Seeing $4.09 a gallon gas on the way home today, I wondered to myself “Dear Mr. President, do you want to get re-elected?”
I am not a Democrat, nor a Republican. I am not an ideologue, nor can I stand listening to the demagogues that pollute our airwaves. And, looking at the current crop of candidates remaining in the Republican primary field, I cannot see myself casting a general election vote for a single one of them.
However, driving home today and seeing gas at $4.09 a gallon, only a day after the Senate rejected fast-tracking the Keystone oil pipeline, makes me think the President has forgotten what it is like to be an ordinary American. (Several Senate members were directly lobbied by the President to vote against the pipeline.)
I am also not blind to the President’s environmental concerns. I worked for over a year in college canvassing five days a week as a grassroots activist fighting to renew and strengthen the Clean Water Act. I also understand the President’s desire to protect the Ogallala Aquifer, probably more strongly than those who depend on it for their very existence.
I understand that solar and wind power have to be our future and as the father of a son with asthma, understand that America’s dependence on the internal combustion engine brings significant risks to our air. I even understand our need for government support and investment in new energy projects, even when they fail as was the case with Solyndra. I understand the potential environmental consequences of drilling as we all saw with the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 or yesterday in the newspaper with the drilling induced earthquakes in Ohio.
However, there has to a short-term plan in place to keep production levels high and prices low. And encouraging domestic production and supporting projects like the Keystone pipeline will also help us avoid entanglements in parts of the world which only seek to make us the target of more hatred.
I drive a vehicle that gets 32 miles per gallon on the highway. But $4 a gallon gas puts a financial pressure on me and my family, and millions of other American families that we do not need. If the President cannot accept the Keystone proposal in its current form, then he needs to be holding daily meeting with Republicans to find a solution that both sides can live with.
It’s good that President Obama is looking out for the long-term, especially after so many years have passed with not enough action. However, there also need to be short-term solutions in place as the nation makes this difficult transition to help American families that are struggling today.