The GOP’s favorite line of attack against the President recently has been that his administration is blocking American oil production and making gas prices go up:
- “The Obama administration has consistently blocked America’s energy production.” — Speaker John Boehner, March 10, 2011
- “These resources are being kept out of reach because of an intense regulatory bias and radical environmental activists — both in the administration and elsewhere.” — Chairman of the Oversight and Government Oversight Committee Rep. Darrell Issa, May 12, 2011
- “He is diminishing and decreasing the amount of energy in our market domestically and that, of course, resulting in prices that are rising and gas having doubled since he has been in office.” — Sarah Palin, May 6, 2011
- “I would reverse Obama’s entire pattern of being anti-American energy. I would start by saying drill here — drill now, pay less.” — Newt Gingrich, May 12, 2011
- “The decisions that the President is making on energy, and has been making since the beginning of his administration, has made it very clear that America is not interested in developing our own energy resources.” — Mitt Romney, April 25, 2011
- “This is a president who has sat on his hands as it relates to drilling. You know, we’ve got a country that’s got some enormous energy assets that are not being exploited or leveraged to the benefit of our country and to our people.” — Tim Pawlenty, April 25, 2011
Incredibly, none of the Republicans hammering Obama for supposedly strangling domestic oil production bothered to check the data.
While domestic production declined each year under President Bush, falling from 5.8 million barrels per day to less than 5 million, production (XLS) has increased 11% since Obama came into office. It would have increased even more if a pesky oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico hadn’t intervened.
Despite having the facts on his side, the President took the GOP’s bait and announced a major push to increase drilling — potentially opening up areas in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic coast. With both sides now supporting the GOP policy, surely John Boehner would at last give the President some credit. Not so fast:
Responding to the shift by the administration, Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, said, “The president just conceded what his party on Capitol Hill still denies: more American energy production will lower costs and create jobs. This reversal is striking, since his administration has consistently blocked American-made energy.”
Although Mr. Buck characterized the policy changes as “not terribly substantial,” he added that they should “pave the way for legislation, like the bills the House passed in the past two weeks, to reduce the damage from the restrictions he imposed in the past.”
From where I sit, both sides come out looking bad. Republicans bullied the President into adopting their preferred policy by repeating a lie over and over again — and the President fell for it, just like he always does.
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