published Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Politicizing gas prices


Local gas prices reflect the national decline. Carmen Fazio changes his sign at Kankus No. 9 at Wilcox Boulevard and Tunnel Boulevard.
Local gas prices reflect the national decline. Carmen Fazio changes his sign at Kankus No. 9 at Wilcox Boulevard and Tunnel Boulevard.
Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The price of gasoline in the Chattanooga area is at or below $3 a gallon at many stations. The average price per gallon across the United States is at a five-month low. Some experts predict that prices will continue to drop. That's great news for U.S. consumers, who spend about $200 million per day less on gas now than in April when the average was nearly $4 a gallon. It's not so good news for the politicians and ideologues -- mainly Republican and mainly on the right -- who made the price of gasoline a major political issue in the late winter and early spring.

When gas prices were on the rise, many Republicans, blamed President Barack Obama and his energy policies for the price increases. There was no basis for the charge, but that didn't stop the abuse.

Likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and GOP members of Congress used rising gas prices to score political points. Trouble is, Obama had little control over the rise in the price of gas then, or the fall in prices now.

The president made that clear from the outset. Obama said that global markets -- not domestic policy or presidential desires -- were responsible for the rise and fall of gas prices. He still says the same, honorably refusing to take credit for the current drop in prices that puts millions of bucks in consumer pockets and pocketbooks every day.

Republicans who were so noisy about gas prices when they were on the rise are silent now that they are dropping. They can't afford to speak. To admit they unfairly placed blame on Obama for rising prices would mean that they would have to praise him now that prices are falling. They won't do that.

That makes things a bit tricky for Romney and other high-profile Republicans. Romney, who said in March that he "absolutely" believed that Obama was responsible for high gas prices, now refuses to publicly address gas prices. A spokesman says that Romney is now focusing on making energy more affordable. That's too convenient.

If Romney -- and the others who joined him in lambasting the president -- were fair, they would admit publicly that if Obama was responsible for rising prices that he deserves credit when they decline. Given the nature of presidential politics, that won't happen.

It's unlikely, too, that attacks on Obama's energy policies will abate. They are almost sure to accelerate, with the president's offshore drilling ban as a prime target.

In a TV ad airing in Virginia -- identified as one of the crucial states in the presidential election -- a narrator asks, "President Romney's first 100 days, what will they mean" for the state? The answer, for those familiar with Romney's rhetoric, is predictable.

If elected Romney would repeal Obamacare and attack the deficit on his first day in office. By day 100, the ad intones, Romney would reverse Obama's offshore drilling ban, creating thousands of new jobs for the state. The ad doesn't say it directly, but the implication is that more offshore drilling will bring down gas prices even as it provides jobs. The evidence that it could do either is flimsy.

It's unlikely that removing the ban on offshore drilling will create a a large number of jobs for Virginians, as the ad claims. Work on offshore rigs and platforms requires special skills and many of the newly created jobs likely would be filled by experienced workers from other states. The ad doesn't address that. Rather, it offers a false promise that promotes the Romney philosophy and that supports Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, a party stalwart and long-time proponent of offshore gas and oil exploration.

More suspect still is the implication that ending the offshore drilling ban will lead to a drop in U.S. gas prices. That might be Republican dogma, but there's not much to support the veracity of the claim. There is, though, consistent research that supports a contrarian view.

An Associated Press analysis of 36 years of data "showed no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump. Don't believe the media? In a survey of economists conducted by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, not one disagreed with the statement that "Changes in gasoline prices over the past 10 years have predominately been due to market factors rather than U.S. federal economic or energy policies." That's pretty definitive evidence that Romney's emphasis on offshore drilling as a solution to high gas prices is more talk than fact.

Indeed, the best approach to resolving the nation's energy crisis -- which includes sharply fluctuating gas prices -- is the one espoused by Obama. It is a reasoned strategy that promotes clean and green energy and that focuses on domestic oil, wind and solar power and biofuels. Romney can offer no useful alternative to that policy other than unfair attacks on the president and campaign promises that are unlikely to bear fruit.

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328Kwebsite said...

When I saw the news about gas prices, I began to wonder about Newt Gingrich's previous claim about lowering gas prices if he were elected President. It seems to me that he was attuned to a condition that would have occurred regardless of the election results. What condition actually lowered gas prices?

June 28, 2012 at 1:52 p.m.

The speculation wore off, no more than that from what I can tell.

June 29, 2012 at 12:22 a.m.
librul said...

Ha! Gas prices going up? Conservative scream it's Obama's fault. Gas prices falling? The cranks at Fox Noise and in the Republican echo chamber have fallen silent. All the wags that want to extoll the "power of the free market" to control prices don't have an opinion now?

June 29, 2012 at 7:11 a.m.
joneses said...

