By M. Ulric Killion
Photo Source: By Gene J. Puskar, AP, This Feb. 27, 2012, photo of a sign for gas prices at a Pittsburgh Exxon mini-mart; “Oil trader Stephen Schork said the current price of oil reflects investors' fear of military conflict,”by Pablo Gorondi, Gas prices up for 27 straight days to $3.77 for regular, March 5, 2012, AP. See also “Newt Gingrich, candidate for the Republican nomination for president and former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, wants you to give him the power of the pump. As several hundred people crowded into the ballroom at the Airport Hilton on Monday to hear him speak, Gingrich elaborated on his campaign promise to bring the price of gasoline down to $2.50 per gallon if he’s elected president,” by Joel Davis, Gingrich promises $2.50 gasoline, The Daily Times, March 5, 2012.
On several occasions, I have both written articles and posted articles from other sources that addressed the “economic doom message” of the Republican (GOP) forerunners. Most Americans by now are well aware that their earlier “economic doom message” directly descends from the need and search for campaign issues.
Initially, though they are starting to do so now (i.e., as one source notes, “the Republican candidates (Ron Paul excepted) are all but swearing they will launch a war on Iran if elected.”), the GOP forerunners did not challenge President Obama’s foreign policy, which was due to his high approval ratings in the area of foreign policy.
They elected instead to focus on exploring domestic or social issues. A problem, however, is that when doing so, they would routinely find themselves demonstrating an inherent proclivity to stand on the wrong side of the beliefs of most Americans.
Granted, there are exceptions to the rule (i.e., as some polls indicate, some GOP women voters actually share some of their extreme beliefs). Nonetheless, overall, that is, as pertains to most Americans, their campaign issues (i.e., social issues such as entitlements, Medicare, social security, abortion, contraception, women’s rights, war on religion, gay rights, now potentially domestic violence, etc.) challenge the beliefs of most Americans or the average American citizen.
The “economic doom message” was especially interesting. This is because, in the face of an upward moving economy, their “economic doom message” begins to take on a life on its own.
For many Americans, in the face of an improving economy, those hailing the “economic doom message” began more and more to appear as though they were actually rooting against economic recovery. A situation only made worse when it became clearer that they were doing so simply for the sake of winning –the GOP-“ugly winning!
It is a scenario most apparent in Mitt Romney’s campaign strategy. Romney is exhibiting an obvious strategy or ruthlessness that most Americans are increasingly associating with the namesake –“ugly winning.”
This also brings to mind an article recently written by Phillip Klein (Senior Editorial Writer at the Washington Post), which is entitled, “GOP shouldn't pin hopes on gas prices staying high,” What is important about his article is that it serves as a reminder of the GOP primary race, which for most of us has become more of a circus than a race with its many twists, turns, and extremisms (i.e., extreme beliefs and extreme tunnel-vision).
The title of Klein’s short article speaks for itself, while also, though perhaps unintentionally, speaks to what we as Americans are having to endure, which is a display of the most ruthless and cunning politics in the history of American politics. An Australian newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald, when earlier in February describing a contested-election for the office of Australia’s prime minister between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, compared the February election in Australia to the U.S. Republican Party primary and its “bloodletting.”
The point of Klein’s short article is that he impliedly reminds us of the “GOP-ugly winning” and “bloodletting;” both of which imply ruthlessness and cunning. This is because Klein addressed the GOP’s new domestic issue of prices at the pump.
In other words, the GOP forerunners are now forecasting an oil price doom, or even perhaps a “gas prices at the pump doom.” The new doom message, which is the “0il price doom message” (or the “gas prices at the pump doom”), like their earlier “economic doom message,” is shocking and incredulous.
As for why their new doom message is shocking and incredulous, the fact that a U.S. president cannot set oil prices notwithstanding, the following articles will explain why this is so, and directly addresses the issues of the U.S. presidency and oil prices, which are the blog postings here, here, here, and here.
Finally, and getting back to Klein’s short article, his writing sends a clear message to Republicans and GOP forerunners, and impliedly their now dynamic “doom messages.” In this respect, his article is revealing, because many, while hearing their new “economic doom message,” might fail to recognize the similarities between their earlier “economic doom message” and now their new “gas prices at the pump doom message.”
The only difference between the GOP forerunners is that some lay the new economic doom message down hard (i.e., directly by Gingrich and his lower price of $2.50/gallon), while others lay it down softly (i.e., indirectly by Mitt Romney).
Moreover, the scenario of the new economic doom message, like the earlier one, still sadly presents a Republic Party’s calculus for success that actually premises upon the doom of the economy, and now a doom on the price of gasoline. As earlier stated, one of the few consistent themes of the GOP forerunners is the woes of a struggling economy–“original” ruthlessness and cunning, or simply, “ugly winning”!
Finally, the article by Phillip Klein follows.
“GOP shouldn't pin hopes on gas prices staying high”
By Phillip Klein, March 13, 2012 --
Conventional wisdom holding that President Obama’s approval ratings were recovering and he was on track for a smooth reelection suffered a blow yesterday with the release of two new polls. First, the Washington Post/ABC survey found his ratings reversing – to 46 percent approval and 50 percent disapproval, from 50 percent approval and 46 percent disapproval a month ago. Then, the New York Times/CBS poll came out showing Obama’s approval rating sinking to 41 percent (an all-time-low in the survey), with disapproval jumping to 47 percent. Last month, the poll found him with a 50 percent approval rating and an 43 disapproval rating. Both polls found that even with overall economic prospects slowly improving, Americans are increasingly unhappy with rising gas prices, and they’re holding Obama responsible. Though this news provides some comfort to Republicans who had been worried about Obama’s improved reelection chances, they shouldn’t pin their hopes on the idea of gas prices remaining high up through the fall.
To be clear, I’m not attempting to predict where gas prices will be this October, when voters begin to solidify their opinions about the state of the country before the election. My only point is that gas prices are highly volatile and it’s often hard to differentiate short-term fluctuations from long-term trends. And even when there is an upward trend, there could be shorter-term dips along the way. Gas prices soared in the spring and summer of 2008, eventually exceeding over $4 a gallon, and it promised to be a major issue in that year’s election. Who can forget the chants of “Drill Baby Drill!” at the Republican National Convention? But by the time Election Day arrived, oil prices were taking a nosedive as the global economy crashed and pushed down demand, and the issue turned out to be a non-factor.
Obviously, there are plenty of reasons, such as instability in the Middle East, to expect that oil prices will continue to rise throughout the year. And any dip in oil prices from a collapsing economy would clearly not be good news for Obama, either. But the point is that oil prices are highly unpredictable, so it would be unwise for Republicans to assume they’ll continue to drag down Obama’s ratings. Any political analysts who think they can say for sure what gas will cost in seven months should quit their jobs and go into commodities trading.
See also The Republican Conundrum
All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.