In the history of mankind, many republics have risen, have flourished for a less or greater time, and then have fallen because their citizens lost the power of governing themselves and thereby of governing their state. TR


McDonough Nabbed by Wallace Trying to Steal Credit for Oil Boom

One of the more shameless lies repeatedly repeated by this administration is the suggestion that it is somehow responsible for the growth in U.S. oil production and lower gasoline prices. Of course, the increased production is on private land. The Obama administration has actually curtailed production on federal land and won’t even build the Keystone pipeline.

But it’s one of the few bright spots on the blighted economic landscape of the Obama administration, so credit is being taken where credit is not due.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was called out Sunday by Fox News host Chris Wallace, and he just relentlessly stuck to the script, no matter the truth.

Video || Obama Mocked Drilling, Now Claims Credit

This video provides a great look at the contrast between candidate Obama, who mocked Republicans for chanting “Drill baby, drill,” and Obama Oil Opinion Version 2.0, in which he claims credit for the very $2 gas he said we wouldn’t achieve.

“You know, we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices,” Obama said in 2012, less than two years before we did just that.

“Oil production on federal lands fell six percent since 2009, whereas production on private lands increased 61 percent, gains that happened not because of President Obama, but in spite of him,” said Fox News correspondent William La Jeunesse.

I’ll be back soon. I’m going to the gas station to fill up. I don’t care that I’ve still got half a tank, I just enjoy it too much.

Obama: “Gas Prices Aren’t Gonna be Low Forever”

Talk about a party pooper.

Scold-in-Chief Barack Obama today in Phoenix warned everyone that gas prices will inevitably rise, and don’t start going out and buying “gas guzzlers,” which of course must be disappointing to the thousands of American workers involved in building gas guzzlers, but whatever.

Low gas prices of course are a threat to Obama’s green agenda and his plans to get us all in electric vehicles and low-weight cars that wrap easily around telephone polls and kill lots of people for the sake of theoretical global warming which fuel-efficient cars wouldn’t make a dent in anyway I’m just saying.

Obama Oil Gimmick Has Shocking Effect on Prices!

They went up.

President Obama’s announcement Tuesday that he wants to go after people who may be affecting oil prices by gaming the markets for personal gain was completely ignored Tuesday by the markets themselves, which promptly bid the price of oil up another dollar.

In fact, the price shot up upon opening at 9 am, just after Obama’s initiative was announced by the White House. By late afternoon Eastern Time, Oil had gained $1.26, or 1.2 percent, to $104.19 a barrel, according to Bloomberg, settling at its highest level in two weeks.

Obama’s announcement was clearly designed to suggest that he’s on the case with respect to gasoline price hikes. But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Tuesday could not even say that the effort would directly affect prices.

There are so many things that go into setting the price of oil on a global — on the markets when you have a commodity like oil, which is traded globally.  So it is hard to know what the impact will be of the specific measures you take.  And of course, in this case . . . we obviously have to see what kind of actions is taken specifically with regard to potential manipulation or potential speculation.  So it would be pure speculation.

So, who knows? At least Carney was honest. And then he went into political attack mode . . .

I think the question that has to be asked of members of Congress is, why are you against putting more cops on the beat?  Why are you opposed to ensuring that the agencies involved here that regulate this market have the tools they need and the manpower they need to make sure that American consumers are not getting ripped off?

Because the only numbers the White House is truly hoping this will move are the president’s poll numbers.

Chu: Give Me an “A” on Gasoline Prices

Energy Secretary Steven Chu thinks he deserves and A or and A+ for his handling of gas prices, because he’s been working on solar energy, and so forth.

I assume this is the kind of stuff that could be heard in the court of King Louis XVI just before the Jacobins got to work. “We give ourselves an A+ on getting the peasants bread because of our advances in the technology to produce cake.”

It takes some serious ego to claim your biggest failure as your biggest success. This is not just an exercise in self-delusion, but an insult to Americans forced to part with increasing proportions of the wealth just to drive around.

I was going to write “just to get to work,” but so many aren’t going to work. Although I’m sure Obama’s economic team privately awarded itself an A+ too.

After all, Obama himself got the Nobel Prize for waking up each morning.

H/T to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air and one of our readers, Rick Walker.

Carney: Obama Doesn’t Care About Blame for Gas Prices

Washington is a very different world from the real world.

I realize that, um, many of you have already noticed this, and expressed your view of Washington’s character in far more colorful terms.

