COMMENTARY | Rep. Michele Bachmann, while stumping in South Carolina Tuesday, stopped off in Greenville to touch base with some followers and hopefully convince a few that she is the GOP candidate that they should select when South Carolina’s primary rolls around next year. But she may have promised the crowd (and, by extension, everyone else interested in her politics) just a bit more than she could deliver as president. According to Politico, Bachmann said she would bring back $2 gas prices.
“Under President Bachmann you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again,” Bachmann said. “That will happen.”
But will it? “That will happen” sounds like a guarantee. Can a President Bachmann do something that no other president has been able to do — control gasoline prices? In order to do so, President Bachmann would also have to control crude oil prices, which are controlled by production and demand. She would then have to control the futures markets as well.
She noted in her speech that the price of gas when President Obama took office was $1.79 per gallon. She invited the audience to “look at what it is today.” The average price of gas is double what it was in early 2009.
But Obama took over during the height of the Great Recession, when businesses, government agencies, and citizens were all restricting their consumption of gas. Crude oil producers cut back on production, then dropped the price overall to entice more consumption. But after the recession ended, oil production went back to the more price-controllable produce-to-demand method of business.
Even when President Obama released some of the nation’s Emergency Petroleum Reserve, it was only a token gesture. It affected the price of gas at the pumps only minutely. In short, the President of the United States simply does not control the world’s market and can only affect prices on a minor scale.
But how would Bachmann do it? She mentioned shale oil developments, but failed to mention its expense and that traditional drilling methods were far cheaper. She is a known proponent of off-shore drilling but didn’t mention it, either. Besides, even a massive push to increase off-shore drilling would only increase oil production by half a million gallons of crude daily by 2030. At present, the U. S. already consumes almost 19 million barrels of oil daily. And with the rise of consumption of other nations like India and China, the competition for future production will most likely see prices continue to rise, not fall.
However, although not impossible, it is unlikely that gas prices will go back to $2, no matter who is president in 2013. They simply do not have that kind of influence over the world’s crude oil market.
Quick segue. Remember Judy Tenuta, the comedienne that became famous for her guttural whine and derisive jabs? The comic that referred to herself as “The Love Goddess” and wanted her audience to convert to “Judyism”? She had a schtick where she would say something positive, roll her eyes, and exasperatedly scoff in a nasal drone into the microphone, “Yeah. That’ll happen.”
Perhaps Bachmann’s statement would be better suited with Tenuta’s vocal mannerisms superimposed over the declarative line: “That will happen.”
After the latest Rasmussen Reports poll, Bachmann rally audiences might be hearing a few more promises like $2 gas — promises the Minnesota Congressman cannot (and may not intend to) keep. Texas governor Rick Perry, who announced his candidacy in South Carolina Saturday, topped the poll with 29 percent support from prospective Republican primary voters. Bachmann came in third with 13 percent (Mitt Romney was second with 18 percent).
But, then, Bachmann has to get the GOP nomination in order to contend in the national election.
Then she has to get elected president.
Yeah. That’ll happen.