Obama shows distaste for gas industry

We now all know that Barack Obama, caught on camera and an open mic, has been furtive when speaking with the Russians about his future intentions. But, to the contrary, he’s been crystal clear about his feelings toward America’s oil and gas industry: He abhors it. That much was made plain during a recent Rose Garden event. In a smearing speech, the president hurled epithets like “outrageous” and “inexcusable” at top energy firms, vilifying their tax subsidies as “giveaways.” That’s tough and hypocritical talk from a man whose penchant for giveaways handsomely favors so many others. 

I can’t recall Ronald Reagan ever expressing such transparent distaste for the “Evil Empire” as Obama dished out for the hardworking boys in Houston, Tulsa, Denver and other haunts of our homeland’s energy industries. If I were them, I would be raising all the independent-expenditure cash I could muster to send this president packing. He’ll try to take down everyone in the oil patch if he gets a second chance. I’d also like to make all those Obama fanboys cry, the insipid sycophants stationed strategically behind the president during his Rose Garden diatribe, preening for the camera and bobbing their heads in support of every applause line, smirking and frowning in disgust for the TV audience at every mention of Big Oil’s profits and the tax breaks granted to Exxon-Mobil and the rest. 

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Last time I checked, gas prices were still high and we are still relying too much on imported oil. You wouldn’t know that from listening to the president, though. He’s ready to send the whole enterprise to hell if he’s allowed. If Obama is at such odds with the very people who could help him catch a break with lower prices at the pump, imagine how nasty he is likely to get when attacking other businesses and industries that can’t do him any favors.

Business knows that the president is no friend, especially when it comes to tax reforms that would benefit industry. That conclusion comes through loud and clear in a Tax Policy Forecast Survey recently released by Miller & Chevalier. The study is based on interviews with 180 top executives interviewed in late February and early March. 

The survey finds that a plurality of the national sample of executives, 44 percent, has concluded that a change in the White House is most likely to advance the tax reform debate. When asked about each of the current presidential candidates and their likely willingness to entertain fundamental tax reform, only 38 percent see Obama as interested. By comparison, 67 percent see the likely GOP winner, Mitt Romney, as open to sweeping change

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was commissioned by a Houston-based firm to survey sentiment of Fortune 200 executives to ascertain their sense of whether the elder Bush and Clinton administrations would be pro- or anti-business when it came to regulations. I am not doing that now, but I would have to quickly guess that the Fortune 200, even those that are not in oil and gas, feels that Obama’s minions are out to get it. Even ordinary investors sense the Obama prejudice. 

A 2010 Bloomberg survey of investors and market analysts found that 77 percent believe that the president is 

anti-business. 

It’s sad to note, however, that business leaders lack confidence in their abilities to counter Obama’s anti-business bent. Fully 68 percent of the executives interviewed by Miller & Chevalier said they thought that Obama would win reelection. If this sort of defeatism is shared by the whole business community, and it might be, it would explain why the president seems to get away with bullying the industries and companies we need to jumpstart this economy. 

David Hill is a pollster that has worked for Republican candidates and causes since1984.