George W. Bush was asked on April 20, 2005 if there was anything he could do to control skyrocketing prices at the pump: ”I wish I could simply wave a magic wand and lower gas prices tomorrow; I’d do that. Unfortunately, higher gas prices are a problem that has been years in the making.”
Mr. Bush did nothing, and the price of gas continued to rise unabated until it broke through the $4 barrier before dropping back down due to diminished demand. Here on the West Coast, a gallon of gas cost $4.45 by July, 2008.
But none on of the Republicans blamed the president for it.
Six years later, fuel costs again started to climb towards the $4 barrier. Speaker of the House John Boehner said; “[He's] running on empty. The Obama administration does nothing to address skyrocketing gas prices.” Predictions of $5 per gallon gas by July 2011 and $6 by 2012 were regularly being bandied about by Fox News and talk radio.
In June, president Obama released 30 million barrels of the US reserve crude, along with cooperation from other countries to release an additional 30 million barrels, prices have dropped at the pump by 60-75 cents per gallon thus far, and they’re still dropping.
Mr. Boehner has yet to congratulate president Obama for this effort, or on the good news for the American people.
This is the difference between the two parties: One shrugs, and stands by impotently while their friends in oil industry gouge the consumer. The other acts, and for the moment anyway, has brought prices down 20% so far, deflecting the very real possibility that out of control gas prices might stall the recovery. Which of course, the Republicans would just hate to see happen under president Obama’s administration.
John Boehner overtly tried to pin president Obama with rising fuel prices, while simultaneously refusing to reverse the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. I hope president Obama capitalizes on this golden opportunity to spotlight the differences between whose side he’s on, and whose side they are on.