Politico is shedding some light on a three year-old sound bite that continues to haunt the Obama Administration: Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s comments that American gas prices should be as high as Europe’s:
“Somehow,” Chu said, “we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”
Unsurprisingly, Republicans have latched on to these comments as evidence that the Obama Administration is out of touch with regular Americans and harbors an agenda favoring green special interests over the needs of American businesses. With gas prices rising to the point where they threaten the already-fragile economic recovery, this figures to be a potent weapon against the president in the upcoming election.While this position may be slightly unfair to the President (Mr. Chu was not yet in the Administration at the time he made the remarks, so any link between it and administration policy is tenuous), the quote devastatingly reveals just how tone-deaf and myopic white-collar, progressive intellectualism can be. The delusion that jacking up energy prices is part of a “good government” agenda is one of the pieces of insanity that keeps the blue intelligentsia from consolidating its position as a natural governing class.More surprising here is that Politico is jumping on the bandwagon—although it notes that Chu’s remarks have been detrimental to Obama, the piece laments that the goal of raising gas prices doesn’t get the sympathetic attention it obviously deserves, given the support of numerous “experts.” With thinking like this dominating media and intellectual circles, it’s little wonder that the mainstream media is perceived as elitist and out of touch.What most Americans mean by energy policy is this: government policies that aim to make energy as abundant and cheap as possible, given some very basic environmental concerns (no oil on the beach). No other approach can get you elected.For Politico, the reason more politicians don’t discuss these ideas more favorably is that they have something called a ‘survival instinct’. Politicians who boast about their successful initiatives to raise the price of gasoline don’t last. If you are a politician who wants to raise the price of gas, you have two choices in America: you can persuade the military leadership to install you in office through a coup d’etat, or you can lie to the voters and pursue your agenda on the sly.A number of Democrats seem to have chosen the second option. The significance of the Chu sound bite is that some voters think President Obama has a stealth energy agenda, and rising gas prices tend to strengthen that perception.