IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.
Senate Holds Confirmation Hearing For Amy Coney Barrett To Be Supreme Court Justice
Sen. Marsha Blackburn during testimony by Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of Barrett's confirmation hearing on October 14, 2020 in Washington, D.C.Stefani Reynolds / Pool / Getty Images, file

Marsha Blackburn’s latest conspiracy theory focuses on gas prices

Marsha Blackburn expects people to believe that Democrats actually want high gas prices in an election year. No, seriously.


Last summer, Sen. Marsha Blackburn came up with an amazing conspiracy theory. As the Tennessee Republican saw it, it may have looked like Democrats were trying to end the pandemic, but it was really just a ruse.

What Democrats secretly wanted, according to the far-right senator, was “a permanent pandemic“ in which the government would maintain control over a dependent populace.

As this summer prepares to get underway, Blackburn has a new conspiracy theory in mind, and this one focuses on gas prices. From a video the GOP senator posted online late last week:

“Well, the Democrats have been trying to get $5-a-gallon gas for well over a decade — and it looks like they have now hit their target. They feel like this helps them, moving to all electric vehicles, forcing you out of a gas-powered vehicle and into an electric vehicle.”

She added that high gas prices are somehow an extension of the Green New Deal.

Oh my.

First, the last time gas prices were this high was the summer of 2008 — when George W. Bush was president, and prices at the pump reached $5.37 per gallon in inflation adjusted terms. Perhaps the Bush/Cheney administration was in on the Green New Deal years before its existence.

Second, if the Biden administration wanted high gas prices, it would be doing pretty much the opposite of what it’s been doing.

Third, there would certainly be benefits for consumers to shift to electric vehicles, but the idea that officials have deliberately pushed gas prices higher to force Americans’ hands is bizarre, not only because officials haven’t done any such thing, but also because there aren’t currently enough electric vehicles to meet such demand, even if it existed.

But even putting these relevant details aside, some political common sense is in order. Democrats think high gas prices “help them” in an election year? The White House’s efforts to deal with high prices are some kind of public-relations trick?

This is impossible to take seriously, but Blackburn isn’t entirely alone on this conspiratorial branch: The Washington Post’s Marc Thiessen, who was a White House speechwriter the last time Americans were paying this much at the pump, wrote a column two weeks ago pushing a similar line.

Reality offers an explanation that happens to make more sense. As the editorial board of the Washington Post explained yesterday, “This is largely Vladimir Putin’s fault. Gas prices are up nearly $2 in the past year, and 75 percent of that increase came since Putin’s Russian troops invaded Ukraine. The United States and many other countries rightly responded to this unjustified war by imposing heavy sanctions and halting purchases of Russian oil and grain. But that means supplies are down, and energy and food prices have soared to record highs around the world. Putin wants — and expects — the world to cave and lift the sanctions and cede parts of Ukraine to Russia in the face of these high prices. As hard as it is, we cannot let Putin win.”