One of the unreal aspects of the city, which this blog is designed to rebut, is the willingness of the members of Washington’s political class to pretend that self-evidently untrue things are true, or vice versa.

There is a collegial sense that develops in town between people who are supposed to be natural antagonists but who, operating in the same environment, become collaborators in a kind of mutual deference and that leads to an acceptance of falsehood.

It is thus that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s claim today that President Obama doesn’t care if he gets blamed for the rise in gasoline prices was met without a single challenge by either his questioner or any of those he subsequently called on.

It is part of the unwritten rule in the briefing room that the press secretary is allowed to say things that are patently absurd, and reporters who are supposed to be the watchdogs of truth and democracy obediently go along.

Here’s the exchange:

Question: In this election year the President is not concerned that he’s getting the blame for the $4.00-plus per gallon?

Carney:  If you want to — I mean, election questions and campaign questions you should direct to the campaign.

Question: Okay, let’s take out “election.”  Is he concerned — is he not concerned that he’s getting the blame from the public or from —

Carney:  The President is not concerned about who gets the blame.  The President is concerned about making sure we have the right policies to deal with this challenge for the long term.

I assure you, there was not a single person in the briefing room, including Carney, who believes the president is not concerned about whether he is being blamed for high gas prices. Obama, in fact, has scheduled a trip this week to an oil field in New Mexico and a portion of the Keystone pipeline in Oklahoma EXACTLY BECAUSE he is concerned that he is being blamed for the price at the pump.

Carney is guilty of nothing unusual. Press secretaries pull this kind of thing all the time. Ari Fleischer used to tell us George W. Bush didn’t care about polls, even as the White House was regularly commissioning its own polls and going over others with a fine tooth comb.

It’s just that the press was more willing to break the rules get in Fleischer’s face about such nonsense. But not today. Not for Mr. Obama’s spokesman.

President Obama to Visit an Oil Field!!

Updated March 19 at 8:00 am ET

With gasoline prices marching north, President Obama next week will take a break from worshipping the sun and putting his finger to the wind when he actually highlights energy projects that provide lots of energy.

The White House is desperate to repair the damage being done to Obama’s campaign by the price at the pump, and aides have suddenly begun portraying him as a great apostle of oil and gas drilling.

In what may go down as one of the worst political blunders of his presidency, Obama late last year bowed to environmentalists’ pressure and rejected the Keystone pipeline’s route through part of Nebraska, delaying by at least a year a major new source of oil just as gasoline prices started going through the roof.

Wednesday, he’ll be in Carlsbad, New Mexico to inspect oil and gas production fields located on federal lands.

Obama will be in Oklahoma Thursday – yes, Oklahoma – to “discuss his Administration’s commitment to improving and supporting the infrastructure that helps us leverage our domestic resources,” the White House said.

I assume these are code words for the infrastructure to get fossil fuels out of the ground, since he sure ain’t going to Oklahoma for votes. He’s more likely to strike oil.

According to ABC News, Obama will staging a photo op in Cushing, Oklahoma, which is on the Keystone pipeline project’s “southern route,” of which the administration approves.

Of course, the two day trip also features a solar facility and a meeting with people conducting “some of the country’s most advanced energy-related research and development.”

But the White House is clearly eager to show that Obama loves the non-advanced stuff too, since that’s what the country is going to be running on for the foreseeable future.

Does Chu Really Want Cheaper Gasoline?

Energy Secretary Steven Chu appeared Tuesday to have walked away from his 2008 comment that the United States needs gas prices like they’ve got in Europe – that is, $8-$9 a gallon – in order to make alternative energy prices competitive and herald a new era of global cooling.

Well, he did walk away. But how far? Maybe not very.

Testifying before Congress Tuesday, Chu said what he now believes is that the price should be at about $2, but that gasoline should be sold in quarts.

Okay, that’s a joke. Sorry.

Here’s the exchange between Chu and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).

Lee: So are you saying you no longer share the view that we need to figure out how to boost gasoline prices in America?

Chu: “I no longer share that view . . .When I became Secretary of Energy, I represented the U.S. government . . . Of course we don’t want the price of gasoline to go up, we want it to go down.

Who got to Chu? Did Chu get a trip to the woodshed and receive a vigorous presidential spanking? Was he brought to the White House Hypnotist and convinced he wants cheap gas?

Steven Chu
Photo by Keith Koffler

Not at all.

Look closely at what he said in his testimony: “When I became Secretary of Energy, I represented the U.S. government.”

