Republicans have been pointing their latest attacks at Obama for gas prices, but a new Gallup poll shows that Americans are getting used to the pain at the pump.
According to Gallup despite the presence of $4 and above gas prices, 61% of Americans still plan to go on vacation this year. 36% of Americans said that taking a vacation this year is very important, and 25% said that a vacation was somewhat important. 38% of those polled said that taking a vacation away from where they live is not important to them, and of this group 18% said taking a vacation was not important at all. Despite the fact that 71% of respondents said that they will be spending more to travel this year, 52% said that they expect to travel more or the same amount as last year.
A majority of people aren’t cutting back on their travel for recreation. This doesn’t mean that Americans aren’t upset about the rising cost of gas. They are, but Americans get used to being held hostage by Big Oil and the speculators who profit from their addiction. Eventually the shock wears off, and paying more at the pump becomes the new norm. Americans are oil addicts. They may grumble when the pusher man raises the prices, but at the end of the day they still need their fix.
The price of a gallon of gas will never be a big political issue because there is a grin and bear it mentality built into the system. This country’s addiction to foreign oil is so complete that people accept being held hostage by Oil Industrial Complex.
Republicans have been trying to not only blame Obama for gas prices, but have used gas prices as a reason why subsidies to Big Oil should not be cut. Republicans have unleashed an unfounded claim that it is Obama’s energy policy that is causing the gas price increases. As Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said, “There seem to be those who believe the key to clean energy is to make energy scarce and expensive. Making energy scarce and expensive may indeed reduce our emissions. It’s an effective way to crush our economy.”
The energy scarcity boogeyman is based on the false assumptions that the nation can produce enough oil to feed its addiction, and that it is Obama’s fault that gas prices are so high. Gas prices are a dead end issue politically because nobody likes them, but most Americans understand that the nation is dependent on foreign oil and can’t support it’s own addiction.
Americans always blame the president when gas prices go up but they know that nothing can be done about it, so they don’t hold the president accountable.
This is why even as gas prices climb Obama’s approval ratings continue to grow. Americans have played this game before. They know that once the profiteers extract their pound of flesh, gas prices will fall. Polls about Americans outrage over gas prices make for great media stories, but the political reality is that the price of gas in the summer of 2011 will have no impact on the 2012 election.
Despite their grumbling over pain at the pump Americans are still going on vacation, and life is going on. If Americans really cared about gas prices, their concern would be reflected in their pattern of consumption. The sad fact is that Americans have gotten used to being screwed over at the pump, so they hate it, pay it, and move on.
The life of an addict is never pretty, but Americans aren’t going to blame Barack Obama for their Big Oil addiction.