CBS News ran a clip yesterday of President Obama standing at a solar power plant in Nevada and responding to GOP accusations regarding high gas prices saying that they are opposed to anything that is new merely because it is new and accusing them of being members of the Flat Earth Society. He went on to say that we are producing more oil than at any time in the past eight years and are “opening up new areas for drilling every single day,” embracing the McCain/Palin mantra of “drill, baby drill” which he campaigned against in 2008.
I think that may be a new record in the category of “weak responses.” Solar power is going to have precisely zero effect on the price of gasoline, and he responds to Republican accusations of him restricting drilling with, “no I’m not and, in fact, I’m drilling more than they are,” which is also going to have near as dammit zero effect on the price of gasoline.
What is affecting the price of gasoline is the sanctions on and threats of war against Iran, something which he does have the power to do something about. Well, he does if Israel allows him to, that is, or if he summons up enough courage to do it with out the approval of the Israeli government. Pretty much everyone except the American people recognize that the belligerence of the US and Israel toward Iran has raised the price of oil by as much as 30% and is urging the US to remove the sanctions, but Obama is still having the vapors about a “nuclear arms race” in the Middle East.
Juan Cole has an excellent article today about Iran as it relates to Obama’s reelection. He says that Obama “needs to explain” the issue “or he is putting his second term in jeopardy,” but I don’t see how that’s going to help. How exactly, does Obama increase his popularity if he tells the public that it is his sanctions on and threats against Iran that are raising the price of gas if he doesn’t then drop those sanctions and threats? If he does drop them he is “weak on national security” and/or “anti-Semitic.” (I can’t believe I just said that and I hope you know what I mean by it.) His own policies pretty much put himself between a rock and a hard place there.
Obama’s incoherent policy extends further, because he has just announced that some nations will be exempt from “punishment” which the US will deal out the any nation which continues to buy oil from Iran. (I think it’s simply awesome that the US can “punish” other nations.) The nations who will be exempt will be France, Germany, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK. In other words, almost everybody except China, India and South Korea.
It seems to me that with those exemptions the sanctions are not so much punishing Iran for its supposed nuclear policy as they are punishing China, India and South Korea for… Hmmm. Currency issues, perhaps, or trade policies?