It's so nice to see Republicans shilling for big oil and insisting that trying to move to other forms of energy is "ridiculous" but that's what we got from the head of the RNC, Reince Priebus, on Face the Nation this Sunday. And of course Priebus also trotted out the Republicans' "big lie" that Obama wants higher gas prices.
The claim that Obama consciously tried to hike the price of gas isn’t a new one. Last month, Mitch Daniels said the president “wanted higher gas prices, and he got them.” And earlier this month, a Fox News reporter was widely mocked, including by the president himself, for asking if Obama yearned for high has prices.
The Washington Post looked into the allegation (which, it’s worth noting, makes no sense whatsoever), and found that “the president never said he wanted the cost of gasoline to rise.”
What’s new, and immensely dispiriting, is that Romney — who, if nothing else, understands how the economy works — chose to pick up the mantle. The problem for him is he can’t very well acknowledge where the blame truly lies without eroding his support. If Romney calls out the oil speculators, he risks being labeled anti-capitalist, and if suggests ratcheting down the talk of attacking Iran, he will be labeled anti-Semitic.
The Washington Post also took on one of Priebus' other lies during this interview, which is that the building the Keystone pipeline will somehow lower the price of gas as well -- Will the Keystone XL pipeline lower gasoline prices?.
And Think Progress has more on Priebus' claim that the Keystone pipeline would create 20,000 jobs -- Myth That Keystone XL Creates Jobs Perpetuated By Oil Lobby, Parroted By Congress’s Oil Recipients:
Project advocates, who include Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, misrepresent its economic benefits to favor the oil industry, throwing out claims that Keystone XL creates “tens of thousands of jobs.”
However, studies conducted independently of TransCanada find much smaller jobs numbers, far from “tens of thousands.” An oil contractor hired by the State Department reported it would create between 5,000 and 6,000 temporary jobs, while an independent study by Cornell University found it would create only 500 to 1,400 temporary jobs. Once the costs of the increased pollution and risk of oil spills is factored in, Cornell found, the jobs impact is likely to be negative. The “118,000 spin-off jobs” number used by TransCanada received two Pinocchios from the Washington Post Fact Checker.
I'm also not sure how building a pipeline for Canadian oil which will end up on the world oil market would "get us a step closer to energy independence" but Schieffer let Priebus get away with that one as well. Schieffer for his part did at least challenge Priebus on the fact that Republicans were the ones that actually killed the pipeline by rushing the approval date, but after Priebus lied in response he didn't challenge him and just moved on to the next topic. But that's par for the course with these Sunday shows where Republicans are regularly allowed to lie with impunity and are seldom taken to task for it, with Schieffer being one of the worst offenders.
Transcript below the fold.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Mister Axelrod, we thank you for that and Mister Priebus is right here. And today is his birthday. So we want to wish you a happy birthday before the--
PRIEBUS (Republican National Committee Chairman): Thank you, Bob. I think David's-- I think David's living in a permanent fun house mirror myself, but Anyway, go ahead, Bob.
PRIEBUS: Well, I mean he's-- he's defending a President, I mean, initially you talked about gas prices. He's defending a President that had-- gas prices were a dollar eighty-five a gallon when he took over. And we have got-- and-- and-- and then he defends the President's position. When the President's own energy czar said-- and this is undisputed-- that he wanted gas prices to go to European levels.
SCHIEFFER: When did he say that?
PRIEBUS: So that we could all be forced. It was-- and about years ago. So that we could be forced to drive, you know battery-operated cars and scooters around. So-- now he's back pedaled on that statement. But very quickly, the Obama administration is finding itself in a whole lot of trouble because once again we've got a President who says one thing and then he does another. So in any event, I think that when it comes to gas prices, this President has taken our country completely backwards. And this idea that David Axelrod is spinning that now we've got record production. We've got record production because of the actions of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton years ago because it takes time. Well, this President shut down on-shore drilling. He shut down off-shore drilling. He shut down Keystone. And so now we're sitting in a place where we're no better off today than where we were three years ago. And we've got a President that's now coming back on the campaign trail again talking about an "all of the above" energy policy.
SCHIEFFER: Well, what about--
PRIEBUS: Well, that's-- that's ridiculous.
SCHIEFFER: What about Mister Axelrod's assertion that it's your fault that the Keystone thing got killed because you tried to force an early decision.
PRIEBUS: Well, I think myself and everyone in the studio chuckled all about at the same time when he said that. Look, the Republicans have been in favor of this Keystone pipeline, twenty thousand jobs. You know, if there was ever such a thing as shovel ready projects here was one of them. Plus, it would get us a step closer to energy independence. It wouldn't be the whole-- the whole deal. But it's a step closer. And this President has shut down everything when it comes to energy independence in this country. We're sitting on a wealth of energy to get us to a place where we don't have four- and five-dollar gas. This President isn't there. And he's talking out of both sides of his mouth.