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What Ever Happened to All Those Gas 'Price-Gouging' Investigations by Democrats?

With gas prices now almost double what they were on the first day of President Barack Obama’s presidency, we’re left to wonder: what ever happened to all those “price gouging” investigations Democrats launched four years ago to relieve pain at the pump?

In 2006, Rep. Nancy Pelosi promised that Democrats would enact plans to bring down the price of gas. But as this GOP ad makes clear, that didn’t happen.

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Then, with the presidential election heating up in May 2007, Rep. Nancy Pelosi rolled out the tried and true “blame Bush” tactic and said that high gas prices were the result of “the Bush Administration’s failure to enact a comprehensive energy strategy.” Furthermore, Rep. Pelosi said that the Democratic Congress would “take America in a new direction” and “make up for years of inaction” by Republicans. The San Francisco Congresswoman went on to tout the actions taken by the Democratic Congress within the first 100 hours of their taking power.


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The day Rep. Pelosi made those comments, the national average price for a gallon of gas was $3.07. Today, in 2012, it’s $3.39 a gallon.

Rep. Pelosi, however, was not alone in promising to right the wrongs of the “two oil men in the Oval Office.” Then-candidate Barack Obama promised that, if he were elected president, gas prices would plunge because he would impose a “windfall profits tax” on any oil producer who sold oil above $80 a barrel. But no sooner did he win the presidency than did Mr. Obama ditch the proposal altogether, even going so far as to remove mention of it from his Transition Team’s website.

Of course, anyone who was paying careful attention in 2008 to then-candidate Barack Obama should hardly be surprised that energy prices have skyrocketed on his watch. After all, during the last presidential election, Mr. Obama admitted that he was perfectly aware that his own energy policies would result in skyrocketing prices–and that he was fine with that.

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Indeed, Mr. Obama flatly stated that he preferred that gas prices rise–albeit “gradually”–in order to reduce American reliance on oil.

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But the Democratic sound and fury over removing our pain at the pump signified nothing. With just 10 months until the 2012 presidential election, gas prices are almost twice what they were when that oil-loving meany George Bush left office.

Why? Because oil prices hinge on basic supply and demand, not a price-fixing conspiracy by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the owner of your local gas station, as many Democrats would have voters believe. To be sure, OPEC has an enormous influence on the price of a barrel of oil. But Energy Forum Director Amy Myers Jaffe of the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University says that so-called price-gouging investigations are just a political shell game. “That’s just camouflage,” Ms. Jaffe told CNN. “That’s just ‘I want to pretend I’m doing something even, though I’m doing nothing.'”

With petroleum analysts now predicting that the price of a gallon of gas may well reach $4 a gallon by summer, Mr. Obama’s reelection hopes may rest on whether he can make manifest the promises he made four years ago to relieve America’s pain at the pump. If so, he better hurry. Summer gas prices will soon be here–and will further underscore Mr. Obama’s failure to make good on yet another campaign promise.

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