For the better part of the past two months, the president has had it pretty easy. We’ve seen some decent jobs numbers. He has not really been in the public eye while the media have focused on the GOP’s internecine struggles. He hasn’t really had to play defense.
Until gas prices started rising. And this reminds us of a lesson we learned in the brief window of the 2008 presidential campaign when he fell behind John McCain in the polls, Barack Obama is not good on defense.
With gas prices rising on his watch, he lashes out at Republicans:
Now, some politicians they see this as a political opportunity. I know you’re shocked by that. (Laughter.) Last week, the lead story in one newspaper said, “Gasoline prices are on the rise and Republicans are licking their chops.” (Laughter.) That’s a quote. That was the lead. “Licking their chops.” Only in politics do people root for bad news, do they greet bad news so enthusiastically. You pay more; they’re licking their chops.
You can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their 3-point plan for $2 gas. And I’ll save you the suspense. Step one is to drill and step two is to drill. And then step three is to keep drilling. (Laughter.) We heard the same line in 2007 when I was running for President. We hear the same thing every year. We’ve heard the same thing for 30 years.
Well, the American people aren’t stupid.
No, we’re not stupid, Mr. President. If Republican see rising gas prices as a political opportunity, you can take some credit, as Doug Powers reminds us in linking this video:
Or maybe they took the lead from your fellow Democrat, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she called for hearings when the nationwide average price for a gallon of gas was $3.07:
And let’s not forget about the woman whom you tapped to head the Democratic National Committee. (That link via Instapundit.)
And no, Mr. President, the Republican energy plan is not just, “Drill, Baby, Drill” — though that, to be sure, is one of its key components. Yesterday, I received an e-mail where Steven Law, president and CEO of Crossroads GPS, summarized the conservative opposition to the president’s energy policy:
Since taking office, President Obama has blocked the Keystone XL pipeline, blocked offshore oil exploration, blocked new coal plants and wants to shut down old ones, is increasingly hostile to natural gas exploration, and even hired an energy secretary whose stated goal was to double gas prices. In two days, Obama has released tax ‘reform’ that actually complicates the tax code, and an energy plan that is just doublespeak and looks desperate. His energy policy can be distilled down to four words: ‘none of the above.’
In response to our energy needs, Republicans want to do more than just drill. And if they’re politicizing gas prices, they’re just following your lead. And that of one of the onetime House Speaker whose leadership you commended. And the woman you tapped to head your party’s national committee.