Bachmann’s $2-a-gallon promise

On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” host Bob Schieffer asked Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann about this recent boast: “The day that the president became president gasoline was $1.79 a gallon. Look at what it is today. Under President Bachmann, you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again. That will happen.”

Schieffer noted that consumers would no doubt love cheaper gas, but “how would you propose to do that?” The far-right congresswoman replied:

“Well, by embarking on an all of the above energy strategy. What the president has been doing is strangling the United States energy sector.”

As an example of the Obama administration’s “strangling,” Bachmann noted ANWR is still “off limits” to drilling. “Opening up American energy production,” she added, would solve the problem.

In case anyone is inclined to take any of this seriously, let’s take a moment to note reality.

First, it’s true that when President Obama took office, gas cost about $1.81 a gallon. It had fallen sharply in late 2008 for a very good reason: there was a global economic catastrophe. Bachmann may not understand this, but gas was cheap because the economy had fallen off a cliff. As the economy improved, demand went up, and the price of gas started climbing.

Second, Bachmann may be convinced that “opening up American energy production” will lower costs, but the detail she’s missing is that the Obama administration has already opened up American energy production. The number of oil-drilling rigs in the United States is now at its highest levels in a quarter-century, and is up nearly 60% over the past year.

As Joe Romm explained, “The fact is oil prices soared despite both record drilling and the highest domestic oil production levels in almost a decade. It should be obvious that yet more drilling can’t have any significant impact on oil prices.”

Yes, it should be obvious. If more drilling meant lower prices, gas would be much cheaper, since production is way up under the Obama administration.

And yet, Bachmann remains oblivious and Schieffer apparently didn’t have these details handy to press the candidate or give viewers the necessary context.