If You Don’t Sing Your Own Song, Who Will?

Analyzing gas prices isn’t usually my beat, but media messaging is. Is failure to talk about declining prices at the pump smart or self-defeating for Obama?

Politico Arena Asks:

Gas prices are expected to hit a two-year low this Memorial Day weekend, averaging around $3.66 a gallon, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Some energy analysts believe prices could continue to drop through the summer months. The falling prices take away a key piece of the GOP’s platform against President Obama – however, the White House has been relatively quiet about the price drop and a recent AP-GfK poll showed the majority of Americans still disapprove of Obama’s handling of gas prices.

Will the dropping gas prices help Obama’s reelection chances – and should the White House work harder to highlight the decrease?  Or will voters still be wary of Obama’s economic performance?

My Response:

People are quick to squawk when they feel the pinch in their pocketbooks, but rarely give credit when the pain goes away-unless leaders and/or media create a pervasive narrative about it.  Perhaps the Obama administration is refraining from crowing about the price drop because they anticipate a rise in price that would cause pre-election squawks next fall.

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Whatever the reason, it’s a mistake. They should tell a positive story and take the credit if they want falling gas prices to benefit his reelection.

1 Comment

  1. Aletha on May 31, 2012 at 1:20 am

    Obama may be circumspect because of the reasons gas prices are falling. The primary reason is that the eurozone is threatening to fall apart once again, which is pushing up the dollar and pushing down oil prices. I doubt Obama wants to call attention to the troubles in Europe, because those troubles are rather serious, threatening to crash the world economy, our stock market, and his chances for reelection. The financial crisis which Obama likes to claim he stopped is still going on, the papering over that temporarily stopped the bleeding was never a long-term solution, and the next crash will most likely be worse.

    The only way I can see that Obama could credibly take credit for lower oil prices is to point to the talks with Iran, which initially seemed promising and discouraged speculators who expect a war with Iran, but those talks apparently hit a wall. If it were not for the European debt crisis and expectations of slower economic growth in most of the world, oil prices probably would be recovering, but for now, the prospect of war with Iran is overshadowed.

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