The White House is serving up an unusually heavy load of . . . nonsense this week, pushing back against charges that President Obama deserves any blame for presiding over a gas price runup that could hit $5 per gallon.
Obama’s aides know that high gas prices are a potentially lethal issue for a president. So they’re throwing up heavy vapors of cloud cover to hide the president’s record.
In fact, the White House is trying to steal Bush’s record.
Everyone understands that it takes time to open areas to drilling, find oil, and start getting it out of the ground. No one is going to believe that the increased oil production that has occurred under Obama is due to Obama, who anyway has arguably slowed production increases.
And yet there he was Thursday at the University of Miami, putting one over on some gullible kids.
We’re not going to transition out of oil anytime soon. And that’s why under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. That’s why we have a record number of oilrigs operating right now — more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world combined . . .
And we’re making progress. That’s the good news. In 2010, our dependence on foreign oil was under 50 percent for the first time in over a decade. We were less reliant on foreign oil than we had been. In 2011, the United States relied less on foreign oil than in any of the last 16 years.
The White House wants to blame George W. Bush for the state of the economy. But it wants to take credit for oil production increases that take their lineage from decisions made by Bush.
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, who briefed today, knew it this was all too much, so he tried to suggest that the president was merely reciting facts about increased production, not necessarily trying to claim credit.
No one in the room, including Earnest, believed this for a second. But there you go.
This was nothing, however, compared to the claim a couple of days ago by Josh’s boss, Jay Carney, that Republicans were in fact responsible for nixing the Keystone Pipeline deal. No one believed this either, but Carney said it with such determined certitude that it appeared David Plouffe may have called in a hypnotist earlier in the day to make sure the press secretary would sound credible.
And then there have been the protestations by Obama and his aides that there’s little a president can do about gasoline prices – this of apiece with the usual abnegation of responsibility we see from the president when something goes wrong.
Actually, there are a lot of things he can do, but won’t.
He can release supply from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve;
He can suspend the 18.4 cent per gallon federal gasoline tax and convene the nation’s governors for a jaw boning session to get them to temporarily cut their hefty state taxes as well. But of course this might interfere with everyone’s spending plans, including Obama’s;
He can suspend reformulated gasoline laws that require the use of expensive additives;
And he can summon the Saudi ambassador to the Oval Office, and by all means necessary – whether through employing a headlock or bowing until his forehead scrapes his shoelaces – tell him to ratchet up production like never before.
Instead, Obama has decided to employ a new type of alternative fuel: hot air.
We’ll see if it works in an internal combustion engine.