Staking his ground, and perhaps his reelection, on a 'green' ideology, President Obama said in his weekly Saturday address that high gas prices confirm the need for an “all-of-the-above” energy policy. Republicans push more domestic oil production.
Record Big Oil profits, gut-punching gas prices at the pump, and $4 billion in yearly government oil subsidies. To President Obama, that confluence confirms what he's been saying all along: America needs to start coming clean from its oil addiction.
“Look, we know there’s no silver bullet that will bring down gas prices or reduce our dependence on foreign oil overnight,” Obama said in his weekly Saturday address. “But what we can do is get our priorities straight, and make a sustained, serious effort to tackle this problem.”
The unseasonal gas price spike – averaging $3.57 for February nationally– threatens the nation's fragile economic recovery. But Obama's decision to use the moment to push his “all-of-the-above” approach – subsidizing the developing of alternative energy sources like wind alongside more measured oil exploration – carries real political risk.
It certainly is providing political opportunity for Republican presidential candidates, who are promising that their plans for more domestic drilling, including off the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards, continued subsidies, and regulatory relief could bring prices to below $3 and would mean, as candidate Newt Gingrich said Thursday, that “no future president will ever bow to a Saudi king again.”
“We'd almost feel sorry for Mr. Obama's gas-price predicament if it weren't a case of rough justice,” the Wall Street Journal opined on Friday. “The President has deliberately sought to raise the price of energy throughout the economy via his cap-and-trade agenda. He is now getting his wish, albeit a little too overtly for political comfort.”