Four years ago, global tensions were rising and gas was on its way to a mid-July peak of $4.11 per gallon. Conservative leaders called for a nationwide push to access our energy resources - long denied by the eco-nuts. The campaign to "Drill Here, Drill Now," was a rallying cry throughout 2008. Even martial arts tough guy Chuck Norris urged voters to "tell Congress we're the bosses and they're not."
Today circumstances are much the same. Iran is destabilizing the Mideast again and Egypt, Libya, Syria and other nations are in chaos. Gas is at $3.45 a gallon and CNN's Josh Levs is saying a new record high is likely. In late January, he said, "we have analysts telling us to get ready for a [?] national average around $4.25. That's spring. Summer, that's when it could go higher, $5 could happen in some cities."
In these four years, the American energy situation hasn't gotten better. It's actually gotten worse. For that, you can first credit President Barack Obama, who has led the most anti-energy administration America has seen since President Sweater - Jimmy Carter.
Obama has continued the crazy lefty polices of his party and refused to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He has curtailed drilling off the coast. And his actions have contributed to the chaos in the Mideast as even long-friendly Egypt teeters ever closer to Islamist insanity.
But he capped his anti-energy term with such blatant hypocrisy that media lefties should be screaming. First, he fought GOP efforts to take action on the Keystone pipeline. Finally, when his hand was forced, he shut down plans to move tar sands energy via pipeline from Canada to Texas.
He then followed that blatantly political and amazingly cynical move with a State of the Union speech claiming he believed in power to the people - mentioning the word "energy" nearly two dozen times. "This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy a strategy that's cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs," he lied to the American public.
Picture the media reaction if George Bush had said, "This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy." To say they would have been skeptical is putting it mildly. But journalists swallowed Obama's propaganda like the lapdogs they are. Somehow, three years of an anti-energy policy can be spun into a pro-energy presidency.
Keystone is especially insane. It provides jobs that the infrastructure-obsessed Obama administration (and its Big-Labor muscle) would ordinarily like. It provides more trade with an ally, a friend and one of the most stable nations on earth - Canada. And it helps provide energy security, meaning more oil would be available to the United States if we needed it in a time of emergency, assuming another oil embargo or similar oil interruption.
Even The New York Times recognizes that Keystone makes a good strategy for the GOP, calling it "the party's preferred truncheon against President Obama."
Yet, the Times responded to Obama's State of the Union lies by … believing them. The paper editorialized defending the president's bogus energy policy by calling Keystone "environmentally risky." "Mr. Obama agreed that a comprehensive strategy must include fossil fuels, and he pledged to promote natural gas and open up the outer continental shelf for oil exploration - both in an environmentally safe manner," it continued. Apparently, only in New York do they believe this.
The Times argues "the White House is betting that Americans will ignore the Keystone issue." Certainly, the media are doing their best to help by twisting the Keystone debate. Before Obama's atrocious, job-killing announcement, 40 percent of the broadcast network stories called Keystone "controversial." That's journo-speak for saying they oppose the project.
Then, after Obama's decision, two-thirds of the stories mentioned environmental opposition to the project. Not one story discussed how Obama had ignored the recommendation from his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness: "to expeditiously, though cautiously, move forward on projects that can support hundreds of thousands of jobs."
That's right. Just the day before he killed Keystone, Obama's own council recommended he go forward with energy projects. He ignored it, preferring to squash both jobs and national security. It's an astonishing act of contempt for voters. You can certainly tell it's been years since Obama actually paid for a tank of gas. Maybe then he'd realize just how hard his policies are on ordinary Americans.
But Obama isn't alone in this assault. The media deserve a huge chunk of blame for their anti-oil and anti-energy indoctrination. There are examples of it almost every day - from insane claims that the oil industry was adjusting the price of gasoline to get Republicans elected, to Hollywood attacking the industry through the Muppets.
But as gas prices rise this year, possibly to all-time highs, even the professional spinmasters of the old school media won't be able to convince Americans that Obama is a pro-energy president.
Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.