Politics

White House Gas Pains

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

White House officials are scheduling two more out-of-town trips this week to showcase the President’s energy strategy, possibly marking an uptick in concern about the political impact of rising gas prices.

The Wednesday trip to Philadelphia and the Friday trip to Indianapolis will allow President Obama to continue “speaking directly with Americans about his long-term plan to protect consumers against rising oil prices and decrease oil imports,” said press secretary Jay Carney.

The events and focus are needed because “when gas hits the $4 a gallon mark, voters get really upset [even though] they don’t understand that the President can’t change gas prices,” said Kenneth Green, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a free-market think-tank in D.C. Also, he added, officials are using the “the high price of gasoline to advance a anti-fossil fuel agenda.”

In recent weeks, the President has sharply increased promotion of his energy policy, using a P.R. blueprint that is now standard in the White House. For example, on March 30, the president delivered an address at Georgetown University where he redefined the political problem of high-gas prices as a history of unstable oil-prices. He then offered a compromise policy that would set prices between too-cheap and too-expensive, cut oil-imports by one-third, and emphasized that government experts – including Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who has a Nobel science prize – are already working hand-in-hand with high-tech companies.

There was nothing new in the address, because the president had already explained his energy strategy back on March 11. However, his Mar. 11 pitch had minimal impact because the television-worthy Japanese earthquake and Libyan war sucked up all the media’s attention.

Some of that reality was possibly exposed on the day of Obama’s Georgetown energy speech, when Chu inadvertently pulled back the curtain and revealed the political purpose of the speech. In a press conference at the White House, he said “the bottom line message is that we feel the pain that all Americans feel on the price of gasoline today.  We see what it will lead to.”

Since last September, gas prices have risen from $2.70 a gallon to $3.60 a gallon by this March. “We watch these things very closely,” Carney told the press on March 31, and immediately reminded the reporters that the President has already announced a national energy plan.

Rising gas prices are widely interpreted in D.C. as a major cause of falling poll-ratings, and the president’s rates are drifting downwards. Quinnipiac polls show the President’s approval dropping during this period from 44 percent to 42 percent, and his disapproval number rising from 47 percent to 48 percent. That’s a shift from -3 to -6 points. Over the same period, Gallup reported Wednesday, his rating as a “strong and decisive” leader among independents fell to 49 percent.

  • truebearing

    “White House officials are scheduling two more out-of-town trips this week to showcase the President’s energy strategy…”

    Come to think of it, squandering jet fuel at a tremendous rate is Obama’s energy policy. He flies around and around, lips a-flappin’, playing golf, apologizing for America’s greatness and generosity, bowing to foreign leaders, kissing the union’s ass, and maliciously blocking all domestic energy development, all with tremendous energy. That’s Obama’s energy policy.

  • clw

    In 2012 all of the 18-22 year olds that voted for Obama will be 23-27 year olds living on their own in a crappy economy with $4/gal gas at a minimum, and more than likely NO JOB!

    The 18-22 year olds in 2012 were 14-17 when he was elected and didn’t even CARE about the election. Their older brothers and sisters will fill them in.

    If Obama thinks he can get re-elected based on his lousy performance so far, along with super high gas and energy prices to suit his “green” agenda, he’s crazier than I thought (and that’s saying something).

    • truebearing

      Very interesting observations. I guess time isn’t the friend of a complete failure like Obama. It has a tendency to encourage the truth to surface.

      Obama looks a lot older now too. That will make it harder for him to act like he’s 15, though I’m sure he’ll try.

  • hologram5

    This fool has no clue that people will not vote for him for this reason alone. He doesn’t know the American people or the political landscape of angry citizens. He thinks he’ll be able to woo the people with pretty words again. He’s in for a rude awakening.

  • recovered dem

    Obama’s “energy policy” is a joke. As prices continue to rise, and not just for gasoline at the pump more and more people will turn away from all that hopey changey crap Obama peddled.

  • pyeatte

    The left will never accept the truth. A successful dynamic economy Requires an inexpensive and available energy supply. Policies that fight against that will result in failure. Expand drilling to everywhere. While this will not result in immediate supply, it will send a message to the oil markets that much more supply will soon be available and that will start forcing oil prices down. Since gasoline price is dependent on oil price (why is it some people do not get this?) viola! gas at the pump will start going down. We also have to continue on with nuclear power in spite of Japan.

  • libertyatstake

    Joe Steel said: “Futures traders are bidding-up…and the demand for gasoline is picking-up”

    But left out Barry & Co. are holding down the supply. As usual, the Leftist hack leaves out the operative part of the equation.

    d(^_^)b
    http://libertyatstake.blogspot.com/
    “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

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  • emem

    Where is the outrage for all Obama’s has done? Energy policy – really?

    Does the guy represent 10% of anything most of us believe or hold to be true?

    • tombt

      No! But he’s damn good at passing out other people’s money and there are enough folks dependent on Washington to get him reelected.