Tom Borelli

With soaring gasoline prices jeopardizing economic growth and enraging the public, even a novice could recognize the political liabilities associated with rising energy costs.

Yet with all the palpable risks, President Obama, considered to be a gifted politician, is doubling down on his war on fossil fuels.

Following a bipartisan grilling of Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar at a U.S. House hearing about bureaucratic delays in approving deepwater drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama Administration appealed a recent court decision ordering the department to expedite permits.

The Interior Department warned the court that forcing its hand could make the department “deny the applications outright.”

Obama’s stick-in-the-eye approach to oil exploration at a time when Middle East tensions are flaring sets the stage for a political backlash.

Given his rich history of anti-fossil fuel statements – including promises to make electricity prices “skyrocket” and to “bankrupt” coal-fired utilities – the President is vulnerable to criticism and public outrage.

Opposition political operatives must be drooling over the possibility of producing commercials with Obama’s voice pledging higher energy prices while the video shows gas stations displaying $4 a gallon or higher.

Why is Obama aggressively pursuing a policy that carries such political risk? One possibility is that Obama’s anti-fossil fuel strings are being pulled by billionaire investors such as George Soros and John Doerr and by big business CEOs who have made huge investments in renewable energy and the green economy.

Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner has noted that Soros recently launched a green investment fund to cash in on clean energy technology. Carney has also described the connection between Soros’ support of liberal politicians and advocacy groups that promote green technologies.

In 2009, Soros pledged to invest one billion in clean-energy technologies and an additional $100 million in the Climate Policy Initiative, an organization “whose mission is to assess, diagnose, and support nations’ efforts to achieve low-carbon growth.”

The matching investment in public policy is noteworthy. As Glenn Beck reported in his “Crime Inc.” segments on his Fox program, Soros seeks to boost his investments by leveraging his financial support for groups, such as the Center for American Progress, that actively promote Obama’s energy agenda.

Tom Borelli

Tom Borelli, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow with FreedomWorks.

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