Why not? It causes everything else, even including Seinfeld-style shrinkage. How else to explain the strange memory loss amongst Democrats who pummeled President Bush over high energy prices in the last years of his term (when they controlled both houses of Congress) and are now surprised at the “unexpected” (as the MSM would say) pounding the GOP is giving them over high gas prices?
Back in April of 2006, the New York Times, the left’s official house organ, reported, “Democrats Eager to Exploit Anger Over Gas Prices:”
Democrats running for Congress are moving quickly to use the most recent surge in oil and gasoline prices to bash Republicans over energy policy, and more broadly, the direction of the country.
With oil prices hitting a high this week and prices at the pump topping $3 a gallon in many places, Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic Senate candidate in Minnesota, is making the issue the centerpiece of her campaign. Ms. Klobuchar says it “is one of the first things people bring up” at her campaign stops.
To varying degrees, Democrats around the country are following a similar script that touches on economic anxiety and populist resentment against oil companies.
How soon they forget! Nina Totenberg of NPR is now defending Obama from rising gas prices, and claims: “Politicians don’t control this.” This past week at the Washington Free Beacon similarly finds video of Debbie Downer’s “Gassy Rhetoric:”
President Obama and his Democratic allies have responded to rising gas prices by insisting there is little, if anything, the administration can do to bring them down.
Obama told students in Miami on Thursday that there is “no silver bullet” when it comes to lowering gas prices. The White House press secretary told reporters this week there are no “magic solutions.”
But Democrats haven’t always been so consistent in their message. In fact, one prominent Democrat argued in 2005 that President Bush and Republicans were directly to blame for high gas prices.
Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.), then a freshman member of Congress, complained on the House floor about the prospect of paying “more than three dollars a gallon” for gas “for the foreseeable future, if not forever.”
Based on the current prices here in California, three dollars a gallon is looking pretty good right now.
Next, ABC gets all wee-wee-ed up, as President Obama would say, over Newt Gingrich having a bit of sport with Mr. Obama’s algae obsessions:
On Thursday night, Gingrich mocked the president’s speech in front of an Idaho crowd, by suggesting that he should take a bottle of algae with him and “go around and we can have the Obama solution.”
“And maybe what we ought to do at Newt.org is we ought to get t-shirts that say ‘You choose.’ Gingrich went on to suggest the slogans, ‘You have Newt: Drill here, Drill Now, Pay Less. You have Obama: Have Algae, Pay More, Be Weird.”
Heh, indeed.™ As Victor Davis Hanson adds:
As gas nears $5-a-gallon out west, the president, who has cancelled a key pipeline and frozen federal leases from Alaska to the East Coast, teaches us about American algae potential, in the way he used to emphasize the importance of tire pressure and “tune-ups.” He castigates the opposition for making political hay out of bad news, in the way he routinely did as a senator in compiling the most partisan voting record in the Senate. Energy Secretary Chu cannot and will not say a word about soaring gas prices, since he is on record not so long ago hoping that they might double — that is, get to $8- to 10-a-gallon as they are in Europe. The Energy Department can do almost everything Americans don’t want, but not the single thing they do want.
Jennifer Granholm, the Democrat former governor of Michigan from 2003 through the end of 2010, now hiding out in the witness protection program that is Al Gore’s Current TV, claims that “blaming the president for high gas prices is like blaming Rudy Giuliani for 9/11.” A curious turn of the phrase considering that both President Obama’s former “Green” “Jobs” “Czar” and 35 percent of Granholm’s fellow Democrats likely happen to blame Giuliani for 9/11. And even more curious, as Noel Sheppard writes at Newsbusters, because Granholm regularly attacked President Bush over high gas prices — and stumped for Obama’s energy policy, which promised rising gas prices and bankrupting the coal industry.
As James Bowman of the American Spectator writes on his Website:
Returning to the theme of an earlier post on the supposed stupidity of the electorate in the eyes of the media, I notice that today’s Washington Post has President Obama telling us that there are “no quick fixes” for high gas prices. Likewise “no silver bullet.” It is now ten years since the Senate rejected the request of President Bush and the House of Representatives to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, at least partly on the grounds that, so we were told at the time, it would take ten years for the oil to come on line. So, then. How about a slow fix? How about any fix? The “no quick fix” meme is both true and irrelevant, yet another of the straw men that the rhetorical President is so skilled at building up only to tear down. This is just how he chooses to tell us, in the words of the Post’s helpful gloss that it is “the White House’s belief that gasoline prices are subject to cyclical spikes due to forces largely outside its control, including the rise in Chinese and Indian oil demand.”
Of course, that is itself a straw-man argument. The fact that oil price rises are partly or even “largely” outside our control makes no case at all for inaction on those things that are in our control. The Post, like the President, must think we’re stupid. Indeed, according to the account of the same speech in Politico the latter thinks we are so stupid that we will believe him when he tells us that it is the advocates of drilling who think we are stupid. “The American people aren’t stupid,” he said, because they will understand that Republican pleas to drill for more domestic oil are “a bumper sticker” and “not a strategy to solve our energy challenges.” As David Burge’s iowahawk pointed out in a Tweet, that’s a bit rich coming from the guy who got himself elected on the bumper-sticker slogan of “hope and change.” At least “drill, baby, drill” has a precise and well-understood meaning.
Certainly, Republicans have every right to use the Democrats’ tactics from 2008 against them; jujitsu is what political warfare is all about. Though at Big Journalism, Warner Todd Huston outlines “How Obama Uses False Media Narratives To Advance His Polices.”
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.”