Presidential Scold

I wrote about how President Barack Obama received a rude welcome to Oklahoma during a recent visit to Cushing, but I failed to note U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn joined in the presidential smackdown as well.

I wrote about the rude welcome here. Four local energy executives, Gov. Mary Fallin and The Oklahoman editorial page criticized the president as he announced his support to expedite the Keystone pipeline from Cushing to the Gulf Coast, an act that should have brought cheers not jeers from this crowd.

Their unfounded complaint is that Obama is hostile to the oil and gas industry, an industry led by Exxon Mobil that made $41 billion in profits last year and, according to one report, pays lower taxes that average Americans. In fact, according to the report, the company paid no federal taxes at all in 2009.

The complaints against Obama over how he responds to the oil and gas industry are a fictional political trope designed to create a narrative that Obama is anti-business. They are not based on facts.

Coburn also complained about the president’s supposed hostility to the fossil fuel industry, issuing a statement in which he described the president’s energy position as “All hat, no cattle.”

Coburn said:

In Oklahoma, we have a phrase to describe the president’s position: ‘All hat, no cattle.’ The president offers big talk on domestic energy production but has offered little action to back up his claims.

In word and deed, this administration has consistently expressed an illogical and ideological hostility to oil and gas. President Obama has even called oil the ‘fuel of the past’ even though government experts recognize our nation will rely on fossil fuels for nearly 70 percent of our energy needs through 2035. For better or worse, oil and gas are the fuel of the present. Oklahomans, in particular, understand that the Cushing facility is part of our future, not our past.

Note the use of the language “illogical and ideological hostility.” Also, remember that Obama was in Cushing to announce an expansion for the fossil fuel industry.

Coburn goes on to complain that the federal government prevents the type of drilling that could make the country energy independent, which is the GOP “drill, baby, drill” philosophy that places profits of oil companies over common sense. It’s simply a myth that we can drill our way to independence. Read here and here. Note, as well, how the last eight presidents, including Obama, have all promised energy independence in the above Comedy Central video.