Dem governor: Attacking Obama for higher gas prices is “baloney”

posted at 3:21 pm on September 4, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

Is it, Governor Schweitzer? Is it? Via The Hill:

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana both said that Obama’s administration had made strides in implementing an “all of the above” approach to energy, with emphasis on both oil exploration and renewable sources.

“They actually do it, and don’t just talk about it,” Schweitzer said of Democrats.

The Montana governor said the United States has quadrupled its number of drilling rigs, which he said had led to increased domestic production and less of a need for imports.

“I’m tired of hearing all their baloney about Obama doubled the price of gasoline,” Schweitzer said about Republicans. “Big damn lie.”

The Democrats are taking umbrage with the Republicans’ big assault on record-high gas prices that’s going on today:

But let’s step back here a moment and break this down. First of all, it is not a “big damn lie” that gas prices have doubled under Obama — because they most certainly have. Now, I would agree with Gov. Schweitzer that it would be pretty ridiculous to imply that this doubling of gasoline prices is due purely or even mostly to President Obama’s policies. There’s a whole hot mess of factors that can determine the price we pay at the pump at any given moment based on global trends in supply and demand.

As well as the political turmoil and natural disasters that can disrupt supply and cause price spikes, there’s also been a worldwide, steady, long-term increase in the demand for fossil fuels as other countries undergo accelerated economic growth (China and India are often cited as the ‘culprits’), and as the world’s various economies continue to develop, it’s likely that the demand for oil will keep right on rising. This process started long before President Obama, and shall continue long after him.

However, Republicans aren’t arguing that President Obama is entirely responsible for these price swings — rather that he’s failed take conscious steps that could and would conspicuously mitigate the level to which we’re at the mercy of global conditions (hint: “all of the above,” a.k.a. picking winners and losers in the energy market and deciding what forms of energy and how much of them Americans shall consume, doesn’t count). An increase in supply can put a downward pressure on prices, and if the Obama administration would simply allow Americans to take greater advantage of our own ludicrously abundant natural resources, we could make a greater contribution to the global oil supply and be less vulnerable to problems in other parts of the world. What’s more, we could also get in on a larger market share — thereby creating productive private-sector jobs and increasing our own economic growth and government revenue.

President Obama likes to argue that there’s nothing he can do to immediately bring down the price of gasoline (i.e., “no silver bullet”), but that’s not entirely true, either. Merely by approving drilling permits and projects like the Keystone Pipeline, President Obama can signal to global markets that an increase in supply is on its way — incentivizing speculators to let go of oil that they might otherwise have held onto.

As for that increased domestic production under President Obama’s watch? Seems like that’s one of the few things they aren’t willing to credit to “the previous administration,” even if that’s where credit is actually due.


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