That suggests clearly that he still probably thinks the same thing he always thought – that you and I should have to choose between bankruptcy and a hybrid vehicle, but that he has to say certain things because of his position.

He can’t even bring himself to say “I don’t want the price of gasoline to go up,” he says “we.”

Which means in all likelihood, whatever President Obama says his policies are on gasoline prices and drilling, he has an energy secretary who actually wants the price to go up.

And he keeps him.

Raise Oil Taxes! Does Obama Get Economics?

I just want to know if President Obama ever took an economics course in college.

I’m convinced the reason that we can’t get a look at his transcripts is not because his grades were bad, but because of the courses he took.

Anyone who went to college, especially a liberal arts college, and especially a liberal liberal arts college – like I did – knows a student like the one Obama probably was:

Obama condescending look
I don't need to understand economics. I understand people. Photo by Keith Koffler

No economics classes – who needs capitalist propaganda? Maybe one biology class – and then finished with the sciences except for psychology. Math? That was for high school.

Probably he tried out a language – maybe Russian, since you must learn the Soviet language to best promote mutual understanding – but he probably dropped it after one semester because it actually requires a ton of work.

But you know where he lived: English lit, philosophy, history and political science.

And I imagine that within those disciplines, there were some awkward choices: Marx and Lenin 101; Marx and Lenin 102, Mao’s Theory of Endless Revolution; Heroes of Soviet Union; A History of Worker Oppression in the United States; Granola: What to do with the Crumbs?; and so forth.

Which brings me back to economics, and the latest piece of evidence that Obama doesn’t understand it.

In remarks Thursday at Nashua Community College in Nashua, New Hampshire, Obama told a bunch of fellow philosophy majors that, with gasoline prices on the rise, what we need to do right away is eliminate the oil industry subsidies.

OBAMA: Right now, $4 billion of your tax dollars — $4 billion — subsidizes the oil industry every year.


OBAMA:  Four billion dollars.  Now, these companies are making record profits right now — tens of billions of dollars a year.  Every time you go to the gas tank or fill up your gas tank, they’re making money.  Every time.  Now, does anyone really think that Congress should give them another $4 billion this year?


OBAMA:  Of course not.  It’s outrageous.  It’s inexcusable.  And I am asking Congress — eliminate this oil industry giveaway right away.  I want them to vote on this in the next few weeks.  (Applause.)  Let’s put every single member of Congress on record:  You can stand with the oil companies, or you can stand up for the American people.  You can keep subsidizing a fossil fuel that’s been getting taxpayer dollars for a century, or you can place your bets on a clean-energy future.

There’s a moment from my time in the real world I’ll share with you.

I was working as a waiter and bartender at a restaurant in Washington. The city, which was screwing up its finances and needed a shot of money – as usual – assessed a “sin tax” on restaurants, raising the tax on alcoholic drinks.

I thought our drinks were already a little pricey, and I wondered what would happen.

I’ll never forget the day the tax went into effect. The owner of the establishment went straight to the computers and added the exact amount of the tax to every drink you could order.

Obama seems not to understand that the oil companies will pass their lost tax breaks straight through to you and me. With gas prices headed toward $5, OBAMA IS PROPOSING TO RAISE THEM FURTHER.

This will not only harm the country, it will set back his reelection prospects. If Republicans want to be a little cynical, they should pass this right away.

Obama is either so eager to stick it to businesses he hates, so hopelessly enamored of green energy that he would hurt his own cause, or pretty much ignorant of basic economics.

Likely, all of the above.

Obama’s New Alternative Fuel

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.

In 2008, Obama Seemed OK With High Gas Prices

President Obama suggested in 2008 that he didn’t mind having higher prices at the pump, as long as the sticker shock to consumers wasn’t too sudden.

The White House is currently insisting Obama is doing what he can to keep the lid on gasoline prices, while blaming uncontrollable market forces for the increases.

But in a June 10, 2008 interview on CNBC with John Harwood, Obama clearly indicates that his problem with the high prices prevailing then was not that they are high, but that they ramped up too quickly. He talks about ways to mitigate the impact of high prices instead of ways to reduce them and suggests that the increase could be beneficial, saying, “we can come out of this stronger.”

From the interview:

HARWOOD: As difficult as this is for consumers right now, is, in fact, high gas prices what we need to let the market work, a line incentive so that we do shift to alternative means of energy?

