During the Second Presidential Debate, we discovered about Mitt Romney’s binders full of women and how journalist moderators don’t actually have to be flaccid pushovers and can call out the flagrant lies of the debating candidates (I know, journalists actually holding politicians accountable? Scary and weird.) But we also heard a lot of pettifogging on natural resources (including the non-renewable ones that cause us to fight wars in the Middle East) and the role that presidents play with regards to price at the pump.
Unless candidates are running for president of OPEC, they have little to no control over the price of gasoline and what you pay at the pump as it involves a byzantine plethora of factors. In other wards, a perfect opportunity for clueless, opportunist politicians to distill into an easily digestible talking point to get voters into a hand-wringing, knee-jerk fit of frenzy during a major election year.
Mitt Romney erroneously suggested that Obama’s energy policies have restricted energy development on federal lands and the domestic production was down, which of course is completely not true since domestic oil production under Obama has soared and even hit a record last week. But never-mind the jargoneering, petty politics of presidential campaigns and the fact that Romney needs to fabricate and exploit bread and butter economic issues in order to siphon middle-class votes from Obama in the crucial swing-state of Ohio.
The fact of the matter remains that politicians and the government really have very little control over gasoline prices, so politicians and, in this case, Mitt Romney’s posturing on the issue is horribly disingenuous and nothing but a shady attempt to hoodwink unsuspecting voters struggling financially during an economic recession. The price Americans pay at the pump is directly tied to the crude oil market: an intricate global system largely beyond the reach of Washington. For example, prices tend to go up during times of unrest in key middle eastern countries, like the political crisis and social uprising that took place in Libya last year, or where supplies or sometimes hard to get to like with the infrequent rebel attacks in the oil-rich Niger Delta of the troubled sub-Saharan African country of Nigeria.
I know, boring facts. Bring me the oil drums of women!
And to the “Drill Baby, Drill” crowd (should be Pill Baby, Pill), while domestic production would certainly create a flurry of American jobs, reduce reliance on foreign oil and lower the trade deficit, it would have little impact on gas and oil prices.
It’s not exactly a national secret that campaigning politicians make outlandish, far-fetching promises during important election years in order to solicit votes. If you don’t believe me, just look at the shut-downed torture camp at Guantanamo Bay, marijuana freedom, and zero wars in the Middle East. Indeed, the task of actually governing pales in comparison to the freewheeling fun house of campaigning. Romney appears to be playing the role of a swinging single. He wines and dines you, tells you you’re the only one, but then assuming he gets elected you’ll be lucky if you get breakfast, as it’s a one-way trip down K-Street from that point forward.