I saw some people on Twitter passing around this Catherine Rampell story today as if it were a valuable insight into the present moment. Click back if you missed it earlier but the basic argument being put out by at least two writers at the Washington Post is that dastardly GOP officials have set a trap for Biden by encouraging him to cut off Russian oil and then attacking him for the resulting increase in gasoline prices.
But one statement you can pretty much always count on is that Twitter is not the real world. The politically obsessed people who are thinking about the GOP’s trap for Biden are just not living in the same headspace as most Americans, very few of whom are going to be lashing out at Joe Biden because Ted Cruz or Mitch McConnell told them to do so.
Back in the real world, here’s what Biden is up against. “I think it’s ridiculous that we’re paying $5 a gallon,” one woman said while filling up her tank in San Francisco. If you watch all the way through, they did find one man whose family came from Ukraine. He said the higher prices were a small price to pay to help out the country.
Here’s a very similar story from all the way across the country in Orlando. This one focuses on a flower shop owner who recently raised prices and is now facing the need to do so again in order to pay the gas bill for his delivery vans. There’s no mention of Biden or of Republicans in this story, just some pretty simple reactions to higher prices.
In this next report from Detroit a woman says the increased prices are “just guzzling my money away.”
This clip from ABC News includes interviews collected in several different states. A man who runs a construction business in Connecticut said, “Nowadays there’s really no such thing as a profit margin. It’s basically survival.”
Here’s just one more clip from KSAT in San Antonio where gas is still a modest $3.69 per gallon. But already some people are thinking about making fewer errands during the day to save money.
There are stories like this being reported by every local media outlet in the country. It’s a perfect local news story if you think about it. It’s easy to cover and has an impact on almost everyone watching.
Here in southern California these stories have been running for a week and are updated every night with the latest price increases. Some of the stories mention Ukraine and Russia but few of them are focused on President Biden and I suspect none have mentioned the GOP. That could change, especially after the president’s big announcement today and his blunt statement that prices are going up. As Allahpundit pointed out, the White House is already trying to spin this by calling it the “Putin spike.”
But the fact is that most people weren’t looking at this as part of a partisan battle, they were just reacting to the shock of higher prices and wondering how long they will last. For as long as this does last, you can count on local news reporters to keep hammering away on this story. The White House can blame this on Putin or on dastardly Republicans but ultimately their real enemy is the local news media who will make sure people in every city in America know about it whenever gas prices set a new record.