COMMENTARY | Sometimes common sense and keeping up with current events can keep you from looking like you don't know what you're talking about. Not getting stuck on your political party's talking points helps too. Take Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus' nonsensical attempts to answer CNN anchor Candy Crowley's leading comments about an improving economy under President Barack Obama on "State Of The Union."
Priebus said "absolutely not" at Crowley's assertion the economy had improved since Obama took office. And when Crowley pressed, he said, "I think it's all relative. I think that people out there across the country that can't fill up the gas tank because gas is too expensive, they can't buy a full set of groceries, if you look at what's happening in Greece, in Europe, across the Atlantic Ocean."
To which Crowley interjected, "(Obama) can't help what's happening in Greece, can he?"
The answer is no, but that wouldn't sit well with the Republican Party's attempt to keep the "Obama the socialist" insinuation alive, not to mention allude to a darker America headed down the slippery slope of becoming more like the socialistic European Union.
But all of the talk on socialism and gas prices is misdirection. The U.S. isn't Greece nor is it the European Union. Greece is a bit player on the world stage, while the U.S. remains the world's economic driver. Given the various histories, cultures, economies and monetary systems, the comparison is a typical apples to oranges set-up.
Priebus' remark about Americans not being able to "fill up the gas tank because gas is too expensive" is indicative of someone unaware of falling gas prices. Since the GOP made gas prices a common interest talking point early in the primary season, prices peaked near the $4 mark in early April and have dropped since. According to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the average gallon of regular gasoline is $3.69, down almost 25 cents from their average high at the beginning of April.
Relatively speaking, the price of gas is far higher than when it dipped to $1.80 a gallon when Obama took office. Huge unemployment numbers and the housing collapse had caused a more frugal outlook with regard to transportation and demand for gasoline was down considerably.
Economists have noted higher average gas prices are a good sign of an increased demand for oil and the economy is doing well or improving. That would partially account for why the record high in June 2008, when they peaked at $4.26 under President George W. Bush, saw a precipitous drop when the second wave of the financial crisis hit.
So talking about falling gas prices and pointing to the problems of Europe might not be the best argument against the economic record of a president who inherited the Great Recession, a president who has seen slow but sure gains in the economy -- not to mention a slow but steady decrease in overall unemployment -- for two years.
Wonder how many Republicans would like to have Michael Steele back as chairman of the RNC?
- Politics & Government
- President Barack Obama
- Candy Crowley