Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Week in Gas ...

Everybody is hyped over the obvious decrease in prices at the pump. It's so dramatic, it makes many want to scrap that half-mile walk to the grocery store (which is what we all need, anyway) and opt to burn noxious fumes into precious air. On this point, we tend to agree with blogger Andrew Sullivan quoted here in ABC News:

Writing in April on record-level gas prices, Sullivan called them "one of the best things to happen in the long time." Taxes, he hoped, could raise them further still, because "only higher oil prices will actually jump-start the new, greener technologies we all say we want (and our planet desperately needs)."

But, that argument can come off a bit too middle-class considering the millions of Americans forced to make choices between food on the table and a few dollars in the gas tank to make that drive to a low paying gig that barely meets rent.

That all said, we watch closely the correlation between these drastic reductions at the pump and fluctuations in the political polls. Interesting how suddenly the Bush Administration's poll numbers rise a few percentage points as the prices go down. Congressional races seem to tighten, too, as trends are starting to favor Republicans. A sign, maybe, of an uninformed electorate convinced that Bush and the GOP have somehow found the magic energy crisis antidote? That's a curious thought considering gas prices traditionally fall after the summer anyway ...

For the record, this blog has been skeptical all along of the headline assumption that Democrats would sweep back into power come November. We were saying that for quite some time while everybody else ate the hype. Suddenly, the pundits - as early as this Sunday - are talking "trends favoring Republicans." Somewhere along the line, the Administration machine would find a way to distract voters from bread-on-the-table issues and put a terrifying spotlight back on "enemies of the state." Lower gas prices bring that strategy full circle. Perfect timing. The madness continues.