You know how GOP Senator Roy Blunt’s been going on and on about how high gas prices are going to bring on the end of Western Civilization and it’s all Barack Obama’s personal fault? For a few months recently, it seemed that he couldn’t talk about anything else. He even tried to justify his don’t-let’s-tax-the-rich Buffet rule vote by evoking the bane of high gas prices. When he delivered the GOP weekly remarks in late April, all he could do was gas about the cost of gas, which was so high, he claimed, because Obama “focused on the wrong things” – like the dreaded “economic fairness.”
Well, guess what? Gas prices are falling. They’re falling, just as they rose in the first place, for reasons that have little or nothing to do with direct political intervention. Gas is a commodity. Its cost responds to global market forces and international events such as the relative stability of the Middle East and, in common with other commodities, can be exacerbated by rampant speculation.
Funny fact: the voice of today’s GOP, Fox News, after leading the chorus of Chicken Littles who claimed that the sky was falling because of high fuel prices, now proclaims the lower prices to be equally bad news. Go figure.
Do you think that Media Matters might be on to something when they speculate that Fox is just trying to help out the folks who are really worried about low gas prices – Republican strategists (and, I would add, politicians like Blunt) who “were hoping to reap the political benefits of high gas prices at the polls this year”? Media Matters’ Shauna Theel analyzes Fox’s new line:
Stuart Varney, the Fox Business host pictured at the top, tried to explain the claim that the recent gas price drop might be “BAD,” saying it may be “just a sign of a weakening economy.” The Wall Street Journal reported that one of the reasons for the drop in gas prices was the “softening economies in the U.S. and Europe,” along with easing tensions in Iran and changes in the oil market.
Note that Fox is now raising how worldwide economic factors are affecting gas prices, after spending weeks blaming Obama for the price increase since the president’s inauguration. Fox won’t explain that the extremely low price in January 2009 was a short-lived drop caused by the massive economic recession. In fact, last week on Fox News, Varney explicitly said with a straight face that the price increase since the bottom of the recession had “everything to do with” Obama, but the recent drop in gas prices “has nothing to do with” him.
So does the new Fox position mean that Fox fanboy* Blunt will follow suit? How will he pivot now that he can’t beat the same dead horse over and over any more – at least not in quite the same way. Will he take the way out offered by his Fox News cohort? Will he find some other way to stay the course? Or will he just pretend the topic never came up in the first place?
*Fox fanboy = Republican politician