Home > Political Ranting > Bush the Hypocrite, Episode 147

Bush the Hypocrite, Episode 147

April 25th, 2006

The price of oil has skyrocketed under Bush from $35 per barrel in 2000 to more than $75 today, and prices at the pump are now more than double what they were when Bush took office. From the AP:

President Bush … halted for the summer the purchase of crude oil for the government’s emergency reserve.

The moves came as political pressure intensified on Bush to do something about gasoline prices that are expected to stay high throughout the summer.

Of course, back in 2000, when Bush castigated Al Gore for allowing oil prices to rise to the unthinkable level of $1.50 per gallon, Bush sharply criticized Gore for suggesting the national petroleum reserves be used to attenuate gas prices:

“The strategic reserve should not be used as an attempt to drive down oil prices right before an election,” Bush said. “It should not be used for short-tem political gain at the cost of long-term national security.”

And now we find ourselves right before an election, and guess who’s fooling around with the strategic reserve? Bingo!

What’s more, let’s look at the differences the two men would take to help the American public get by during the period of high oil prices. First Gore’s suggestion in 2000, along with the strategic reserve move:

Gore also called for the release of $400 million in emergency assistance for low-income families and tax credits for home heating oil companies. And he reiterated his support for the creation of a permanent home heating oil reserve for the Northeast, where cold weather last year led to chronic shortages.

Gore criticized oil companies, saying they were “profiteering” at the expense of American consumers.

OK, now fast-forward to 6 years later and see what Bush is doing:

President Bush on Tuesday ordered a temporary suspension of environmental rules for gasoline … Easing the environment rules will allow refiners greater flexibility in providing oil supplies since they will not have to use certain additives such as ethanol to meet clean air standards. The suspension of oil purchases for the federal emergency oil reserve is likely to have only modest impact since relative little extra oil will be involved.

So Gore wanted to use the strategic reserve to bring down prices, with his secondary plan being to give assistance to people who needed to heat their homes. Bush attacked Gore for playing with the strategic reserves–but now he’s doing not only that, but his alternate plan is to get rid of environmental safeguards so the oil companies can squeeze even more profits from their sales, with absolutely no guarantees or requirements that the savings are passed on to the consumer.

And while Gore correctly pointed out that oil companies were taking advantage of the situation to gouge consumers, Bush simply says he’ll look into the possibility of price manipulation. Seeing as how the oil companies have been doing this for all of Bush’s term to date and he’s done nothing but give them massive tax breaks while they reap record profits, it’s not hard to guess that Bush will in fact never find anything actionable.

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  1. Sage
    April 27th, 2006 at 00:16 | #1

    Wall Street Journal explains the rationale in blaming enviromental legislation for part of the higher oil prices:


    A decent portion of the latest run-up in gas prices–and the entire cause of recent spot shortages–is the direct result of the energy bill Congress passed last summer. That self-serving legislation handed Congress’s friends in the ethanol lobby a mandate that forces drivers to use 7.5 billion gallons annually of that oxygenate by 2012.

    At the same time, Congress refused to provide liability protection to the makers of MTBE, a rival oxygenate getting hit with lawsuits. So MTBE makers are leaving the market in a rush, while overstretched ethanol producers (despite their promises) are in no way equipped to compensate for the loss of MTBE in the fuel supply. Ethanol is also difficult to ship and store outside of the Midwest, which is causing supply headaches and spot gas shortages along the East Coast and Texas.

    These columns warned Republicans this would happen. As recently as last year, ethanol was selling for $1.45 a gallon. By December it had reached $2 and is now going for $2.77. So refiners are now having to buy both oil and ethanol at sky-high prices. In short, the only market manipulation has been by politicians


    Congress could help a little in the short term if it asked the Bush Administration to end the 54-cent-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol. That would especially help drivers in coastal states suffering from spot shortages. Naturally, however, the domestic ethanol industry is threatening retribution against any Member who suggests such a thing; so much for industry gratitude.

    The GOP might also refocus its attention on legislation the House passed last year to reduce the number of “boutique fuels” to six from 17. These special gasoline blends are required in different parts of the country in the name of reducing pollution. Their primary effect, however, is to raise gas prices and make it difficult to move gas around the country during shortfalls. The Environmental Protection Agency could also ease environmental rules for those parts of the country suffering shortages.

    Meanwhile, we’re also hearing more about the country’s reliance on “foreign oil.” But if Congress wants to ease that dependence, it will have to open more of the U.S. up to oil and gas exploration. Had the Senate opened up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploration when the Bush Administration requested it in 2001, some of this oil might now be joining American supplies. The same goes for natural gas drilling along the Outer Continental Shelf. Yet the very Democrats who deplore foreign supplies and shout about high prices vote again and again to block domestic oil exploration.

    Highlights added. Entire article at http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008286

  2. Don
    September 8th, 2006 at 15:15 | #2

    Just a point of clarification. The “emergency oil reserve” is the “Strategic Petroleum Reserve”. The National Petroleum Reserves are an entirely different animal.

    Stategic reserves are normally refined fuels. They can be brought on line rapidly in times of emergency.

    National Petroleum Reserves are federal lands with natural unrefined oil that has to be explored for, developed, transported and refined.

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