In 1999, Candidate Bush Attacked Dems on Gas Price at $1.64, Demanded Clinton ‘Jawbone’ OPEC – But Now as Price Heads to $4 Bush Does Nothing

Flashback — CNN, June 23, 2000:
Bush was critical of Al Gore in the 2000 campaign for being part of “the administration that’s been in charge” while the “price of gasoline has gone steadily upward.”

Gas prices have soared this week to a national average of $1.64 a gallon, and to well over $2 a gallon in the Chicago and Milwaukee area, setting off a frenzy of finger-pointing involving the Clinton administration, Congress, oil companies and refineries, and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

In 2000, the Republicans used the spike to $1.64 as a campaign issue to bash the Clinton administration and Democratic candidates in the election that year, especially Al Gore:

In June 2000, Republican politicians urged President Bill Clinton to fire his energy secretary, Bill Richardson. Richardson, Michigan Sen. Rod Grams explained, was presiding over an “energy disgrace.” Clinton, many conservative commentators urged, should be raked over hot coals for vetoing congressional measures that would have opened up much of the Alaskan wilderness to oil drilling.

Meanwhile anti-tax think tanks such as the rightwing Heritage Foundation, rushed into print with reports advocating massive rollbacks of federal and state gasoline taxes and clean air standards for gasoline. Finally, anti-environmentalists jumped into the fray, lambasting Vice President Al Gore for implicitly condoning an OPEC supply squeeze that would drive up oil prices and thus, the conspiracy theory went, force Americans to drive less — which Gore, with his wacky ideas about global warming, was apparently salivating at the mouth about.

And:

In the 12 months from June 1999 to June 2000, as oil prices on the world market climbed to a shocking $34 a barrel, at-the-pump prices had jumped by over 40 percent, averaging a hard-to-fathom $1.71 a gallon by mid-2000, according to the Heritage Foundation. Even more disturbing, in some parts of the United States gas prices were over $2 a gallon. A concerted message went out: Democrats, in hock to extreme environmentalists, were manipulating the oil market to bash small-town Americans where it hurt most — their pockets. You want low gas prices for your big SUVs? Well, you know who to vote for come November. Classic slash and burn politics…

In 2000, George Bush, the failed oilman, quickly piled on in the criticism of Gore and the Clinton administration, as CBS News pointed out in 2004:

Mr. Bush was critical of Al Gore in the 2000 campaign for being part of “the administration that’s been in charge” while the “price of gasoline has gone steadily upward.” In December 1999, in the first Republican primary debate, Mr. Bush said President Clinton “must jawbone OPEC members to lower prices.”

As gas topped a record level of $50 a barrel this week [Sept. 28, 2004], Mr. Bush has shown no propensity to personally pressure, or “jawbone,” Mideast oil producers to increase output.

A spokesman for the president reportedly said in March that Mr. Bush will not personally lobby oil cartel leaders to change their minds.

Which brings us to the standard Bush conundrum. Is this gouging intentional, or is it merely rank incompetence? Instinct says it is the former, but we may never know:

Seven years of GOP-rule and a half-decade of Middle Eastern wars later, oil prices are about to hit $100 a barrel. In real terms, Americans are now paying as much or more for gas today as they were during the worst days of the oil-supply crunch after the Iranian revolution. And in many parts of America, especially rural areas far from distribution pipelines, consumers are facing the imminent prospect of the $4 gallon.

Which leads to the Democratic conundrum. While Republicans in 2000 went after the Democrats by simply making stuff up, Democrat candidates in 2008 — who have reality on their side — have yet to tie these high prices around the necks of George Bush and his GOP enablers.

7 Comments

  • March 11, 2008 - 3:20 am | Permalink

    AND THE DAM SON OF A BITCH WON’T!!!!! -FOR HIM AND CHENY WANT IT TO GO AS HIGH AS POSSIBLE IT IS GOOD FOR THEIR COMPANYS!!!!–ALL THE BASTARDS CAN DO IS PUT CLINTONS DOWN!!!!–BUT AT LEAST WHEN CLINTON WAS IN THE GAS WAS NOT THIS HIGH!! WE HAD 22 MILLION PEOPLE WORKING WITH A BALANCED BUDGET AND SURPLUS OF MONEY!!! NOW COMPARE TO THIS BASTARD!!! GAS GOING TO 5.00 A GAL TRILLIONS IN DEBT–LAYING 22 MILLION PEOPLE OFF–GAVE TO SURPLUS TO HIS RICH CRONIE BASTARDS and WHAT ELSE!!!–HAS TOLD SO MANY LIES TO EVERYONE but HAS HE BEEN IMPEACHED FOR LYING LIKE CLINTON!!! AT LEAST CLINTONS DICK DID NOT HURT US BUT BUSH BASTARD’S ASS IS KILLING US—WHY NOT IMPEACH THIS BASTARD AND JAIL HIM AND CHENY AND ROVE AND LIBBY AND CONDI for that IS WHERE THEY NEED TO BE!!!!!!

  • charles jerod
    March 15, 2008 - 8:48 am | Permalink

    Oh Grow up

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