Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pain at the Pump Equals Obama's Pain at the Polls ...

Guess That Change Is Deep Dish, Because Barack Obama's Poll Numbers Are Dropping Faster Than the Cubbies !!

    What a difference one month and 50 cents a gallon at the pump makes, eh folks?  Last month, the economy was chugging along at it's normal slow but steady upward turn of job creation.  While things could always be better, they've been a lot worse lately - and Barack Obama was reaping the benefits of it..  Last month, he held a nine point edge in the polls over Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.  Then gas prices started creeping up....

   Well, not quite creeping.  Fifty cents a gallon in a month is a pretty precipitous climb, and suddenly, Obama is right back where he was before - neck and neck with the GOP pack, and facing consumer backlash that he doesn't know what he's doing with the economy.. The pain at the pump for voters is turning into a big pain in the neck for Barack Obama.

   Now, we're going to stay on topic, and skip the debates about who's fault it is.. There are plenty of factors, and we just went over them briefly. Today, we're going to examine how real the fear of high gas prices are, and the mental effect they have on voters.  Now, the average guy drives maybe 300 miles a week, and gets maybe around 25 mpg, so they were spending about $39/week on gas.  Now, that same guy is spending around  $45 per week.  Maybe $25 a month more... Obviously, some drive more, some less, but we'll stick with the average here.

   That means the average driver is spending an extra $25 a month on gas, or $300 a year.  If you're married, double it.  Though no one likes it, with very few exceptions, $25-50 a month isn't going to make or break most people.  If you wnated to, you'd find it. Cut the cable bill, or the unlimited data plan on that I-phone that you can't live without, but somehow did ten years ago.. No, we're not saying that America is a bunch of whiners, but in the scope of things, it's not a ton of money we're talking about. So why the big fuss always, and why are so many blaming Barack Obama?

   OK, let's hit the first question. Why the big deal? We've got a couple answers - first the obvious one: no one likes paying more money for stuff!  The problem with gas is a couple reasons, as far as paying more. First off, there is no real perceived benefit to gasoline.  We put it in, we drive, it gets used, we refill it.  It doesn't make us feel better, it doesn't fill our stomachs, and we sure as hell can't download porn with gas.  Most people view their cars the same way, but at least they look nice and have Bluetooth. But watch what happens when a car breaks down or dies - all hell breaks loose.  The gas is just the method to move the car, so who cares if it runs on gas, piss or garbage?  BTW, we're still waiting on Doc Brown's Mr. Fusion - hey 2015 is almost here, so it can't be long!!

   Now the other problem.  Name any other product whose price is displayed on every street corner across America? No one.. It's a constant barrage or information, and it has a mental effect. One station is 5 cents higher than another, and we think their a ripoff. Maybe that station is Full Serve, or they give you a donut with a fillup - or they just nicer people there.  Nope, we get overloaded almost every five minutes on a drive to work or the store with gas prices.  Let me ask you, if someone yelled in your ear every five minutes that you're an asshole, after a few weeks, wouldn't you start to believe them?  A ten cent jump makes people go apeshit, so imagine how America feels right now?

    That's the tough part about being President - you get blamed for everything!  Other presidents have had the same problem in recent years: Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Bush 43 have all had their turns getting their butts chewed out for gas prices.  Barack Obama is now having his turn as well.  The greatest problem in a situation like this is panic.. When the economy or the price of things start to get out of control , it's like losing the steering wheel on your car - the first thing to do is get that wheel under control again, and stop the bleeding.  The first part to that end took place last week, when Israel and the US got together, and apparently decided to not do anything just yet. Prices are still going up, but not nearly like the 5-6 cents a day it was doing..

    That part was the common sense, and the easy part. Calmer heads prevailing is almost an inaction, and what the American people want from him is action.  If he wants to regain his lead, then he must do something. It doesn't need to be an action that will immediately drop prices - because that isn't going to happen. Obama's problem with voters is that many think he is just as in bed with the environmentalists as Bush was with Big Oil. Yes, there is a political downside to being green.  He needs to show that he's listening, because right now his answer makes him sound deaf.. It's been out there, and it is the most sensible idea out there.  It's time he went with America, and OK'd the Keystone XL Pipeline.  That at least would show he's listening to voters, not lobbyists...

   There are lots of polls out there, and maybe we pay too much attention to them. Just this week, I read a fellow Republican who holds office mention that we need to give up on the presidential race, and focus on the Senate and House.  Pretty odd, considering that we don't have anyone running for the Senate in SC this year, and our House members are pretty well set, except for the new 7th.. It's almost still 8 months away, and we have people ready to pack up the tent, just because they probably don't like Mitt Romney.  A lot can happen in that time. The recovery is tenuous, and 59% of Americans think Obama is not doing a good job with it.  67% think what he's done has hurt or had no effect on the economy, and they're probably right.  Gas prices are more perception than reality, but the reality is that every other factor is the same except for it, and he's lost eleven points in a month.  It's time to show you care, that you actually feel their pain, as Bill would say... Figure something out.


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