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March 18, 2012 11:30 AM The Zombie Lie That Won’t Die: Gas Prices Edition

By Elon Green

This morning, Mitt Romney passed along a conspiracy theory:

“[President Obama] said that energy prices would skyrocket under his views and he selected three people to help him implement that program: the secretary of energy, the secretary of the interior, and the EPA administrator,” Romney said. “And this gas-hike trio has been doing the job over the last three and a half years and gas prices are up.”

The claim that Obama consciously tried to hike the price of gas isn’t a new one. Last month, Mitch Daniels said the president “wanted higher gas prices, and he got them.” And earlier this month, a Fox News reporter was widely mocked, including by the president himself, for asking if Obama yearned for high has prices.

The Washington Post looked into the allegation (which, it’s worth noting, makes no sense whatsoever), and found that “the president never said he wanted the cost of gasoline to rise.”

What’s new, and immensely dispiriting, is that Romney — who, if nothing else, understands how the economy works — chose to pick up the mantle. The problem for him is he can’t very well acknowledge where the blame truly lies without eroding his support. If Romney calls out the oil speculators, he risks being labeled anti-capitalist, and if suggests ratcheting down the talk of attacking Iran, he will be labeled anti-Semitic.

Comments

  • AngryOldVet on March 18, 2012 11:41 AM:

    Mittens is more than truth challenged!

    Mitt Romney is a habitual, pathological liar and I wish that the media would call him on it.

  • walt on March 18, 2012 11:41 AM:

    Romney's latest lie is not exactly stunning. Of course, when your entire campaign is based on the metaphysical evil of the current president, it's not that easy to put them all into perspective. Allege something outrageous, based only on assertion. Watch nation's eyes glaze over.

    Can Mitt Romney tell the truth about anything? Maybe all the trees are the right height in his intellectual forest, but if that's the case, he can't really see them for all beams distorting his vision.

  • SYSPROG on March 18, 2012 11:42 AM:

    My question is: How is Romney gonna square all this garbage IF he becomes President? Is he hoping 1) people don't remember or 2) he doesn't give a sweet s#$@ because he and the GOP will just finish the job of raping America? Between Mitt and the hedge fund managers I'd bet for 2.

  • martin on March 18, 2012 11:50 AM:

    SYSPROG:
    If that is Romney's plan, all evidence is he will succeed beyond his wildest dreams on both counts.

  • LosGatosCA on March 18, 2012 12:11 PM:

    Romney knows crony capitalism which should never be confused with understanding the economy.

  • stormskies on March 18, 2012 12:30 PM:

    Buffoon Romney, and the entire Repiglican party, has degenerated into a 'reality' in which lying has become a virtue. The of course need to lie because actual reality reveals who they actually are, what their agenda is actually about. So of course creating these delusional lies to mask what they actual reality is about.

    And the sad fact is many of our fellow citizens need to 'believe' in these lies so as to maintain they own delusions, their own way of creating a reality that is devoid of actual facts.

    This is why, for example, that all those cretins who live in the South will vote against their own actual interests, especially economically, so as to be able to sustain their delusional beliefs which constitute psychological stability.

    Lying has simply become a necessity and virtue for these delusional Repiglicans, including buffoon Romney.

  • mef on March 18, 2012 12:55 PM:

    Where the blame truly LIES, not LAYS.

    Geez...

  • zandru on March 18, 2012 1:38 PM:

    Remember Obama's takedown

    ... of the allegation that he was making gas prices rise in preparation for the election? Something to the effect that no president facing re-election would want to see gas prices rise because of the hardship that would cause to American families. In other words, Do you think I'm crazy?

    Nice, simple, intuitive with no need for complex conspiracies and paradoxes. How would it benefit my re-election?

    All the lies are much too clever.

  • cmdicely on March 18, 2012 2:07 PM:

    What's new, and immensely dispiriting, is that Romney — who, if nothing else, understands how the economy works — chose to pick up the mantle.

    It isn't dispiriting, its predictable. Don't forget that this is the same Mitt Romney who this blog called out — rightly — for campaign operatives openly stating that dishonest propaganda was the proper and expected role of a political campaign organization.

