President Bush today claimed there was nothing he could do to ease the pain Americans are feeling at the pump, saying, “I wish I could simply wave a magic wand and lower gas prices tomorrow.”
Perhaps instead of shrugging his shoulders and wishing for a magic wand, the president would be better served using the tools he does have, like the power of the presidency.
As a presidential candidate in 2000, for example, then-Gov. George W. Bush promised that, if elected, he would use the full weight of the White House to pressure oil-producing countries to increase production if there was a gas-price crisis. He charged, “The president of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the price” and promised that as president he would “convince them to open up the spigot to increase the supply.”
Flash forward to April 2004. Saudi Arabia led the fight within OPEC to cut production to keep prices high. But President Bush kept mum. He “refused to lean on the oil cartel” and refused to even “personally lobby OPEC leaders to change their minds.”
It doesn’t take mysterious powers of the supernatural to fight this battle. It just takes keeping your word.