“No Blood For Oil . . . Wait! Maybe Just a Little . . .”
Vol: 55 Issue: 26 Wednesday, April 26, 2006
The White House is facing its most serious challenge to its popular support as gas prices at the pumps hover above three bucks a gallon. In taking 9/11, the war in Iraq and the looming war with Iran into consideration, that is quite a statement, but it is nonetheless true.
As evidence, just listen to the Democrats, who evidently couldn’t be happier.
“We have two oilmen in the White House, the logical follow-up from that is $3-a-gallon gasoline,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California. “It is no accident. It is a cause and effect.”
New York Democrat Chuck Schumer complained that high gas prices are the result of George Bush’s refusal to ‘get tough’ with Big Oil. He then called for the government to ‘break up’ big oil companies.
Senator Bob Menendez says oil companies blamed an “act of God” for fuel shortages and price increases last year. Now the New Jersey Democrat says it’s “crystal clear that the current spike in gas prices is at least partly due to an act of greed.”
And Ron Wyden, [D – Oregon] carried the mixed metaphors to a new level, complaining that “This is an Administration that is almost marinated in oil. One official after another has a history and a background in the sector and yet where was the Department of Energy? Where was the Environmental Protection Agency? Where was the Commodity Future Trading Commission at a key time in our country’s energy future?”
I found it fascinating when the Democrats began complaining that the administration said Iraqi oil was supposed to pay for the war in Iraq AND keep prices low. While I haven’t been able to find a quote from the president saying that was the plan, (and plenty of quotes denying it) I WAS able to find plenty of quotes from Democrats criticizing the administration for allegedly starting the war in order to do exactly what the Democrats are now complaining he DIDN’T do.
Sneered Senator Barbara Milkulski of Maryland, “What happened to Iraqi oil, Mr. President? What happened to Iraqi oil? You said Iraqi oil was going to pay for the bill for the war. Ain’t seen no money. Ain’t seen no oil.”
Nope. I haven’t either. But I heard plenty of Democrats saying that taking Iraqi oil was evidence that the war was immoral. Now NOT taking Iraqi oil is immoral, because gas prices are too high.
Back in ’03, Saddam’s chief US apologist, the late Peter Jennings, explained to ABC viewers, “By the way, No blood for oil, from many people who are opposed to the war is, is not complicated at all. They believe the United States wishes to occupy Iraq in the long term to have the oil. Just so we understand why they wear those little buttons, No blood for oil. “
Noted the New York Times in March, ’04 (when gas was still less than $2.00/gallon) “The nation is corrupt — it gives preferential treatment to the rich and conducts its foreign policy based on profits, ‘blood for oil diplomacy’, according to some of its own leaders.”
Until there’s no oil, that is. That’s when the Democrats started screaming, “Where’s all the Iraqi oil?”
Blood for oil is suddenly sounding like a pretty good idea, after all.
The reason I say gas prices pose a greater threat to the GOP than the war with Iraq, the fallout from 9/11 or even the looming war with Iran is because the Democrats know there is not any more that the White House can do about gas prices today than there was when gas prices quadrupled during the Carter administration.
Runaway gas prices are a gift to the political opposition. They can take pot shots all day long, knowing no matter what the White House does, it will either be wrong or they can label it ‘not enough’.
While the Democrats are yelling about high prices and asking, “what about that bloody oil we said we didn’t want?” they shot down the administration’s first suggestion — drilling for new oil in Alaska — without comment.
Thanks to the Democrat-supported environmental movement, there hasn’t been a refinery built in the United States in more than 30 years. This has led to cases where oil tankers are unable to unload because the refineries are at full capacity. This glut in the crude oil inventories means that the supply of gas available is lower than it should be.
There is no actual production shortage of fuel. OPEC has even stepped up output in an effort to stabilize global oil prices. The price of oil is up because of the fear factor, and the fear factor has been the principle weapon in the Democratic political arsenal since losing the White House in 2000.
The chickens are coming home to roost, but nobody seems to care that they are Democratic chickens. To be entirely fair, the Republicans would just love to be able to drill for new oil supplies, build as many refineries as would be necessary, and, according to the Democrats, even go to war to ensure stable global oil supplies.
But the Democrats wouldn’t let them. A spike in domestic oil supplies is about the only political hook they can hang their agenda on. They will be forced to drop the ‘no blood for oil’ slogan in favor of ‘where is all the Iraqi oil we purchased in blood, Mr. President?’ but that won’t matter.
When it was a rhetorical question, gas prices were affordable. Now that gas prices are skyrocketing, rhetoric is giving way to reality.
The White House is doing about all that it can, suspending the diversion of oil into the Strategic Oil Reserve, suspending the ethanol-blending deadline of May 5th in order to clear a refining bottleneck, but in order to actually do something concrete, the Democrats would have to sign on. And there is no political hay to be gained by helping the White House lower prices, since the credit would go to the White House.
This isn’t an issue of pro-Republican or anti-Democrat. It is about hypocrisy in high places. In ’03, Bush was forced to turn control of Iraq’s oil fields over to the Iraqis, even before Iraq had a government in place, to dispel the ‘blood for oil’ charges.
Any suggestion that securing a steady supply of oil was part of US foreign policy became an instant anti-Bush campaign slogan. It sounded like a good idea at the time — if one hated the Bush administration more than one loved one’s country — but now gas costs three bucks a gallon.
And the Democrats have changed their minds. Blood IS cheaper than oil, after all.