    Every mention of another of Romney's campaign lies should be sure to contextualize it by representing that admission -- Romney's campaign is overtly dishonest-by-design.

  • dsimon on March 18, 2012 2:17 PM:

    What both liberals and conservatives know is that we'd be better off long-term with higher gas prices. How will we get off of oil as long as oil is cheap?

    Of course, neither side will actually say this. Both Democrats and Republicans run against high gas prices when they're the out party--which raises the question as to how we can ever get good energy policy in place (though they've managed it in Europe where they pay twice as much as we do for gas).

  • c4Logic on March 18, 2012 2:31 PM:

    They are Republicans. They lie. End of story.

  • manapp99 on March 18, 2012 2:32 PM:

    What has politics and political reporting come to these days. A candidate running around and falsely blaming the sitting president for high gas prices is not only and indictment of his truthiness but a stinging indictment of the political press that let's him get away with it. I haven't seen such brazen distortions of the truth about gas prices since way back in 08 when some junior senator from Illinois running for president did this same thing. And look where that got him!

  • Ron Byers on March 18, 2012 2:40 PM:

    Maybe somebody could ask Mr. Romney how he intends to lower gas prices if elected?

  • met on March 18, 2012 2:53 PM:

    WHOM this blog called out, not who

  • pea on March 18, 2012 2:55 PM:

    Romney has no integrity as most of us define it (and neither will any other GOP Prez if Rmoney doesn't get it). He wants and feels entitled to be Prez just like the hedge fund managers feel entitled to whatever they can amass. He and his backers want to end regulation and taxes for themselves so they can more easily continue to rape the country/world. It's about getting all the power and all the goodies. They don't care what we peons think (or try to do) since they can live w/o having to see or interact with us. They will keep people distracted with various ploys and tv programs while they continue to bleed us dry. They own the media and the paramilitary (Blackhawk type guys); the Prez will control the actual military; and they have the peasant-militias and nearly half the populace on their side. Based on how well they've succeeded in the past 3 decades, they don't fear the rest of us as we don't have or exercise our power. Life is not bad enough for most of us yet to risk losing our comforts and jobs like resisters in the Arab world are doing. If the GOP-hedge fund/banksters-1%ers win (and I have to think their hackers are poised to insure it), it is not going to be a pretty future for the earth and people below the 1%. Third world and then dinosaurs, here we come.

  • Ron Byers on March 18, 2012 2:56 PM:

    That is a really nice analysis the Post published, too bad nobody in the MSM has read it, or if they have why they refuse to question Romney about it.

    I guess if the media simply demanded all sides tell the truth, this would be a pathetically onesided race.

  • zandru on March 18, 2012 2:56 PM:

    Mr. Byers asks "Maybe somebody could ask Mr. Romney how he intends to lower gas prices if elected? "

    Surely you've already heard this song? It goes:

    Drill baby drill
    Lower taxes for millionaires (and up)
    No taxes on corporations
    Drill baby drill
    No more "costly" environmental regulations
    No more "costly" regulation of any kind
    Drill baby drill, honey, drill baby drill

    Seriously - do you expect Romney to be stumped by the question, or something?!

  • LJL on March 18, 2012 3:05 PM:

    People mistakenly think Romney is a moderate because he wears expensive suits and does not dwell over much on other people's gonads. But he is a genuine right wing reactionary, worse even than Sanctorum, because he wants only two things that the traditional Right has always desired, power and your money.

  • Skip on March 18, 2012 3:06 PM:

    The question I would like Mitt to answer: Is there a test for being evil before one can obtain a D voter card, or is the act of being handed a D voter card turn good people evil? I'd like Mitt to explain to the millions of D voters in this fine nation he wants to preside over how the "evil" rule works exactly.

    Of course, since he only plays to the saintly crowd, no one will ask that question because Everybody Knows already.

