I hope there's no one out there actually rooting for higher fuel prices, but it seems clear that President Obama's political fate will probably be tied to the cost of a gallon of gas on election day.
The Energy Information Administration said Monday that gas prices climbed last week to $3.88 a gallon, up 81 cents since the start of the year. That is the highest pump price since August 2008, before the financial meltdown.
Evidence of motorists' hardships is littering the roads. AAA says the number of motorists running out of gas has been surging. John Townsend, a spokesman for the automobile association, said that cash-strapped members "are pushing the envelope" and that emergency gas deliveries to stranded members jumped nationwide, including by 40 percent in the District.
That sort of hardship could slow Obama's reelection campaign. The Post-ABC poll shows that 60 percent of independents who say they've been hit hard by surging gas prices also say they definitely won't support Obama in his bid for reelection.
People aren't blind to the effects of higher energy costs either. They know their home heating and cooling bills will go up, that food is particularly sensitive to rapidly rising gasoline costs, and that they have less money to spend on quality of life things like vacations. This leads to unhappiness and a desire to take it out on the guy in charge.
This is why Obama has gone on the offensive against oil companies and "speculators." The only thing he can do is try and shift blame for a situation caused by his own miserable energy policies.