Sen. Chris Murphy expertly debunks GOP lies about Biden and gas prices
Over the past several days, as they’ve continued to search for new and exciting ways to dishonestly smear President Joe Biden, congressional Republicans have let us know in no uncertain terms that if we simply drill … into their heads, we’ll still find nothing.
Since the brutal gelding of Mr. Potato Head didn’t have quite the impact on Biden’s political fortunes they’d hoped, they’ve glommed onto an issue that Americans actually do care about: gas prices. Unfortunately, basically everything they say on the topic is a grotesque lie. In MAGA-world, gas prices are high because Joe Biden is an evil America-hater. Or because he wants us all to replace our SUVs with nonbinary, hemp-powered, sparkle-fart-propelled unicorns. Or maybe it simply comes down to communism because, you know, it sounds bad, and none of their voters have any clue what it actually is.
None of that is true. Biden didn’t tirelessly fundraise, build out an elaborate campaign infrastructure, and endure a grueling Democratic primary simply because he hates freedom. That would be Tulsi Gabbard. But man oh man, Republicans sure are trying to make it look like he somehow did this on purpose.
Fortunately, as usual, the facts are on our side.
In the following Twitter thread, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, systematically debunks the GOP’s latest talking points regarding energy prices. (If you don’t do Twitter, click here to see the unrolled thread.)
2/ First, domestic oil production has been gradually rising under Biden, after bottoming out in 2020.\n\nThe one big change Biden made was to pause new leases on public lands. But only 10% of U.S. drilling happens on public lands. And new leases take years before oil is produced.pic.twitter.com/PDmZM85zkB— Chris Murphy (@Chris Murphy) 1646797828
6/ Finally, remember that much of the oil and gas we produce here doesn't even stay in America. \n\nIn 2020, America produced 18M barrels/day and exported nearly half of that. Why? Partly b/c American refiners are designed to handle Saudi, not U.S. crude.https://www.fsmetals.com/about-us/blog/americas-light-sweet-problem\u00a0\u2026— Chris Murphy (@Chris Murphy) 1646797830
8/ And the oil companies don't lack capital. Chevron made $15 billion in profit in 2021. Their profit is bigger than the entire federal budget of over half of the world's countries.\n\nOil companies COULD invest more in U.S. production if they wanted.https://www.wsj.com/articles/chevron-rakes-in-15-6-billion-in-annual-profits-as-oil-prices-climb-11643370301\u00a0\u2026— Chris Murphy (@Chris Murphy) 1646797831
9/ The bottom line is that American producers will ramp up oil production when prices are high enough, not when American national security requires it.\n\nAnd Biden's policies don't explain the industry's decision making. The Ukraine crisis is just an excuse to drive up profits.— Chris Murphy (@Chris Murphy) 1646797831
Really? It all comes down to corporate greed? No way! And here I thought Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was finally telling the truth about something.
Of course, after digesting all this background information, it seems silly to imagine that the now-canceled Keystone XL pipeline could have had a significant effect on current gas prices. But, hey, that’s exactly what conservatives are trying to get you to believe.
Former Obama economic adviser Robert Wolf: "[Keystone XL] wasn't really going to change anything to do with our oil supply. It was to export from the Gulf of Mexico."\n\nFox anchor Sandra Smith: "Hmmm, that's debatable."\n\nWolf: "It\u2019s not actually debatable."pic.twitter.com/BgTQTvHCNa— Justin Baragona (@Justin Baragona) 1646856620
FOX ANCHOR SANDRA SMITH: “Perhaps ... opening up the Keystone pipeline is not off the table for this White House? What did you take away from that?”
FORMER OBAMA ECONOMIC ADVISER ROBERT WOLF: “I think XL is off the table. Let’s recall a few things. One, it’s the worst type of oil you can have. It’s tar sands going from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. It wasn’t going to really change anything to do with our oil supply. It was to export from the Gulf of Mexico ...”
SMITH: “Hmm, that’s debatable ...”
WOLF: “Okay, it’s not actually debatable. It has nothing to do with oil fields. It’s a pipeline. It was going to end at the Gulf of Mexico. That’s a fact. You should look it up. And with respect to President Trump … only 10% of it was even done under his four years. So it’s not about XL, it’s about how do we become energy independent?”
Psaki: If we\u2019re trying to bring about more supply, that does not address any problem. \nDoocy: It\u2019s supply from Canada\nPsaki: We\u2019re already getting that oil Peterpic.twitter.com/ircr8Z179d— Acyn (@Acyn) 1646852348
HERMEY THE CHRISTMAS ELF’S VESTIGIAL TWIN, PETER DOOCY: “Is a restart of the Keystone XL construction completely off the table as long as Joe Biden is president?”
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JEN PSAKI: “Well, why don’t you tell me what that would help address?”
DOOCY: “I’m asking you if it is an option—you guys say all options are on the table—is restarting Keystone construction one of them?”
PSAKI: “If we’re trying to bring about more supply, that does not address any problems.”
DOOCY: “It’s supply from Canada, a friendly ally, instead of Saudi Arabia or Iran.”
PSAKI: “We’re already getting that oil, Peter. The pipeline is just a delivery mechanism, it is not an oil field. So it does not provide more supply into the system.”
DOOCY: “Is it possible that Joe Biden will ever say, you guys can go ahead with construction of Keystone XL.”
PSAKI: “There’s no plans for that, and it would not address any of the problems we’re having currently.”
Wait, that almost makes it sound like they’re using this Keystone pipeline thing as a red herring to confuse people who don’t understand anything about oil markets! But that would be far too cynical a ploy even for Republicans, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it?
But, sure, let’s all just pretend that a single canceled pipeline in one country somehow has more of an impact on global energy prices than banning oil imports from one of the world’s major producers. That totally tracks.
If you thought Republicans suddenly got tough on Putin because they love America, you can think again. They figured banning Russian oil would predictably lead to price spikes that they could use as a cudgel against Biden and the Democrats in advance of the November midterm elections. Of course, if they really loved America, they’d have barred Putin’s oily Manchurian candidate from our shores long ago.
Sadly, at this stage in the game, it’s far too late for them to pretend that they seriously care about democracy—here or in Europe.