WashPost Reporter: "Making Gas Cheaper Only Makes Matters Worse"
Washington Post congressional reporter Shailagh Murray was blunt about America's energy problems in her Monday "Post Politics Chat": While most of the media is decrying "pain at the pump," Murray worried that "making gas cheaper only makes matters worse." A questioner complained about an earlier answer, in which Murray insisted her experience told her the price of crude oil is about supply and demand, and not who's president:
I may be going out on a limb here, but I don't think the price of crude oil has much to do with who occupies the White House. As a former Wall Street Journal reporter, I fall back on the simple supply and demand principle. People want to drive SUVs. A gazillion highway lanes are being built in China. Limited supplies of crude oil, whatever happens with ANWR. Of all the things to be surprised about, high gas prices should not be one of them.
The questioner protested, causing Murray to declare she favors current gas prices as better for the country:
There are plenty of things that the President could have done for the last 5 years that could have affected the "demand" part of things (CAFE standards, etc.) and he has not done them.
Shailagh Murray: Yes, you're right -- my point is that making gas cheaper only makes matters worse.
Reporters love playing up division in the GOP ranks -- today's New York Times front page highlights the very real discomfort in conservative articles for congressional Republicans offering $100 checks like they were George McGovern -- but here you see a very real division in liberal opinion. They want to be populists for lower prices for the "working class," but they love high gas prices for their potential to spur greener environmental policies. Will we get some major-media stories on Democratic divisions?
By the way, Murray loves to unload zingers in her Post chats, as you can see from this jokey exchange over Dana Milbank's recent column (in which Murray assisted) mocking politicians for driving big SUVs a block or two to press events at gas stations:
What Would Dana Do?: Everyone's dying to know: does Milbank drive a Prius? He doesn't seem like the SUV type. Maybe he's one of those self-impressed Swedish-vehicle drivers? It's only fair to know, since he's all over the politician cars.
Shailagh Murray: Dana drives a Vespa [scooter]. Just thinking about him whipping down Connecticut Avenue every morning, his scarf trailing in the breeze, makes me want to run out for an espresso and a new pair of Fendi slingbacks.
Murray also agreed that Hillary Clinton would make a good Senate Majority Leader, should she not run for the White House:
Fairfax Station, Va.: Is there any chance Hillary Clinton would be happy to be the majority leader of the seante [sic] with a democrat as president? After eight years of PR we need to get back to governing and I believe she actually reads the bills that are proposed in Congress.
Shailagh Murray: I think Hillary would be a great Senate Democratic Leader. It would play to all of her strengths...and she could be dismissive and grumpy, too, and actually be admired for it.