For the past four years, Republicans have assailed Barack Obama for every ill that has ever befallen mankind and impugned his character, citizenship, and family to portray him as Satan incarnate. Despite the President’s success at saving the economy, creating millions of jobs, and waging a ferocious war on terror, Republicans are still using their desperate demagoguery as strategy for gaining political power. They have primarily appealed to the prejudices, emotions, fears, vanities and expectations of a specific segment of the population through impassioned rhetoric and propaganda based on nationalist, racist, and religious themes. Republicans are masters at shifting blame, and their newest tactic is blaming the President for Wall Street’s speculation that is causing increased prices at the pump as if he regulates oil prices on the world market.
The Republicans claim that the President’s energy policy is responsible for the rising gas prices because it plays well to their oil industry base and Americans struggling to afford anything in the sluggish economy, but the facts tell an entirely different story. Of course, no American should be surprised if Republicans ignore the truth for political expediency. Speaker Boehner “instructed fellow Republicans to embrace the gas-pump anger,” Pope-in-waiting, Rick Santorum said the President is deliberately “pushing up prices to cut carbon emissions,” and moon-pioneer Newt Gingrich released a 30-minute video warning Americans that the President is “so anti‑oil that they’ve forced the price of gas to go up.” Those assertions, though recent, are an ongoing campaign for the oil industry. In May, Mitch McConnell said, “Obama is waging war on American energy,” and in October, Rick Perry chimed in that “Obama’s ‘draconian’ energy policies don’t let Americans create energy and sell it to the world.” Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, a leading oil whore in Congress claimed the President’s policies are responsible for “killing off our energy supply,” and every other Republican in Congress assailed the President’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline as a proof he is anti-oil.
If anything, the President has been kind to the oil industry to lessen America’s dependency on foreign oil, and he has been assailed from environmentalists and left-leaning groups because of it. The truth is that in November, it was projected America would be “a net exporter of petroleum products in 2011.” As it turned out, under President Obama’s leadership, domestic oil production hit an 8-year high in 2011 and fulfilled the prediction that the U.S. is now a net fuel exporter. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, America “sent abroad 753.4 million barrels of everything from gasoline to jet fuel in the first nine months of this year, while it imported 689.4 million barrels.” American imports of foreign oil are at a 16-year low, and 75% of the Gulf of Mexico is open to drilling and exploration and despite opposition from environmentalists, Arctic exploration has increased. Under Obama, the number of drilling rigs in U.S. oil fields quadrupled and domestic oil production hit an 8-year high in 2011. Higher production coupled with oil demand actually down 4.6% over last year, the supply of gasoline has increased leading intelligent Americans to look elsewhere for the rising costs at the pump. Look no farther than the greedy speculators on Wall Street.
Trading in energy futures is a legitimate hedge against higher fuel costs for high-volume consumers like airlines and oil producers alike. In the past, speculators accounted for roughly 30% of oil trading in commodity markets, while producers and end users made up about 70 percent. According to Commitment of Traders report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission which regulates oil trading; the week ending February 14 showed that “producers and merchants made up just 36% of all contracts traded while speculators who will never take delivery of the oil made up 64 percent.” President Obama has nothing to do with controlling commodity trading and although there are legitimate concerns over Iran restricting the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, Wall Street speculators are the sole cause of rising prices and, besides inflicting pain at the pump, they are getting very wealthy off of speculating.
So, why are Republicans blaming the President for Wall Street speculators and oil industry greed? Because they are getting desperate and the improving economy has robbed them of their main talking point against President Obama, and as they continue alienating nearly every demographic with their evangelical war on women, religious freedom, gays, Latinos, the poor, students, and the elderly, their only issue is rising fuel costs. The President toured a University of Miami engineering program for energy efficiency and he aptly asserted that his “GOP rivals are pledging to slash prices and are rooting for bad news to win political points.” Republicans surpassed “rooting for bad news” during the President’s tenure, and have actively attempted to sabotage him at every turn, and there are those who believe the rising gas prices are the work of the oil industry to help elect Republicans.
Conspiracy theories aside, the GOP is desperate to find something to pin on the President prior to the election and, after three years, they have nearly exhausted their fantastical search for an issue. The President rhetorically asked the audience in Miami if “they (GOP) think Americans are stupid” and the answer is yes. The Republicans have gone off the rails to court extremists with their racist, religious, and economic policies that protect the oil industry and wealthiest 1% of Americans, and they still labor under the assumption that Americans will believe a word they utter. However, the American people are not as stupid as Republicans like to believe and the GOP’s demagoguery has become background noise to a majority of the population who are well aware the President is the polar opposite of Republican characterizations of him. In spite of the Republican lies, fear-mongering, and demagoguery against him, the President has prevailed for the American people and it is what has driven Republicans off the rails. Assigning blame to President Obama for rising oil prices is just more background noise and after reports in nearly every major newspaper that Wall Street speculation is causing higher prices at the pump, the Republicans will be seen for what they are; liars and agitators with no substance and little, if any, credibility.