Polman: Republicans’ propaganda on rising gas prices | Opinion

When I hear Republicans blaming President Biden for high gas prices, it reminds me of what scribe Mary McCarthy once said of her rival Lillian Hellman: “Every word she writes is a lie, including understood and and the.”

I wouldn’t go that far in condemning the Republicans for their current propaganda. But aside from those two little words, they have woven a panoply of lies that would make Putin envious.

Gas price propaganda — “Joe Biden caused this and doesn’t seem to care,” bleats the Republican National Committee — is to mislead voters ahead of November’s midterm elections, a trick designed to make the House and Senate red.

But it just might work like a charm, because for the average person, swallowing lies is much easier than checking facts. Moreover, it is always easier to attack the party in power. As Senator Angus King, an independent who caucus with Democrats, said the other day, “People historically automatically blame presidents for (high) gas prices.”

So, maybe it’s a waste of time for me to parse GOP BS, but hey, disproving lies is an old habit for me, regardless of whether a gullible voter might be reading this.

For example, Republicans on Capitol Hill are falsely claiming that the current gas price spike is entirely Biden’s fault for not letting oil companies do enough drilling. Senator Bill Cassidy said Biden had launched “an all-out assault on American oil development.” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise tweets that gas price spikes are “what happens when you destroy America’s energy industry.”

But the truth — for what it’s worth — is that the production of barrels of oil has actually increased since Biden became president, as has the number of oil rigs. There are also about 9,000 wells that have been approved by the federal government, but have not yet been drilled because the major oil companies, fed up with recent profits, have decided to return the money instead. to their shareholders.

It was the drillers — not Biden — who held back.

In truth, Biden has been so pro-oil that environmentalists and climate change experts have become demoralized. Contrary to the Republican lie that Biden killed home energy production, the truth is quite the opposite.

“Biden has done nothing to stop oil leasing. In fact, the Biden administration has overtaken Trump in issuing drilling permits on public land and water in its first year,” according to the data. federal data analyzed by the Center for Biological Diversity.

Here’s another metric: According to the conservation group Center for Western Priorities, the Biden administration approved more drilling permits in its first year in office than Trump in any of his first three.

My favorite Republican lie, however, is that the current gas price spike wouldn’t happen if only Biden hadn’t “killed” the Keystone XL pipeline that was supposed to bring crude oil from Canada.

Biden did indeed cancel it, but the pipeline never “worked” in the first place. By the time Biden canceled it, only 8% of it had been built — and the original target date for completion, barring delays and legal battles, would have been 2023 at the earliest. Also, we currently get a lot of Canadian crude oil anyway. He arrives by train.

But this is only nuance, while the Republicans are past masters in deceptive simplicity. As Joseph Goebbels sadly said, “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.” Indeed, Republicans are reportedly selling stickers that motorists can put on gas pumps, with Biden pointing and saying “I did this.”

Will their lies snow up enough voters to win in November?

I’ll answer that with a question: have you lived in America lately?

— Dick Polman is a Philadelphia-based national political columnist and writer-in-residence at the University of Pennsylvania.

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