  • Skip on March 18, 2012 3:12 PM:

    When gas prices were higher than this during the He Who Cannot Not Be Named Administration, did that make him a conspirator against his own nation? No, then it was OPEC and the unsettled Mid-East. But today it's not OPEC and the continually unsettled Mid-East, it's Evil Obama...

    The double standards infuriate me more than any of the lies.

  • Nancy on March 18, 2012 3:26 PM:

    Here's what I think about high gas prices.

    "The price of oil is... is attributed to two oil men in the White House and their protectors in the United States Senate," Pelosi said in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

  • Barry on March 18, 2012 3:40 PM:

    I agree with Nancy and our President who said this in 08:

    "The candidates with the Washington experience - my opponents - are good people. They mean well, but they've been in Washington for a long time and even with all that experience they talk about, nothing has happened," Obama said in remarks delivered at a gas station.
    "So what have we got to show for all that experience?" Obama asked. "Gas that's approaching $4 a gallon."

    Thank God he won and saved us from high gas prices.

  • Nancy and Barry on March 18, 2012 4:35 PM:

    "The double standards infuriate me more than any of the lies."

    Heard that.

  • anon-y-mouse on March 18, 2012 5:24 PM:

    Trying to get the word out: Here is Fox News in a flashback to 2008 talking about gas prices--back then they did not blame President Bush.

    Now they blame President Obama, as Ro-money also implies.

    Interesting link from media matters:

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201203050007

  • Thaumaturgist on March 18, 2012 7:54 PM:

    Just saw a piece on Fox News about the price of gas and the fact that people from San Diego & Los Angeles drive into Mexico where they can get unleaded for $2.71 a gallon, or something like that. In Mexico, Fox News said, the price of gas is regulated by the government.

  • Texas Aggie on March 18, 2012 8:02 PM:

    What Nancy and Barry ignore (on purpose?) is that under He Who Cannot Be Named and his VP, one of the primary reasons that gas prices were high was the invasion of Iraq for which they were directly responsible. The reasons now are different, speculation and sword rattling in Iran, both of which can be laid at the feet of the same people, neocons and speculators.

  • tcinaz on March 18, 2012 8:08 PM:

    The real press will come with asking Romney how he will lower gas prices. That's of course the the $64,000 question which has only an entrapment answer.

  • st john on March 18, 2012 8:32 PM:

    May I direct your attention away from the distraction of primary and partisan politics and to the documentary, Thrive by Foster Gamble.
    Thrive
    This is one of the most revolutionary movies to be produced in a very long time. It includes everything from "free energy", ETs, Banking fraud, food manipulation, crony capitalism, global war and intentional poisoning of the environment and people. It is all documented and fact-checked. It will get your blood boiling, and it offers solutions that are viable and doable. Don't watch it or disparage it at your peril. When it goes viral, We, The People, win.

  • Crissa on March 18, 2012 9:29 PM:

    I loved that part of the documents explaining the economic need for the Keystone pipeline was that it would relieve surpluses in the midwest and raise gas prices there.

    Jokes on us, I guess.

  • anon-y-mouse on March 18, 2012 9:29 PM:

    Commodities speculation plays a role in rising gas prices, but ideology and political goals certainly continue to drive Republican thought processes. It is unsettling.
    Ro-money as president would still have the Bush tax cuts. And he'd be aching to start a war.
    I remember a Bloomberg News article with Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill reporting Cheney ignored his warnings that tax cuts would absolutely undermine and erode the economy.
    And as a member of the National Security Council, O'Neill bravely let it be known the administration was planning to expel Saddam Hussein from Iraq months well before 9/11-- with those plots spun in the very early days of the presidency-- including the schemes to manage Iraq's oil riches after they'd oust Saddam. And O'Neill reported the administration absolutely did use the events of 9/11 to explain away the necessity to invade that country.
    He had tons of information--thousands of supportive documents--- and let us know that in the 23 or 24 months he was there, he never saw one thing that he'd characterize as evidence of WMD. I remember it like it was yesterday.

