February 29, 2008
Bush's Texas Two-Step on Gas Prices
This has been a fabulous week -- if you're an oil baron that is. Oil closed above $100 for the first time in history, gas remains on a seemingly inexorable march toward a new record (it was only six cents away today), and many analysts are predicting $4 gallon before summer. Usually when the U.S. economy craps out, demand for oil sags and prices come down. This time, however, demand from India, China, and elsewhere is so robust that prices are likely to remain high pretty much no matter what.
If Bill Clinton famously felt our pain, it seems that George W. Bush is more likely to be the one turning the screws. We saw a classic Texas Two-Step from the President yesterday when it came time to discuss gas prices.
Asked by a reporter about the prospect of $4 gas and how that would impact American families, he initially seemed to accuse the reporter of making it up. When the reporter replied that it was analysts (those pesky reality-based thinkers!) who had made the prediction, the President simply said "That's interesting. I hadn't heard that." Watch it HERE.
The President recently announced that -- above the objections of many faculty members -- his presidential library would be sited at Southern Methodist University. And that he'd be looking to raise about $200 million or so for the project. Pressed at the same press conference yesterday about whether the public had a right to know who was giving all this money and if there would be any restrictions, the President dodged the reporter's question saying "I, frankly, have been focused elsewhere, like on gasoline prices."
The President then went for the hat-trick by attacking the renewables and consumer energy savings incentives package passed by a sizable margin in the House on Wednesday (paid for stripping $18 billion in taxpayer-funded giveaways to Big Oil). He claimed that even though he'd previously said $55 oil was incentive enough for the oil companies to drill, that somehow $102 oil and tens of billions in profits for Big Oil means that we need to give them subsidies.
I predict a double gold in flip-flopping at this summer's Beijing Olympics.