[See several photographs below the fold]
High gasoline prices at the pump were one of the key reasons President Carter was trounced by Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential election. I remember it well (see vintage photos from 1979 below the fold). Shortages at the pumps resulted in long lines of cars, often down the street and the electorate could not get Carter out of the White House fast enough!
The Wall Street Journal published an article yesterday (No Relief in Sight at Pump) that outlines the facts behind today’s high gasoline prices and all of the actions (and inactions) taken by Obama that got us to these price points:
U.S. gasoline prices jumped 6% in February, and market experts predict they will climb higher because critical refining operations in the Northeast are shutting down.
Rising gas prices pose a risk to the economic recovery, which is showing signs of gaining steam after faltering last year.
“There’s now going to be a question if we can get enough gasoline into the East Coast for summer,” said David Greely, an energy analyst at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The U.S. Energy Department has warned a shortfall could develop as early as July.
Governor Romney will more frequently challenge President Obama in coming weeks and months, in a number of key policy areas — I believe. Why? It will likely be months before Obama will agree to any 1:1 debates with Governor Romney but Mitt can take the debate to him directly by publicly challenging him when his policy decisions are flawed (quite often as we know). Also, by so doing, he raises his stature to that of “presidential” by allowing the average voter to get a glimpse of how a President Romney would govern. Such direct challenges are in the best interest of the nation to force the debate. Obama is then placed in the position by the press to either disagree or to follow Romney’s recommendations, both of which are positive for Governor Romney.
Today, Governor Romney called on President Obama to fire three senior administration officials. This is not a small action he has taken, though the MSM may attempt to minimize it.
This call to action is a powerful one and is spoken with authority. I hope to see this type of assertive rhetoric more frequently from Governor Romney — I believe we will see him continue to turn up the pressure on President Obama directly (THANK YOU to @ZekeJMilller for his tweeted tip to this article!) — [see photos below the fold]:
The “gas hike trio,” as dubbed by Romney, of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, should resign first, Romney said.
“Those three are on a mission to drive up the price of gasoline and all energy so that they can get their solar and their wind to be more price competitive,” Romney said during a town hall meeting.
Next Saturday (3/17) is the Louisiana Primary. Governor Bobby Jindal has been on the short lists of many Republican leaders as a possible presidential candidate in the future. Monday, he wrote an Op-Ed in the WSJ titled, “Obama’s Politicized Energy Policy.” Governor Romney’s call to Obama to fire three officials dovetail perfectly with Governor Jindal’s comments from his editorial.
With rising energy costs making it more expensive to drive our cars, heat our homes, and fuel our sputtering economy, many Republicans are criticizing the Obama administration for a failure to adopt a comprehensive energy policy. I believe that critique lets the president off too easily. His administration does have a national energy policy—it’s just a subservient by-product of his radical environmental policy.
This administration willfully ignores rational choices that would lower energy prices and reduce U.S. reliance on foreign energy sources.
In 2011, the average annual prices of a barrel of oil and a gallon of gas were higher than at any time in the last 150 years. If we are going to be serious about rebuilding our economy and helping American families who are struggling to make ends meet, this president must take action.
To pursue national and economic security, the president’s first obligations on energy should be to increase the quantity of domestic energy sources and to decrease the cost of that energy to consumers. That starts with implementing a clear strategy of increasing energy production in all sectors—including the hydrocarbon sources abhorred by the left—and by providing the kind of long-term regulatory certainty that private capital demands before investment.
While the president is quick to tell anyone who will listen that domestic oil production is higher today than at any time since 2003, that’s not the whole story. The truth is that today’s production levels are not based on anything this president has done, but on the decisions made by private companies before he took office. And much of this production is taking place on private land.
Because energy prices are driven by a sense of future risk, the president should create a more predictable environment for exploration and production. In an election year, the federal government is now suddenly attempting to reach pre-moratorium—that is, pre-2010 BP oil spill—levels for approving deep-water drilling permits. That’s not enough. The average number of deep-water drilling permits approved monthly by the administration is down by nearly 30% from the historical norm prior to the spill.
The reality is that the Obama administration slowed the permitting process long before the spill happened. Rather than playing catch up, we’re falling further behind. The American people and the oil and gas industry need certainty that energy independence, not politics, will drive our nation’s security.
The president should also start opening new fields where there is clear bipartisan local support—along the mid-Atlantic coast, the Eastern Gulf, and in Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge—and he should stop slow-walking lease sales for onshore drilling on federal lands, which in 2011 reached an all-time low (since 1984), when discounting for leases sold in previous years.
He could also send a clear signal that his administration will not shut down the revolutionary hydrofracking technique that is making our nation the world leader in natural gas. It’s an industry that supported more than 600,000 jobs in 2010 and is expected to add more than a quarter million more jobs by 2015. The affordable prices that come with abundant natural gas have a tremendous impact on our steel manufacturers, fertilizer companies, plastics companies and individuals who need to heat their homes and fuel their vehicles. If you want more manufacturing, you need cheap and reliable natural gas—period.
Third, the president could reverse a series of cabinet-level decisions that are at odds with a strategy of affordable domestic energy production. That starts with rebuking Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who once said that our goal should be to increase gasoline prices to the levels seen in Europe. It also means suspending regulations like Tier 3 gasoline standards that are expected to increase gas prices by 25 cents a gallon. And it means ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to go in the opposite direction from its currently hostile stance on domestically abundant clean coal energy.
Some estimates suggest that the U.S. could overtake Russia as the world’s top producer of oil and gas by 2020 . . .[...]
Finally, the president should announce today that he’s going to reverse his decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. This pipeline would produce 20,000 construction jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs, and it would provide a much-needed transportation line between oil refineries along our Gulf Coast and production facilities in Canada, not to mention the booming Bakken oil fields of Montana and North Dakota. Our friends to the north have been reliable and steadfast trading partners, and the president should be making this pipeline decision on policy grounds instead of cheap political appeals to his liberal base.
President Obama claims to be focusing this election year on the American economy. To make that pledge true, he must make wholesale changes to his energy policy and put energy prices and energy independence ahead of zealous adherence to left-wing environmental theory.