The hallmark of an Obama policy, it seems, is that he doesn’t have a single policy. He tends to have several policies at once, usually contradictory. And the field of energy is no exception.
First up, there’s the price of gas. During his campaign, Obama said he thought that the price of gas should go up, gradually, to encourage more people to conserve. And his energy secretary, Steven Chu, actually said “somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe” — which is currently just over double the price here (about $8.25/gallon there vs. $3.84 here). It’s worth noting that in January 19, 2009, the day before Obama took office, the numbers were $5.58 and $2.08 respectively. (All numbers for premium grade gas — the first set I could find, and I’m feeling slightly lazy.) So, after just a bit over two years, the Obama administration has overseen gas prices going from 37.3% of European averages to 46.5%, so that’s progress.
(All numbers cribbed from here, except the averages and percentages — I did those.)
OK, that’s gas. Let’s talk about what makes gas — oil. Here we have a couple of Obama positions to consider.
Obama stated — as all candidates tend to — that he wanted to help America achieve energy independence and end our reliance on foreign oil. As I said, that’s a standard talking point; they all say that.
But Obama has also been hostile to development of new sources of oil domestically. He’s opposed opening up ANWR, working shale, and is outright hostile to offshore drilling — even before the BP oil spill.
Now, those are all defensible positions. I think that they’re flat-out wrong, and contradict the idea of energy independence, but they’re defensible.
However, they got tossed in the blender during President Obama’s recent trip to Brazil. While there, he affirmed America’s support for helping Brazil to develop its own offshore oil drilling, and pledged that America would be a proud and glad customer of Brazil’s oil.
I guess that Obama thinks that offshore drilling is so bad, it’s only fit for brown people to do it. And since Brazil is part of the Americas, it doesn’t count as foreign oil.
Alternately, it could tie in to George Soros’ substantial investment in Brazilian offshore oil drilling, but I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy nut.
This one area sums up the problem with confronting Obama’s policies in general: he rarely has any kind of consistent, coherent program or ideology or set of principles behind them, so it’s hard to find the opposite tack to take. And you never know just what set of policies he’s backing at any given time.
And don’t even bother to ask him. He’ll go off on a set of his standard ticks — “as I have always said,” straw men and false choices, and vague generalities. Trying to figure out just what Obama wants and stands for is very much like the proverbial exercise of nailing Jello to a wall.
And here’s even more good news: Obama wants a second term, presumably to give him time to figure out just what the hell he stands for.
I guess he figures that after eight years of on-the-job training, he just maybe might get the hang of it — just in time for him to be Constitutionally limited out of office.
Great plan there, Mr. Commander In Chief.
Update: In the “great minds run in similar channels, or fools think alike” category, Chris Horner of The American Spectator covers much of the same ground — but with entirely different evidence.