Yesterday, President Obama’s plan to raise taxes on oil companies went down in flames in the Senate, 51-47. And while the vote was largely along party lines, four Democrats–Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Mary Landrieu (La.), Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Jim Webb (Va.)–wisely recognized that a vote to raise taxes on oil companies was basically a vote to raise taxes on Americans, so they opposed the measure too.
Obama, for his part, either doesn’t understand that additional taxes on oil companies will result in higher prices at the pump or he doesn’t care. My guess is that he doesn’t care: that he is literally so desperate to shift the blame for skyrocketing gas prices that he’s willing to do anything for a little breathing room, even if what he does ends up costing Americans more at the gas pump instead of less.
Therefore, before the vote, Obama stood in the Rose Garden and said: “Today, members of Congress have a simple choice to make. They can stand with the big oil companies, or they can stand with the American people.”
Ironically, however, the real choice faced by Senators was whether they would stand with Barack Obama or whether they would stand with the American people. Fortunately, they stood with the American people. And perhaps that’s a sign of just how much political backlash they fear those tied to rising gas prices will face come November.