Republicans have been owning the energy narrative the past few weeks—what with Newt Gingrich’s science-fiction-worthy calls for $2.50 a gallon gas and Rick Santorum’s pockets full of shale—but now the ball’s back in the White House’s court. President Obama has taken a new tack on energy to compensate for the fact that voters blame him for high gas prices, but the change in tone is likely to leave his base squirming. He’s currently on a whirlwind trip to spread the administration’s new gospel: that the southern leg of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline is "a priority” and that "we're drilling all over the place right now.”
In the end, more drilling is far from a panacea, as analysis of gas prices and domestic oil production shows, so Obama’s sudden love for Keystone and drilling sounds like pure electoral pandering. But the alternative—being his cool and responsible self and explaining the reality of gas prices—might suffer in execution although it sounds smart in theory. "Is there a lot that can be done in the short term that can have a huge impact? The answer to that is no," said William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. But, he continued, "I don't think a posture of simply saying that and being the voice of responsibility in a rising political clamor is going to serve the White House politically well." But by moving to the right on energy, Obama seems to be falling into the GOP’s trap. Republicans know the economy isn’t a winning issue for them anymore, and energy is one of the only cards they have left. Why play into conservatives’ hands by focusing on an issue he can’t win when Obama could be touting the improving economy and the other accomplishments of his administration?
So They Say
"I'm not only comfortable with Romney, I'm excited about the possibility of him possibly being our nominee."
—Senator Jim DeMint, effusively not endorsing Mitt Romney
Daily Meme: Fehrnstromentum
- Yikes, the Romney Etch A Sketch gaffe just won't go away.
- Politico had not one, not two, but SEVEN Etch A Sketch articles on their site today.
- The DNC didn't miss a beat, putting out a timely, toy-themed ad.
- Santorum and Gingrich each added a certain prop to their stump speeches and Santorum's campaign tweeted about it, just in case we didn't get the point.
- The Romney campaign deployed its secret weapon, Ann, to try and defray the situation.
- Turns out Etch A Sketch has its dark side, playing a part in the erosion of the American manufacturing base.
- Pundits are loving the metaphor.
- The Twitterverse blew up, of course
- Even the scandal starter himself joined in the fun.
- Don't worry, Etch A Sketch is capitalizing on all the free PR.
What We're Writing
- Jamelle Bouie says that despite what you've heard, independent voters are still a myth.
- Patrick Caldwell writes about Democrats' calls for Obama to add marriage equality to the 2012 party platform.
What We're Reading
- Bill Maher: "I don’t want to live in a country where no one ever says anything that offends anyone. That’s why we have Canada."
- Romney's Wisconsin message is in lock-step with Scott Walker's.
- Party rules might prevent Gingrich from even dreaming about his convention coup.
- Biden 2016?
- Ryan Lizza says that Romney's evangelical problem could be a bigger than we thought.
- Joe Trippi on Romney: “This is their year of the seven dwarfs. “He’s just the tallest dwarf.”
- John Edwards was back in the news today, denying something per usual.
- Karl Rove has serious beef with the new Obama campaign film.
- “In a perfect world, Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms would all be consolidated into one Freedom: Freedom from the bigness of government. And the Norman Rockwell painting depicting this Freedom would consist entirely of an earnest-looking citizen burning his Form 1040.”
Poll of the Day
Thirty-eight percent of Americans think there is too much talk of religion in politics—up from 29 percent in 2012—according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Fifty-five percent of Santorum voters, however, say there is too little religious expression by our political leaders; only 24 percent of Romney supporters feel the same way.