Sen. OBAMA: Well, I think that we have been slow to move in a better direction when it comes to energy usage. And the president, frankly, hasn’t had an energy policy. And as a consequence, we’ve been consuming energy as if it’s infinite. We now know that our demand is badly outstripping supply with China and India growing as rapidly as they are. So…

HARWOOD: So could these high prices help us?

Sen. OBAMA: I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment. The fact that this is such a shock to American pocketbooks is not a good thing. But if we take some steps right now to help people make the adjustment, first of all by putting more money into their pockets, but also by encouraging the market to adapt to these new circumstances more quickly, particularly US automakers, then I think ultimately, we can come out of this stronger and have a more efficient energy policy than we do right now.

Obama’s comments are consistent with a 2008 statement by Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, who overtly called for an increase in gasoline prices in order to incentivize the use of alternative fuels.

“Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” Chu said. Prices in Europe at the time ranged from about $8-$9 per gallon.

As recently as March 2011, Chu suggested rising gas prices were an inevitable fact of life saying, “the price of gasoline over the long haul should be expected to go up just because of supply and demand issues.”

H/T to Jim Geraghty over at National Review, where I first read about Obama’s 2008 remarks.

Obama and Boehner Propose Raising Gas Prices

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner joined hands and jumped off an economic cliff, proposing together a way to INCREASE gasoline taxes as you prepare for $5 gasoline at the pump.

It’s good to know these two are on top of the situation. Perhaps its’ not terribly surprising in the president’s case since he proposed to lower the deficit by spending $1 trillion on a new health care benefit. Same logic.

How do they propose to do this? Raising taxes on oil companies by eliminating tax subsidies. Obama wants to “reinvest” the money in alternative energy. This may or may not be a good long term solution. But in the short term, what will the oil companies – what does any company – do when its taxes go up? PASS THE COSTS ALONG THE THE CONSUMER.

That is, higher gas prices.

But who cares? Boehner and Obama were on a roll. What better way for the country’s two highest ranking politicians to play to the crowd than by promising to disembowel the evil oil companies.

Boehner opened the door by launching the attack.

Asked by ABC’s Jonathan Karl, who noticed Boehner’s fangs were bared, if it was time to take away the subsidies, Boehner said, “Kill, kill, kill.”

It’s certainly something we should be looking at . . . We’re in a time when the federal government’s short on revenues. They ought to be paying their fair share.

Get rid of the depletion allowances. Kill. Kill.

Everybody wants to go after the oil companies and, frankly, they’ve got some part of this to blame . . .  I dont think the big oil companies need to have the depletion allowances.

This got Obama salivating, calling for Oil Baron blood. “Good Boehner. Nice puppy. Kill. Kill.”

He fired off a letter to Congress.

I am writing to urge you to take immediate action to eliminate unwarranted tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, adn to use those dollars to invest in clean energy to reduct our dependence on oil . . . I was heartened that Speaker Boehner yesterday expressed openness to eliminating these tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry.

I’ve never forgotten the time when at a restaurant where I worked as a waiter and bartender for several years in Washington DC, the city raised “sin taxes” on alcohol. The owner marched angrily downstairs to computers, a list of the new taxes in his hand, and added them, penny for penny, to the price of every drink in the place.

Today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked – by me – why the oil companies won’t act like any small or large business and pass the taxes on to consumers. Here’s the exchange.

WHITE HOUSE DOSSIER: But you don’t know that they won’t pass it on, do you?  Is there any study you’ve done? Have you spoken with the oil companies?

MR. CARNEY:  I think I’ve addressed this.  I’ve addressed this.  What I’ve said is on balance, knowing what we know and looking — and analyzing what we know, that this is overwhelmingly the right thing to do.

WHD: Even though prices may go up in the short term,

MR. CARNEY:  I’ve just addressed it.  Based on what we know —

WHD: They’re passing the higher price of oil onto consumers now.  Why wouldn’t they pass a higher tax burden onto consumers?

MR. CARNEY:  Well, based on what we know — you have companies making billions of dollars in profit, $100 million a day in profit — that’s great, okay?  That’s good.  That’s fine.  We should not be taxed.  We — the American taxpayers should not be subsidizing that profit, okay?  I mean, that’s just in and of itself, we believe, the right policy.

No answer. Because Jay’s a smart guy and a former reporter, and he knows that sticking it to consumers is exactly what they’d do. His point is that “on balance,” eliminating subsidies the right thing to do. But the bad part balancing the potential long term good is that gasoline prices would go up tomorrow.