Skip to comments.Bush Seemingly Resigned to High Gas Prices-(more of these articles to follow)
Posted on 04/23/2006 4:37:31 PM PDT by Flavius
President Bush Takes Note of High Gas Prices but Offers Little in the Way of Relief
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- As oil prices hit a record, drivers worried about $3-a-gallon gas and politicians feared the impact on elections, President Bush on Friday acknowledged the pain but seemed resigned to being able to do little about it.
"I know the folks here are suffering at the gas pump," the president said while promoting his competitiveness initiative at the Silicon Valley headquarters of Internet networking company Cisco Systems Inc. "Rising gasoline prices is like taking a -- is like a tax, particularly on the working people and the small-business people."
But to address the immediate problem, Bush offered only a pledge that "if we find any price gouging it will be dealt with firmly."
Bush said that lowering America's dependance on foreign oil imports will help reduce the country's vulnerability to global oil price fluctuations. On Saturday, the president was pushing his proposals to boost spending to develop alternative energy sources, particularly hydrogen-fueled cars.
Critics say Bush's ideas are too modest and focus on solutions that are far from being a reality in the marketplace.
Crude-oil prices broke through $75 a barrel Friday amid concerns about the standoff over Iran's nuclear ambitions, rebel disruptions of oil production in Nigeria, and tight U.S. gasoline supplies. Analysts say they are likely to climb even higher.
Prices at the gas pump also kept rising and were not considered at their peak, with the average price of a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline at $2.855. That's 3 cents higher than a day earlier and more than 60 cents higher than a year ago, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge report.
Democratic efforts to score political points by focusing on gas prices have Republicans worried that their majority in Congress could be at risk in the fall midterm elections.
High gas prices were hardly the only problem facing Bush's White House as he embarked on a four-day swing to California and Las Vegas. He was traveling with new chief of staff Joshua Bolten, charged with reinvigorating a White House rocked by public discontent with the Iraq war and a series of missteps ranging from an ill-fated Supreme Court nomination to a bungled response to Hurricane Katrina.
Bush's poll ratings are at their lowest point. Hundreds of protesters called for his resignation near the Cisco compound where he spoke.
Even his trip put the president squarely in the middle of a federal-state dustup.
Bush decided not to grant the pre-emptive federal disaster declaration sought for California's fragile levees by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican who faces a tough re-election fight and has had a chilly relationship with Bush. Instead, the president is allowing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help speed repairs at the state's expense.
Bush seemed aware of the precarious political landscape.
When Bush turned the microphone at Cisco over to Schwarzenegger, the governor said, "First of all, I want to say congratulations."
"For what?" asked the president, appearing genuinely surprised.
The governor, who had discussed the levee issue during a limousine ride with Bush, replied that he was glad to see the president "really paying attention" to the competitiveness issue.
Afterward, Bush talked privately with scholars from Stanford University's Hoover Institution, including former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, a Hoover fellow and early defender of the use of pre-emptive force to deal with Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.
Plans to hold the meeting at the Hoover Institution were scuttled when protesters blocked Bush's motorcade from going through the only entrance. Shultz, who was already hosting a private dinner for Bush later at his Palo Alto home, had the session moved to his two-story, gray-shingled house.
One reason for a weekend trip with a lot of downtime in beautiful places became clear even before Bush boarded Air Force One to leave Washington. Crew were seen loading two shiny mountain bikes -- one a red-white-and-blue Trek adorned with the presidential seal and "United States of America." With stays scheduled in picturesque Napa Valley and the Palm Springs area, the bikes weren't likely to remain clean for long.
"Tomorrow I'm going to be riding my bike in Napa Valley. I can't wait," Bush told his Cisco audience.
Before returning to Washington Monday night, Bush was making stops to raise money for the national Republican Party, visit with Marines and Navy sailors, and press Congress to break a logjam over the immigration legislation he wants.
Bush has advocated weening ourselves off foreign import oil. If this spurs producers to develop products that can reduce our reliance on foreign oil by as little as 10 to 20%, it will have a desirable effect on prices. That's doesn't sound like him being resigned to high prices.
(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")
Americans want cheap energy that isn't produced off the coasts of their states or from national monuments or wildlife refuges.
Such drivel -
Then again it doesn't help that the fools in the GOP congress go along with such a premise and instead of calling on wrong-headed environmental regulations to be suspended (reformulation standards, and refinery regs)...NO....they go and call for "hearings" on price gouging!
The GOP / RNC are such complete fools on domestic issues about stating the facts and not allowing false premises to be set by the MSM /DEMs.
The current gas prices are made to order for the GOP to ram it down the DEM's throats in letting the American public see what their foolish regulations are costing this country.
With that said, GWB should call a 90-120 day halt on all federal mandated reformulations...as well as stop putting oil into SPR.
I suppose the left is all for nationalizing the oil industry, after they empty the reserves so the price can be reduced five cents a gallon.
This president has done more to advance the cause of alternative fuels than any other president has ever done but liberals can not give credit where it's due.
And he deserves the credit.
Bushs failure to get something done regarding drilling in Anwar when he first came into office has resulted in this mess. He allowed the Democrats to play him like a fiddle and we are reaping the rewords for it.
I wish he had half the cojones with domestic issues as he has with foreign policy.
Other than a temporary tax cut, he has been a miserable failure on the home front.
Really? Where's the strategic energy policy?
One misstep and we are looking at an economic disaster in this country. There is no buffer. That's not leadership.
can you name one president who broke a filibuster especially in a 50-50 senate that we had in 2001.
Bush cannot (politically) afford to just throw up his hands and do nothing, even if practically speaking there is little he can do in the short term. The longer he goes out and keeps making statements like this, the more he starts to resemble Jimmy Carter in that dang sweater....and we all KNOW what the Gipper did to Mr. Peanut with THAT imagery!
Nor can the GOP afford to just run a better witch hunt against the oil industry than the Dems can. Now is the time to stick it to them. Things that should be done starting tomorrow:
- push ANWR again...HARD! NOW! Makes obstructionists pay a price for past failures
- Push for relaxed regs on new refinery construction, NOW!
- Suspend ALL custom clean-air fuel blend requirements for the rest of the summer (and possibly forever)
- Push hard for streamlined approval of new nuke plants
I you cannot make your opponents feel the heat at $3 a gallon (especially when you are on the right side of the free market) then you have no business being in politics.
The only people leading the charge on energy is the environmentalists and they would like to policy us back to the stone age.
We have just been handed a giftwrapped campaign issue for 2006 and 2008 both. Even people who don't pay attention to the news, pay attention when they fill up their gas tank at $3 or $4 a gallon.
We need to put the spotlight on this and shout it to the heavens. We have billions of oil offshore we can't drill. We have entire gas fields off limits, we haven't built a refinery in decades, we haven't built a nuke in decades, we're forced to build LNG plants in Mexico, we can't even build wind farms without going through a storm of criticism.
At every step of the way, it is the Democratic Party and their proxies and their minions who are making it impossible for us to do anthing other than import oil from OPEC. Any solution that isn't OPEC, believe it or not, or 30 years in the future, they oppose. They oppose pipelines, gas fired plants, you name it, they want to stop it or shut it down.
That should be our campaign issue. We're suicidal if we don't attack on this issue.
For Antoine Brunet, chief strategist at the bank HSBC CCF, the world's most powerful nations will in effect remain powerless in the face of oil shocks until they act to reduce their consumption and rein in speculation.
"Eighty billion dollars in speculative funds are invested in oil," he said. "It's clear that if they weren't there oil would be cheaper."
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