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$3.50 Gas - Bad When the GOP Is in Charge...a Good Thing Under Obama...or Just a Political Football?

$3.50 Gas - Bad When the GOP Is in Charge...a Good Thing Under Obama...or Just a Political Football?

If gas prices stay at $4.00/gal for a year or more, we can expect that 1000 people a month will not die in car accidents..."

The rising cost of fuel wreaks havoc on the economy and touches the wallet of almost every American, putting energy prices and America's energy strategy front and center in the 2012 Presidential campaign.

In just the past year oil prices have spiked to new seasonal highs:

But this is really nothing new, as fuel prices have been part of the election debates for years.

When Nancy Pelosi led the Democrats in their takeover of the House in 2006, the price of a gallon of gasoline was around $2.30. With Democrats in charge on the hill gas prices continued to climb, whereby spring 2007 Speaker Pelosi was crowing about the cost of gas as it hit $3.00/gallon. In this clip she cites $3.05/gallon as "price gouging" and places blame squarely on the Bush Administration:

Just a year after the Speaker promised a "common sense" solution, gas was still on the rise and North Carolina Rep Virginia Fox went to the floor of the House and wondered what was the plan that Pelosi talked about? Fox examined "The Pelosi Premium:"

By the summer of 2008, gas prices had spike to over $3.50/gallon and the gas prices became a campaign issue for both Democrats and Republicans, as seen in an Obama ad from that summer:

In that ad, candidate Obama made three campaign promises concerning our nation's energy. He promised to:

  1. Make oil companies pay a penalty on windfall profits.
  2. Invest $150 billion dollars (of your money) in alternative energy
  3. Create 5 million jobs (and free ourselves from foreign oil)

Let's review those promises and their success or failure:

1. Windfall profits penalties are red meat at campaign stops, but rarely show any serious effect when considered in the real world.

2. Alternative energy funding? Solyndra, National Renewable Energy, Ener1 and a host of other failures highlight the folly of this plan.

3. Five million news jobs? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, America has a net loss of more than 1.1 MILLION seasonally-adjusted, private sector jobs since Obama took office.

John McCain also saw the high cost of gas as a campaign issue and ran this ad:

While McCain was pushing the "Drill Baby, Drill" mantra, Obama was on the 2008 campaign trail in Wisconsin, where he slammed America's "raggety" mass transit system while promoting his agenda for a high-speed rail system connecting Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit and all the cities along the way. (There was no mention of any study showing considerable demand for a network that would connect those cities, just a promise to spend a lot of money to build it.)

Also from 2008, candidate Obama addressed the high price of gasoline while speaking on CNBC, seeming to support the concept of higher energy prices as a good thing... He would have preferred that the cost elevation would have been managed better and not been such a shock to the consumer:

Last April as oil prices spiked again, the President lectured a man in the audience about his low-milage SUV, suggesting that the father of 10 get "a hybrid van." At the end of the clip, President Obama tells the man to "get a trade in."

When it comes to fuel efficiency, Obama's Presidential limo (The Beast) is the subject of much speculation. The green-centric folks at Treehugger.org seem to think that the massive, armored limo gets single-digit gas mileage and they wondered why it was not a hybrid?

In a shift from his 2008 campaign promises, Mr. Obama seems to have stopped demonizing the oil companies. In this video from last April, the President presents a three-pronged plan to lower energy costs and it all starts with INCREASING oil production.

About the time Obama was pushing hybrid SUVs and electric cars, Romney was campaigning and talking about slowing down specualtors by increasing production.

Newt Gingrich sees lower energy costs as an issue that would help his flagging campaign and this week he appeared on Fox News telling Greta Van Sustern the details of his plan to drive oil prices back down under $3.00 and closer to the $2.00 mark not seen since April of 2008.

We expect politicians to try and spin the rising cost of fuel to fit their various agendas, but the most surprising interpretation of the spike in the cost of fuel came to us courtesy of CBS News from back in 2008 when the Early Show aired a segment explaining why high gas prices can sometimes be "a good thing."

Based on that report, high gas prices in America are a panacea for so many problems;

  • Solving the obesity problem
  • Saving billions in healthcare costs
  • Preventing the deaths of 1000 people a month

You have to wonder if and when one of the candidates will offer any of that "logic" as a potential upside to the spiking cost of energy?

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