’s an awful lot of domestic production. And so, they have gotten the doubling of gas prices and perhaps worse, it’s a conscious policy of this administration. Maybe the one thing they set out to do and actually accomplished.” he said.
With the full faith and credit of the MSM cheering them on. As the Professor adds, “it’s easier to call for higher gas prices when they’re low. Once they’re high, and people are feeling the pain, it seems kind of idiotic. At least in an election year.” Particularly when they’re dealing with prices such as these every day while driving to work.
More: Found via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt email, a Reuters photo is captioned, “Prices rise above $5 for a gallon of premium gas at a Shell station at Olympic Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, California February 21, 2012.”
Related: Obviously, I was kidding in my headline — but apparently not by much: “EPA ‘Stalinizes’ JunkScience.com FOIA request about Gleick.”