With approximately 32 million people hitting the road this Memorial Day weekend, Republicans are having a tough time pulling their usual stunt of blaming the president for high gas prices: a gallon currently costs $3.67, down 17¢ from a month ago.
Republicans have continually blamed the president for high gas prices, claiming it’s all part of his environmental agenda. Mitt Romney even went so far as to claim Obama “said he wanted to see gasoline prices go up.”
It just doesn’t make sense, said Hardball’s Michael Smerconish. “It doesn’t take a political genius to debunk that - why would a president in the middle of a reelection want Americans to feel pain at the pump?”
Nevermind the fact that domestic oil production has risen each year that Obama has been in office; it’s the highest it has been in decades. That means less foreign dependency and more domestic jobs, but he still doesn’t deserve much credit for actual price fluctuation – because the U.S. president doesn’t control the world oil market!
Reuters’ Chrystia Freeland summed it up:
“The U.S. president cannot, in the short term, affect the price of gas at the pump. As it happens, the high prices in the spring were about politics, but not U.S. politics. They were mostly driven by Iranian politics and markets were factoring in what looked like the very high risk of a war with Iran because of its nuclear program and that’s really what sent the prices high. And analysts at that point were predicting the price would go above $4, maybe as high as $5, and Republicans saw an opportunity. This is going to be an election chiefly about the economy and you can talk about GDP and other esoteric statistics all you like, but if the price at the pump is high that is an economic number that people really feel. So they went for it.”