Editors' note: For a brief period early Wednesday, this column was incorrectly listed with the byline of Tony Snow. This article is by Tony Blankley. Especially given today's news of President Bush's choice of Tony Snow as the new White House spokesman, we regret this error and apologize to our readers for the confusion.
The liberal blog Daily Kos was displeased with the Associated Press report on Monday that President Bush had ordered the Justice and Energy Departments to "open inquiries into possible cheating in the gasoline markets."
What particularly peeved the Kos was the AP's reference to Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist having urged the president to order a federal investigation into price gouging or market speculation -- without the AP also mentioning that Sen. Chuck Schumer had called for the same things a week ago.
I can understand the Kos's peevement. Liberal Democrats don't like the idea of Republicans poaching the Democrats' populist economic demagoguery: Neither do I -- but for different reasons.
One of the things that always made me feel good in the morning was waking up and realizing I did not belong to the same political party as Chuck Schumer. It made me feel clean -- even before I took a shower. But now, with my Republican president pulling a "full Schumer," even a series of showers will not help.
Of course, no sensible person -- not even a sensible liberal (yes, there are still a few of that species roaming about in obscure locations, though they dare not show themselves at Democratic Party media events) -- believes that the price of gasoline went over $3 a gallon because of nefarious practices by Big Oil.
There is a worldwide price of oil inexorably being driven upward by increasing world demand, flat supply and rapidly increasing risk of war, terrorism and dangerous politics in most of the oil-producing regions of the world (Middle East, Nigeria, Venezuela, Caspian Sea Basin).
While it is true that the consolidation of the oil business through mergers a few years ago has, according to conventional economic theory, rendered the gasoline market slightly "imperfect" -- there is still vigorous price, product and service competition between both the big four oil companies and the many independents in retailing gasoline at the multiple stations at virtually every corner in American cities and on the highways.
(As every driver knows, there is almost invariably one station at a corner charging a few pennies per gallon less than the competitor across the street -- testing to see if they can make up in higher volume what they lose by lower prices.)
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.