Fueling Political Debate

Via the AP:

There is no mystery or manipulation behind the recent fall in gasoline prices, analysts say. Try telling that to many U.S. motorists.

Almost half of all Americans believe the November elections have more influence than market forces. For them, the plunge at the pump is about politics, not economics.

Retired farmer Jim Mohr of Lexington, Ill., rattled off a tankful of reasons why pump prices may be falling, including the end of the summer travel season and the fact that no major hurricanes have disrupted Gulf of Mexico output.

"But I think the big important reason is Republicans want to get elected," Mohr, 66, said while filling up for $2.17 a gallon. "They think getting the prices down is going to help get some more incumbents re-elected."

According to a new Gallup poll, 42 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that the Bush administration “deliberately manipulated the price of gasoline so that it would decrease before this fall’s elections.” Fifty-three percent of those surveyed did not believe in this conspiracy theory, while 5 percent said they had no opinion.
And the kicker is that a third of those who thought Bush was playing politics with gas prices were Republicans.

The anti-conspiracy theorist in me says that Bush isn't raising and lowering gas prices the same way he did the Homeland Security's color coded 'Terror Alert Level' in 2004. Then again, it is awfully convenient for this to be happening now.

Perhaps the thing that alarms me most isn't that Bush is rigging gas prices - or even that he thinks lowering gas prices might help him get Republicans elected - it's that it works. With all the problems and questions facing America today, the best way to placate the masses is to give them cheap gas. 21st century bread and circuses, I suppose...

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