Yesterday, Mitt Romney said he’s “not going to say outrageous things about the president.” Trouble with that statement is that “outrageous” is a pretty subjective adjective. Outrageous to whom? Apparently, Romney meant to say he’s not going to say anything about the president that would outrage the left — because he doesn’t seem to be afraid to say something about the president that would outrage the right. In fact, he did just that earlier today, when he essentially said the president shouldn’t be held responsible for the high price of gas.
“I think people recognize that the president can’t precisely set the price at the pump,” Romney said in an interview on CNBC.
Oh, Romney, you’re right technically — but don’t you realize that precisely setting the price at the pump is also precisely what Obama longs to do? He wants to set the price of gas not so as to alleviate the burden on American consumers but so as to make his favored forms of energy more economically appealing to them.
In an excellent article in National Review magazine this month, Kevin D. Williamson illuminates this clearly. Williamson writes:
As it happens, the Obama administration has been busily undermining domestic energy production in the United States, because its central-planning manifesto says that the U.S. economy should cease to run on petroleum and begin to run on other forms of energy: wind, hydro, geothermal — air, water, and earth being the favored elements, fire being in the political doghouse. (Like I said: occultism.) In his latest budget proposal, President Obama proposes to continue offering tax benefits to U.S. manufacturers in the hope of increasing exports, but he intends to exclude from that benefit energy firms — which just happen to be positioned to export a great deal of natural gas to a world market hungry for the stuff …
So we are to double our exports, which were going to double anyway, but we’re to do so by favoring goods that nobody wants and that are not made here … over goods that are made here that everybody wants and that just happen to fall into the category of goods that represent the majority of our trade deficit.
That’s the trouble with Romney’s pledge: If he’s unwilling to unmask the president for who and what he is, he doesn’t stand a chance in November. Nobody is asking him to take cheap shots: We’re just asking him to not give the president the benefit of the doubt when the president’s purposes are pretty clear.
In the CNBC interview, Romney went on to point out many of the facts of Obama’s energy policies and noted their detrimental effects. Why the disclaimer that Obama shouldn’t be held responsible for gas prices then? What does that disclaimer accomplish? It’s one thing to refrain from insulting those with differing views in polite conversation and to avoid ad hominem attacks — those are just the rules of debate and also happen to help the debater who abides by them. It’s another to affect to be blind to reality for the sake of scoring points with those who want to obscure reality for the sake of Obama’s reelection — that just makes it that much easier for Obama to convince the electorate that he and his cadre of experts do know what’s best for them and that he should be given the chance to do it.