I remember when you pathetic parasitic liberals were pissing and moaning about gas prices when President Bush was in office but you give your God obastard a pass when they are higher. You are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites. Get your head out of obatard's ass, show some courage and start holding him accountable for all his failures which is everything he has done.

June 29, 2012 at 7:21 a.m.
dao1980 said...

Joneses, those wigglin' conniptions are gonna shorten your life span, and I'm sure your computers monitor would appreciate a break from being doused in a deluge of angry spittle.

Do you get this riled up over a football game?.. or are you baseballin' type? I know you couldn't like soccer, not many knuckle draggers here in the south are into that sport.

haha, GO TEAM GO!

June 29, 2012 at 7:45 a.m.
librul said...

Yep - looks like Joneses' fuse has just about burned down to the powder. Guess I'll just mix another mojito and sit back and enjoy the fireworks.

Gotta love the Trumanesque image of Obama holding up an iPad with the Faux News sreenshot saying "ObamaCare struck down by Supreme Court". Classic.

June 29, 2012 at 8:32 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Joneses,

You mad?

LMFAO!!!

June 29, 2012 at 8:39 a.m.
dao1980 said...

joneses has such a sweet mouth doesn't he, I bet he's everyone's favorite slack-jaw to invite to all the high-culture parties.

But hey, I got one more question for yins joneses, ol buddy ol pal. Why you gotta be driving up everyone's health care costs with your poor health choices?? You know all of those fits and tantrums are bad for your heart, and the multitude of greasy fast food you probably ingest, is like fuel to the high blood pressure high cholesterol fire.

June 29, 2012 at 9:02 a.m.
dao1980 said...

ha, all I heard was "WAAAAAAAAH" (with zesty profanity-sprinkles of course)

joneses is such an amazing living contradiction, all he can do is scream and whine about the types of socioeconomic problems that his demographic is the direct cause of... and then politically mislabel those around him just to erroneously blame them for his own problems.

What an agonizing life to lead. Maybe he'll improve with age... we're rootin' fer ya there jonesis!

June 29, 2012 at 10:25 a.m.
dao1980 said...

I know you are but what am I?.... Is about all I can say that would be down to your level of comprehension....

But hey, keep up with the wigglin' conniptions, and please continue to blow your own cover as a "spineless jellyfish and have about as much worth as the POB you are. All you can do is sit on your fat arse and leach off others. You probably need the government to control you because you are to stupid and incompetent to take are of yourself make your own decisions. That is how pathetic of a POB you are." (your words not mine, with the exception of a few edits)

Oh! Here's a direct question: What have I lied to you about?

June 29, 2012 at 10:52 a.m.

Anything Joneses doesn't want to believe is a lie.

June 29, 2012 at 12:04 p.m.
Downtownman said...

joneses, you are pure comedy. Just to let you know what a star you've become, I have several people at my desk, of all political leanings, laughing at your mouth seizures. Please keep it up, its making this a very entertaining Friday.

June 29, 2012 at 12:05 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Joneses,

Geez, you really are mad! LOL!

Keep up your unintelligible babble. Every sentence you come up with is even better than the next.

Your whining is, as Downtownman said, making for a very entertaining day on this site.

Talk about a sore loser! Keep crying about it though. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

OBAMA 2012!

June 29, 2012 at 1:57 p.m.
fairmon said...

Could it be that supply and demand are the key factor affecting gas prices. That is the case with essentially all products except health care and the governmment won't allow competition in that field or health care insurance.

June 30, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.
joneses said...

easy, Why do you keep showing how stupid and gullible you are by supporting a pathological liar named obastard? He is lying to you fool and you are so stupid you cannot see that. Your stupidity is not entertaining but it is actually very sad that you are so mesmerized by obastard. It is amazing how foolish you are that you cannot see his lies. You are really that stupid. Me a sore looser? We all lost stupid. Most of us realize this but foolish unintellectual idiots like you are to gullible to see how damaging this POS obastard is to America.

June 30, 2012 at 8:30 a.m.
joneses said...

harp

According to the foolish libtards the president is responsible for gas prices. Remember how they treated President Bush when the gas prices rose? So with this same thought obastard is responsible for the current high gas prices. it only makes sense.

June 30, 2012 at 8:43 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Joneses,

Don't be a whiner. OBAMA 2012!

June 30, 2012 at 10:08 a.m.
joneses said...

easy,

You are the one that should be whining as your God obastard is lying to you and you are to stupid to realize this.

ROMNEY 2012! IMPEACH OBAMA FOR VIOLATING HIS OATH OF OFFICE!

June 30, 2012 at 10:20 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Joneses,

LMAO! You mad? STILL?! Get over yourself. No one believes your BS.

June 30, 2012 at 11:56 a.m.
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