CHARLOTTE, March 20, 2012 – While Barry “the Lone Ranger” Obama and Joe “Tonto” Biden are looking for silver bullets, the American public is being bombarded by a frontal assault at the gas pump. There’s plenty of blame to go around, and there is probably a tiny bit of truth in most of the reasons given for the high prices.
But the question is “Do we really care who is responsible for the current pain at the pump?” What we need is a doctor, not an analysis of the symptoms or a band-aid that temporarily hides the abrasion.
There are plenty of excuses: speculators, Iran, the Keystone pipeline, lack of alternate energy sources and on and on depending upon which talking point you listen to on any given day. But even if it were possible to pinpoint the blame on a single person or entity, would it honestly make you feel better as you pump your gas? Furthermore, could you do anything about it?
We live in the present tense. It’s a moment-to-moment world. What is important to us today is old news tomorrow. Basketball fans get all excited about first round upsets in the NCAA basketball tournament, but the chatter only lasts a few hours until the next round. By the time the Final Four rolls around, those early surprises are long forgotten with the speculation now focusing on who will be the national champion. Then, amazing as it may sound, more often than not, the winning team is one of the top seeds. Basically, what it boils down to is being little more than something to talk about for three weeks.
Politicians have been talking about energy for decades. In fact, it seems as though that’s all they are doing….talking. Gas prices have been cyclical for as long as we can remember. We reached $4 a gallon under George Bush, and we are nearing that price once more under Barack Obama. Every time the cost of a barrel of oil goes up, the talking, or squawking, starts all over again.
The hand-wringing begins. The media looks for someone to blame. The politicians point fingers. Then one day the prices drop and, suddenly, all is forgotten, just like those Cinderella teams in the NCAA tournament.
We have such short memories. When the oil prices go down, for some reason we stop talking. Life is good once again, and we all live under the delusion that they won’t rise again. Wrong.
Speculators will continue to speculate.
Stability in the Middle East is a relative concept. There is no such thing as a “stable” Middle East, only periods when that region is less volatile than others.
Discussing an elaborate oil conduit from Canada is more like watching the Keystone Cops than opening the Keystone pipeline.
The president claims there are too many variables to the problem to solve it. He says “there is no quick fix.” With all due respect, Mr. President most people are not seeking that so-called “silver bullet” of yours. At the very least, what they want is for Barack Obama to demonstrate that he actually is trying to do something about the situation.
We could care less about state dinners and the wine that is served. Even non-basketball fans fill out NCAA brackets, and all that matters to them are their own, not the president’s. We know there is an unlimited supply of wind and infinite rays of the sun and who knows how much algae we can grow, but none of those solutions are viable today.
So while Mr. Obama may not control all the factors affecting the price of oil, what he can do is let the American people see that he is working on potential answers. Even if there are no “quick fixes” now, the “fixes” that could have made a difference were long-range solutions ten, twenty or thirty years ago.
Given American ingenuity and technology, had we started two or three decades ago, those “fixes” would be in place today.
In the end, it doesn’t matter who is to blame. What that amounts to is a lot of idle chatter while dollar signs go up at the pump. Mr. Obama is an expert at talking. Pundits are paid to talk. The difference is that media cannot affect change while the president does have the power to seek out solutions.
It’s time for the president to throw the teleprompter away, stop talking, start acting and leave the chatter for others.
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