Charles Krauthammer / Politics

Seaweed in Your Gas Tank

WASHINGTON -- Yes, of course, presidents have no direct control over gas prices. But the American people know something about this president and his disdain for oil. The "fuel of the past," he contemptuously calls it. To the American worker who doesn't commute by government motorcade and is getting fleeced every week at the pump, oil seems very much a fuel of the present -- and of the foreseeable future.

President Obama incessantly claims energy open-mindedness, insisting that his policy is "all of the above." Except, of course, for drilling

-- off the Mid-Atlantic coast (as Virginia, for example, wants),

-- off the Florida Gulf Coast (instead, the Castro brothers will drill near there),

-- in the broader Gulf of Mexico (where drilling in 2012 is expected to drop 30 percent below pre-moratorium forecasts),

-- in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (more than half the size of England, the drilling footprint being the size of Dulles Airport),

-- on federal lands in the Rockies (where leases are down 70 percent since Obama took office).

But the event that drove home the extent of Obama's antipathy to nearby, abundant, available oil was his veto of the Keystone pipeline. It gave the game away because the case for Keystone is so obvious and overwhelming. Vetoing it gratuitously prolongs our dependence on outside powers, kills thousands of shovel-ready jobs, forfeits a major strategic resource to China, damages relations with our closest ally, and sends billions of oil dollars to Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin and already obscenely wealthy sheiks.

Obama boasts that on his watch production is up and imports down. True, but truly deceptive. These increases have occurred in spite of his restrictive policies. They are the result of Clinton- and Bush-era permitting. This has been accompanied by a gold rush of natural gas production resulting from new fracking technology that has nothing at all to do with Obama.

"The American people aren't stupid," said Obama (Feb. 23), mocking "Drill, baby, drill." The "only solution," he averred in yet another major energy speech last week, is that "we start using less, that lowers the demand, prices come down." Yet five paragraphs later he claimed that regardless of "how much oil we produce at home ... that's not going to set the price of gas worldwide."

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Copyright 2012 Washington Post Writers Group



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