I was reading articles on energy over the weekend, and I started to wonder how many Americans really believe the GOP mantra, “Drill here, drill now, pay less.” Because we can drill here, we can drill now, but we won’t pay less. If we suddenly started producing many more barrels of oil and prices fell sharply, other countries would simply cut back their production till prices went back up. We’re not drilling in a vacuum, we’re drilling in a global market.
While the Republicans were very anxious for every American to understand this global market when gas prices rose under President Bush, they’re not about to make that same effort for President Obama. In fact, they’re doing everything they can to confuse the issue and blame Obama. President Bush had no control over prices, but President Obama, magically and mysteriously, somehow does.
The Democrats, as usual, are doing a lousy job communicating about the global market for oil and the president’s inability to affect prices. The Democrats can’t explain their way out of a paper bag, even when the facts are on their side.
I especially love the way the GOP is touting how low gas prices were when Bush left and Obama arrived. That’s because the global meltdown also destroyed the demand for oil, so prices plummeted. A deep recession is not a happy way to lower gas prices. Sure, you’re paying less to get to work, but maybe you no longer have a job. Rising prices reflect recovery here and around the world.
Further confusing this issue is that politicians and pundits frequently talk about “oil and gas.” When you talk about domestic production, they are two very different commodities. Because natural gas is difficult to ship, increased domestic production does in fact have a strong effect on prices. But not oil.
There are lots of reasons to vote for or against President Obama. But how much you pay for gas on November 6 on your way to vote isn’t one of them.