Rising Gas Prices and Obama's Failure to Lead

A disturbing pattern has emerged during Barack Obama’s first term as president.

At the times when our nation most needs presidential leadership, Barack Obama chooses to let others take the lead.

We saw this pattern begin in the early stages of his administration.  The country was beginning to slide into a deep recession, and bold action was needed quickly to turn the tide.  However, rather than develop an aggressive plan on his own and fight for its passage in Congress, the new president opted instead to allow Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to design the plan.  The result was the $787 billion stimulus boondoggle.

Then same thing happened with the president’s health care plan.  Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were given power to design the plan, resulting in the president placing himself in the odd position where he had to defend the individual mandate despite the fact he campaigned against it in the 2008 Democratic primary.

During the Gulf oil spill, the president took too long to respond and then, according to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, awkwardly decided to focus his energy on making sure that food stamps were still being adequately distributed, rather than using his status as Chief Executive to clear bureaucratic roadblocks to effectively responding to the disaster.

And as discussed in this newsletter two weeks ago, after promising in his State of the Union address to take the lead on returning to a balanced budget, the president submitted a budget that utterly fails to cut spending in any significant way, leaving it up to Congress to do what needs to be done.

This pattern of abdicating leadership (which the Associated Press hilariously describes as being “above the fray”) is not limited to domestic politics.  

In the past few days, we have seen the consequences of President Obama’s willingness to let other countries take the lead in responding to global events.  As the Gadhafi dictatorship in Libya massacres its own people from above, the president has opted to let France try and lead the world in imposing a no-fly zone. 

As Michael Barone points out in this column, the president’s tepid half measures in response to the situation in Libya may have resulted in a worst-of-both-worlds situation.  Gadhafi may have determined his best option to escape justice is to respond violently to the uprising in his country.  Now, his forces are regaining ground daily while the world dithers. 

The President of the United States, and by extension, America, used to be known as the leader of the free world.  Does President Obama believe that title should still apply? 

Is President Obama acting as Commander in Chief? Or Observer in Chief? 

Relying On Other Countries to Solve Domestic Challenges

As disturbing as it has been to watch this president rely on other world leaders to take the lead in responding to global events, it is even worse to watch him rely on other countries to fix America’s problems.

During the president’s press conference Friday on rising energy costs, he sought to assure the American people that gas prices would not rise too much because other oil producing countries have “committed to filling any gaps” in supply.

This isn’t the first time the administration has said this.  In February, the Deputy Secretary of Energy said he hoped “spare capacity” in other countries “will be brought to bear so that it will continue to support our economic recovery.” 

Since President Obama took office, gas prices have increased over 90 percent. 

After presiding over this enormous rise in prices that are putting a greater and greater strain on family budgets, imagine the naiveté of hoping OPEC and other hostile and unstable countries will “continue to support our economic recovery.”  

Top 3 Energy Myths in Obama’s Press Conference

The fact is that since taking office, the Obama administration has conducted a war on American energy that has killed jobs and increased gas prices.

The House Natural Resources Committee has a useful list of all the hostile actions the adminstration has taken, including trying to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant through the EPA and the drilling moratorium and roadblocks in the Gulf.

Thanks to the moratorium and the lack of permits once the moratorium was lifted, seven of the thirty deepwater oil rigs that were in the Gulf of Mexico have moved or are moving to other markets

Even former Democratic President Clinton has slammed the Obama administration’s “ridiculous delays” for offshore energy production.

Nevertheless, President Obama tried to create a smokescreen at his press conference on Friday to obscure the facts about his war on American energy. 

He reiterated three commonly repeated myths that anti-energy radicals use to block domestic oil production. 

Steve Everley at American Solutions does a great job dissecting these myths here.  In short, they are:

1.    The US has only 2% of the world’s oil.  This number only includes proven reserves where we are already drilling.  It does not include where U.S. law currently forbids drilling, such as the 10 billion barrels in ANWR, 86 billion barrels in the Outer Continental Shelf, and 800 billion barrels of oil shale in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado.

2.    The oil industry has millions of leases where they aren’t producing a thing so we should impose fees on unused land.  These leases are for drilling and exploration.  Common sense tells us that oil is not distributed evenly across the globe.  You need to first look for the oil before you can drill, and much of the leased land will never produce oil.  Furthermore, much of the delay in the exploration and drilling process is imposed by government regulations.  So the idea of government imposing fees on companies for failing to produce oil when it is government rules themselves that are partly responsible for the delay is outrageous. 

3.    Last year oil production reached its highest level in 7 years.  This increased production is not due to the actions of the Obama administration, but in spite of it.  Most of this new production is occurring on private land in the Dakotas, and the rest is due to the actions of previous administrations.  In fact, the Energy Information Administration predicts a decline in domestic oil production during 2011 of 220,000 barrels a day and a drop-off of 150 million barrels in the Gulf of Mexico during 2012.  All because of the president’s policies.

Return of Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less

During the summer of 2008, when gas prices were over $4 per gallon, American Solutions launched the Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less campaign.

Over 1.5 million Americans signed our petition to lift the drilling ban on domestic energy, which resulted in the lifting of the offshore drilling ban, an action by a Democratic Congress that just months earlier was thought impossible. 

Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s war against American energy has blocked America’s energy companies from taking advantage of the lifting of this ban thanks to a campaign of stalling and bureaucratic obstruction.  In fact, in December of last year, President Obama actually re-imposed the same sort of drilling ban that contributed to skyrocketing gasoline prices in 2008.

As we see gas prices inching higher again, we think it is time for the return of Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less to fight the Obama administration’s war against American energy.

That’s why we’re re-launching Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less with a brand new website.

Please visit, sign the petition, and tell your friends, family, and co-workers about our effort.

The new website also has a number of tools to help our nation to drill here and drill now. You will be able to use the website to get key facts and information about the importance of domestic drilling, contact your Congressman and Senators, write a letter to your local paper, and get a “Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less.” bumper sticker for your car.

Your support will help us put the pressure on Congress and the Obama Administration so that we can open up more domestic drilling. This will result in lower gas prices and less reliance on foreign dictators. You can join us by signing the petition at

 Your friend,


Newt’s Quick Links

•    The Americano launches the Hispanic Blog Network with experts and leaders from the U.S. and around the world. Make sure to check it out at

•    Noah Kristula-Green gives the American Solutions Jobs First Plan high marks at Frum Forum.

•    In his piece on Renewing American Leadership, Paul Kengor discusses the importance of religion in President Reagan’s life.  Click here.

•    At ReAL Action, David Bukay discusses The Future of Egypt and the Region. Hear the podcast here.