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Why Can’t It Be Done, Mr. Hayes?

Yesterday, out of the blue, a reader commented on a post made just before the 2008 election about the following video. You don’t have to watch the video – indeed, I recommend you don’t. Just know that it’s a bunch of washed-up has-been celebrities praying to Barack Obama to save America and lower gas prices.

Well, three and a half years on, the gas prices are higher than they were before Cyndi Lauper and George Costanza gave their alms to the Almighty Obama. Why, Barack? Why are your people still in darkness? Why haven’t their petroleum prayers been answered?

Well, if you listen to the president’s remarks yesterday, you’d think it were all Rutherford B. Hayes’ fault.

President Obama is seeing his poll numbers plunge in direct correlation to the price at the pump, and, as is his wont, he’s chosen to blame somebody instead of take practical steps to solve the problem. He’s not blaming Hayes directly, but he’s comparing current Republican contenders to be our forty-fifth president to President #19. It seems the Republicans, like “founding members of the Flat Earth Society,” despise science and are therefore resisting the technological changes necessary to transfer from fossil fuels to the alternative sources of energy that would bring down fuel costs.

From the president’s speech in Largo, MD:

One of my predecessors, President Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone: ‘It’s a great invention but who would ever want to use one?’ That’s why he’s not on Mt. Rushmore. He’s looking backwards, he’s not looking forward. He’s explaining why we can’t do something instead of why we can do something.

If that’s the case, Mr. President, then your predecessor has for more in common with you than he does with your Republican opponents. None of them oppose alternative sources of energy. They simply recognize that they’re nowhere near ready to pick up the slack, so, in the meantime, they think increasing domestic production of fossil fuels is a really good idea. They’re right. More domestic energy production will lower costs, decrease reliance on foreign oil, and create a buttload of jobs.

So who’s the one telling us we can’t do it?

“Since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for two dollar gas. I’ll save you the suspense: Step one is drill, step two is drill, and step three is keep drilling… We’ve heard the same thing for thirty years…It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge.” – Barack Obama. February 23, 2012

“But we can’t just drill our way out of this problem.” Barack Obama, March 3, 2012

“We can’t drill to lower gas prices.” – Barack Obama, March 10, 2012 

Really? Why can’t it be done, Mr. Hayes?

Yes, the President has made some recent halfhearted gestures toward increased drilling – it is a presidential election year, after all – but for every step forward, he takes a Keystone Pipeline-sized step back. In North Dakota, the fracking boom has lowered that state’s unemployment to 3.2% and forced McDonalds to pay burger flippers $15 an hour after getting $300 signing bonuses. There are similar resources in oil shale throughout Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Yet Obama ludicrously maintains the US only has 2% of  the world’s oil reserves.

He’s dead wrong.

From Investors.com:

When you include oil shale, the U.S. has 1.4 trillion barrels of technically recoverable oil, according to the Institute for Energy Research, enough to meet all U.S. oil needs for about the next 200 years, without any imports. And even this number could be low, since such estimates tend to go up over time.

So tell me again why it can’t be done, Mr. Hayes?

Actually, comparing Barack Obama and Rutherford Hayes isn’t fair at all to President Hayes. Because while ol’ Rutherford may have been a telephone skeptic, he didn’t bring the full weight of the federal government to bear against the telephone industry. He didn’t insist that we all wait until technology produced the iPad and we could FaceTime cheaply and conveniently. To be like Obama, Hayes would have had to give a speech saying “Skype is the future, my friends. We can’t just phone our way out of our communication problems.” Yet one of President Obama’s first acts in office was to cancel 79 oil and gas leases in Utah that had been in the works for seven years. He canceled the Keystone Pipeline. With a few token exceptions, he has done everything in his power to stifle domestic oil production.

Why can’t it be done, Mr. Obama?  Because you won’t let us do it.

UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer says all this better than I do here.

Mormon Momentum
Baptizing a Dead Horse

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13 Comments

  1. It seems like this whole debate confuses two important objectives. The first is to end our dependence on foreign oil. This is likely a very costly endeavor, albeit a noble one. The other is to lower the price of energy (gas included), also a worthy goal.

    When it comes to lowering the price of gas, it is not at all obvious to me, no matter how much of the world’s oil reserves exist in the United States, that we can can produce it at a lower cost than those who provide it to us now. It seems conservatives point to supply and ignore entirely the questions surrounding costs.

    I agree that the president has not been liberal enough (in the classical sense) with regards to drilling, but I think republicans better have an answer if/when more drilling occurs and there is not a significant change in domestic prices.

  2. I could be wrong, but gas prices have come down a bout a dollar per gallon since two to three years ago. My main complaint is that it’s almost as if the unspoken policy within the D.O.E is; have enough barrels in the reserve to buy us time to scramble for another energy source when the well runs dry. I know that it’s not the actual policy, but can’t help but feel that the policy is considered a variable in the equation of Global Planning and procedure with it’s importance or weight measured according to the profitability of oil to the oil refinement industry. It’s not that they are evil and want to see the world economies collapse, it’s just extremely hard lift the veil of denial when the money is so good to keep heads in the sand.

    Drilling willing not lower gas prices unless the refinement industry can first manipulate energy politics to allow for significant jump in prices. The United States uses a ridiculous majority of the oil consumption pie. That fact alone screams that better planning with our policies will have a much greater affect on prices then drilling nationally. If analysis reports regarding the profit margin for oil extraction and oil refinement were to be calculated with honest transparency only people whose paychecks were not signed by the refinement industry would fail to see the writing on the wall.