Ed Schultz Suspects Right-Wing Conspiracy Behind Lower Oil Prices

Most people, those on the rational end of the spectrum anyway, are probably not bothered by oil prices dropping from their nosebleed levels of last summer.

Not radio host Ed Schultz. He's convinced that tree limbs over at the grassy knoll are actually a firing squad. Take a closer look, can't you see it?!

This being an election year and all, nefarious right-wing forces must be at work, at least according to Schultz. Here's what the Fargo, N.D.-based liberal talker told his listeners on Nov. 12 --

You know what's gonna happen? Gasoline's gonna be a buck 47 ($1.47) when Bush gets out of office. This has just been all so pre-arranged. Oil fell 5 percent to 56 bucks a barrel today. Wow. OPEC officials concerned about the oil's steep drop from record highs of $147 per barrel in July, said the cartel could possibly decide by the end of the month to cut production again to raise prices.

Let me see if I've got this straight. That steep drop in oil prices from summer to election day was "all so pre-arranged," correct? In fairness to Schultz's claim, it's not as if this hasn't happened before. As I recall, oil prices also dropped in the months leading to the 2006 mid-term elections.

The problem with Schultz's theory, however, is that oil prices this year kept dropping after the election. Did the alleged conspirators forget to synchronize their watches?

Then there's Schultz's assertion that gasoline will cost less when Bush leaves office than it does now, presumably because of that same "pre-arranged" conspiracy. But how could this possibly help the shadowy conspirators? Logic dictates the opposite -- that president-elect Obama and Democrats gaining greater control of Congress will get credit for this --  before the actual transition has even occurred.

Another possible explanation for oil's lower cost -- the worsening global economic slump resulting in decreased demand.

Isn't it wonderful how wherever oil prices actually are, left wingers toss out theories to explain it all? If oil costs $147 a barrel, the two oil barons in the White House must have orchestrated it to help their plutocratic pals. But if oil prices are heading for the cellar, that's to help the GOP win an election, regardless of what you pay at the pump after the votes are counted.

If the underlying basis for Schultz's theory is that lower oil prices help the party in power on the eve of an election, the 2000 election presents a bit of a problem. As of September that year, oil hovered between $30 and $40 a barrel. Was this "all so pre-arranged" by the powers that be at the time -- Bill Clinton and Al Gore?

Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts