Victor Davis Hanson: The Gaseous Policies of Barack Obama

Roundup: Historians' Take

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

“They” Did It (Again)!

There are no “oil men” in the White House. So the Obamites cannot, as in the past, blame Halliburton, BP, or Exxon for rigging gas prices out of the Oval Office. Which leads to the question: why then are prices now climbing when the Bush-oil company connection is no longer the narrative? The new answer? “Wall Street” (e.g., the fat-cat bankers, corporate jet owners, those who don’t know when not to profit, etc.) raised prices.

But if true, who let them get away with that? The Chinese, who are scrounging every barrel they can on the world market? The Indians, who follow suit? Maybe it’s the Obama administration Treasury that has borrowed $5 trillion in three years, not only eroding the buying power of the world-traded dollar but also sending a message to oil producers that even more debt is coming and their petrodollars will only be worth less and less?

Or perhaps it is growing world tension, as in Iran, that caused the panic? But then who snubbed the Green revolution in Iran in the spring of 2009, sought “outreach” and “reset” with the theocracy, and leveled five serial demands to stop Iranian enrichment (or else!) to the point that Iran no doubt understood 2009-2012 was a once-in-a-lifetime exempt window of opportunity to get the bomb and to control the Gulf?

To paraphrase William Tecumseh Sherman, Obama might as well rail at the wind. The administration’s current panic mode arises because we are nearing $5 a gallon. (I just filled up two miles away in West Selma, with a supposed 21% unemployment rate and a per capita income of about $14,000, and the price today was $4.27.) It is only early March. Obama may blame Wall Street, but he is savvy enough to do the following calculus: by August, people will want to drive more than they do in March; the Chinese will suddenly not wish to buy less oil this summer; he has no federal leases that he approved in January 2009 that will be coming on line after three-and-a-half years; Volts will not be going into hyper-production mode; and prices will only go up just as the campaign and the weather heat up. There is about an hour’s worth of Obama administration past quotes on gas prices that should make some interesting campaign ads....

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