  • Rudy Gonzales on March 18, 2012 9:47 PM:

    Congratulations to Mr. Romney, now if he would recant what he knows is a great big lie! The TEA-GOP-Republican smear campaign to tie high gasoline prices to president Obama, when in fact he has no control. Smearing the president is their tactic as president Obama cannot control gasoline prices. The world economy can and does. What really chaps their bodacious tata's is we’re already having a hydrocarbon boom, with U.S. oil and gas production rising and U.S. fuel imports dropping. To be a modern Republican in good standing, you have to believe — or pretend to believe — in two miracle cures for whatever ails the economy: more tax cuts for the rich and more drilling for oil. If there were any truth to drill-here-drill-now, this boom should have yielded substantially lower gasoline prices and lots of new jobs. Predictably, however, it has done neither. First up, oil prices. Unlike natural gas, which is expensive to ship across oceans, oil is traded on a world market — and the big developments moving prices in that market usually have little to do with events in the United States. Oil prices are up because of rising demand from China and other emerging economies, and more recently because of war scares in the Middle East; these forces easily outweigh any downward pressure on prices from rising U.S. production. And the same thing would happen if Republicans got their way and oil companies were set free to drill freely in the Gulf of Mexico and punch holes in the tundra: the effect on prices at the pump would be negligible. Why, then, are Republicans pretending otherwise? Part of the answer is that the party is rewarding its benefactors: the oil and gas industry doesn’t create many jobs, but it does spend a lot of money on lobbying and campaign contributions. The rest of the answer is simply the fact that conservatives have no other job-creation ideas to offer.

  • Anklejive on March 19, 2012 12:53 AM:

    The President's re-election in 2012 will be a no BAIN-er!

  • Califlander on March 19, 2012 2:20 AM:

    Don't forget, the Republicans started blaming Obama for high gas prices before he was elected President:

    http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/07/21/mccain-blames-obama-for-high-gas-prices-in-new-ad/

  • The Oracle on March 19, 2012 2:23 AM:

    Passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in 2000 triggered the economic catastrophes we've seen over the past twelve years. Deregulating on-line energy trading gave us Enron in 2001. Deregulating derivatives trading on Wall Street gave us the grossly-inflated fraud-driven "housing bubble" during the GW Bush years and the 2008 financial crisis. Deregulating oil futures trading gave us rising oil barrel and gasoline prices as unrestricted oil futures speculators were unleashed on consumers at the gas pump, rising since 2000 in the sense that before this deregulatory Act in 2000, oil barrel and gasoline prices stayed somewhat stable, with gasoline prices throughout the 1990s in the U.S. hovering at or below $1.00 a gallon.

    After the Act passed in 2000, oil barrel and gasoline prices have trended upward, driven upward to a large extent by unrestricted oil futures speculation. In 2008, this greed-driven trend spiked at the highest level I've ever seen in my lifetime, with only the 2008 financial crisis inadvertently placing "limits" on oil futures trading, driving down significantly the price for gasoline in the U.S., which plummeted to below $2.00 a gallon.

    Unfortunately, the U.S. taxpayers' bail-out of the Wall Street firms behind the "housing bubble" also bailed-out the oil futures speculators, thus removing the limits, opening the door to allow them to return to unrestricted oil futures trading. We're seeing the result today. Rescinding entirely the 2000 Act and reimposing restrictions on commodity trading would immediately drive down the price of commodities like oil, gasoline and even food. However, Republicans and all the bought politicians/bureaucrats feeding off of this commodity futures trading frenzy are blocking any attempt to regulate again those who have benefited the most from the 2000 Act. Thus, oil barrel and gasoline prices today are shooting up once again to the levels we last saw in 2008.

    A simple experiment. Republicans finally allow severe restrictions on oil futures speculators to be imposed, and then we see what happens. My bet would be that in several months oil barrel and gasoline prices would plummet like they did in 2008.

    Releasing oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve won't have an immediate, long-term effect. Talking about switching to alternative energy won't have an immediate effect, but would be good over the long-term. Drill, baby, drill won't have an immediate effect, primarily because this is not a supply and demand inflationary spiral. Only reining in the greed of the oil futures speculators will have both an immediate and long-term effect.