Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, yesterday I highlighted some of the tremendous challenges we face in our country and this President's refusal to face them with the seriousness they demand.
At a moment when the Federal debt makes us look a lot like Greece, President Obama spends his time running around stumping for a tax hike that he knows will not help and that he knows will not pass. On gas prices, the President's response has been to call for a tax hike on energy manufactures, which, if anything, will drive the price of gas even higher and which he knows will not pass.
Now we hear that the President is announcing some kind of task force on oil speculation today--in other words, the same thing Washington Democrats always call for when gas prices go up. If I were to guess, I would say today's proposal by the President probably polls pretty well, but I guarantee you it will not do a thing to lower the price of gas at the pump. It never has in the past. White House officials admit as much. So why would it now?
The Democrats' favorite policy adviser, Warren Buffett, weighed in on the issue a few years ago. Here is what Warren Buffett had to say about it. Asked about the role speculation in the oil markets plays in determining price, he said, ``It's not speculation, it's supply and demand.'' That is Warren Buffett on speculation relating to the oil markets. ``It's not speculation,'' Warren Buffett said, ``it's supply and demand.'' But, of course, that is not the point for this White House. President Obama only seems to care about Warren Buffett's opinion if it polls well.
The President's goal here is not to do something about the problem, it is to make people think he is doing something about the problem until the next crisis comes along. And that is the larger problem, that we have a President who is more concerned with looking as if he is doing something than in actually doing what is needed to tackle the challenges we face. We have a President who told us that he was a different kind of politician doing the same old things and using the same old talking points politicians in Washington have been peddling for literally years--for years. I mean, weren't these kinds of gimmicks and stale talking points precisely what President Obama campaigned against 4 years ago? I thought he was offering something new, something different.
I think the Associated Press summed up the President's latest proposal pretty well this morning. The White House plan, which Obama was to unveil Tuesday, the AP said, is more likely to draw sharp election-year distinctions with Republicans than to have an immediate effect on prices at the pump. Well, AP pretty well summed it up. They said it is more about drawing a distinction. Look, we do not need new distinctions, we need solutions. Americans need lawmakers who are more concerned with facing up to the problems we face than getting reelected. They need a President who thinks about solving a problem, a President who thinks solving a problem involves more than giving a speech about it and pointing the finger at whatever does not poll well that particular day.
As I said yesterday, the President seems to have forgotten why he was elected in the first place. He seems to have forgotten his own campaign rhetoric: that he was going to be different, that he would bridge differences, that he would bring people together. The reality could not be more different or more disappointing. The sad truth is that it is all politics, all the time in this White House. They are out of ideas. They have nothing new to offer. Today's announcement is all the proof you need of that.
I yield the floor.