Spiking Obama on High Gas Prices

Ben Smith [has a story this morning](http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/56297.html) about Americans for Prosperity's first whack at Obama on gas prices. This is Obama's most vulnerable flank as 2012 approaches, and the more the right can pound into people's heads that the president is responsible for high gas prices, the better off their candidates will be.

AFP is arguing that Obama could salve gas pump pain by increasing opportunities for domestic drilling. That's an old tactic: Republicans in D.C. have been using it for months. But elsewhere in *Politico*, **Haley Barbour** presents [the more insidious version of AFP's argument](http://www.politico.com/blogs/politicolive/0611/Haley_Barbour_Obama_tryi...): it's not just that Obama could do more to lower gas prices, but that he wants them to be high. In fact, he loves high gas prices.

In this version of the story, Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Obama's hippie friend from Berkeley, prize alternative energy so much, they want to see it succeed, whatever the cost to American households. Gas is expensive, because they don't want you to use energy, see? They care the environment more than about hard-working Americans.

What's dangerous about this spin is that it has a grain of truth in it: Obama and Chu have supported alternative energy projects, which are gaining traction as other sources of energy become more expensive. Obviously, they're not keeping gas prices high on purpose. But the more people who give that idea even the tiniest bit of credence, the better off Republicans will be.