Dems nervous about high gas prices
That makes two of us. But where you and I might be nervous about the effects on our pocketbooks, the Democrats are nervous that voters, who have witnessed President Obama's continuous refusals to expand domestic production, might blame their party for the spike in prices.
Congressional Democrats are ramping up pressure on President Obama to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to prevent rising gas prices from threatening the economy and their election-year prospects.
They are growing anxious that the price of fuel could reverse their political fortunes, which had been improving due to signs of growth in the economy.
Republicans have hammered Democrats on the price spike, repeatedly noting that gas prices -- now at $3.72 per gallon for regular -- have doubled since Obama won the White House.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday blamed Obama and "radical environmental groups" for fuel prices and said it was "about damn time" the nation developed a comprehensive energy policy.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said the price increase "isn't simply the result of forces we can't control. It is to a large extent the result of a vision that this president laid out even before he was elected to office."
Democrats argue the price surge reflects the gathering strength of the economy, which has boosted demand for fuel. Still, they worry the issue could become a liability in the fall.
Senior Democratic lawmakers and vulnerable incumbents want Obama to consider releasing tens of millions of barrels of oil stored in the SPR's special salt caverns along the Gulf Coast.
Using the SPR for purely political purposes is a novel approach to the idea of national security - which is what the SPR is there for in the first place. It is not a spigot to be tapped to save the jobs of Democrats - or Republicans for that matter.
Besides, if Israel attacks Iran, the spike in oil prices might send the world into a depression. What does Obama tell citizens that there's nothing left in the SPR because he released the oil when gas was $4 a gallon? Americans looking at $8 a gallon gas might not take kindly to the president's shameless use of the SPR for political purposes.
This is a no brainer issue for Republicans - easy for the voter to understand and the blame for it is obvious. The higher the rise in gas prices, the more the issue will resonate.
And it won't matter which GOP candidate becomes the nominee.