Bachmann on Gas

Reporters love numbers – remember Tim Pawlenty’s 5% GDP growth pledge?* – and they love Michele Bachmann’s pledge to bring gas prices back down to where they were on Barack Obama’s inauguration day. David Eldridge reports on her plan:

“Part of the problem as well is under the president’s policies of quantitative easing, we’ve seen a reduction in the value of the dollar. Well, OPEC hasn’t missed that! That’s part of the reason why they’ve increased prices, because the American dollar is worth less today than it was the day that Barack Obama took office. These problems are imminently solvable. We just lack someone with the political will to solve them. I have that will and I have that backbone and that courage to do what we have to do to turn the economy around,” she said.
Asked if she were afraid to make such a bold campaign promise, the Minnesota congresswoman said “not at all.”
“We have the supply. That’s the good news. We have the resouces. The problem has been that we have not been willing to access those resources. So if we increase supply obviously we’ll be able to be a provider. We can be our own best customer and we can be a supplier to the world if we just choose to be,” she said.
Conveniently, gas prices will fall to lower levels if we do the stuff Bachmann already wanted us to do. A word about that “gas prices were $1.79 a gallon when Obama took office” line, though. It’s irresistable, and it’s a factor in every Republican attack on Obama (gas prices have gone up 100%, etc). It’s also misleading, because gas prices in January 2009 had been driven to unnatural lows due to collapsing demand, because of the recession. Screen shot 2011-08-19 at 1.51.38 PM Bryan Walsh has a lot more on this, but the gist is that Bachmann has a point about the effect of quantitative easing, and less of a point about how opening up more drilling would solve the problem overnight. But she doesn’t need to have a point! Voters remember that gas used to be cheaper. They know that there’s oil and natural gas we’re not tapping. Bachmann has plenty of room here, and she never has to face reality on her “gas below $2” promise, because Republicans don’t expect her to be president.
*Tim Pawlenty was a former governor of Minnesota who ran for president this year.