Secretary Granholm’s misstep

I recently heard an interview from my former Governor and current Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm. Secretary Granholm was on Bloomberg, where she mocked the interviewers’ question about energy prices. Not only is this a problem it is a gift to Republicans. The conservative media pounced on this misstep. I’ve seen articles, retweets, and pundits build on the narrative that Democrats are out of touch with their voters or are driving up prices to push their Green New Deal. While this is not true, The Democrats are doing themselves no favors. They should be more adept in interviews and messaging. To her credit, she did add clarity explaining how energy diversification would drive down cost. She even empathized with Americans feeling pain at the pump. With extra focus on poor Americans who, as she said, have up to 30% of their income absorbed by energy costs.

While she cleaned it up, she did not give ideas on what they would do about it. Granholm is correct, The President does not have a magic wand to change the prices (as she mocked), but they can impact prices independent of OPEC. President Biden asked OPEC to produce more to no avail while we only have 4% of global oil reserves, diminished domestic oil production, and 700 million barrels in the strategic oil reserves that should be enough to get us through the other side. Her response should have been we are looking at all options. Those options include releasing some of the strategic supply as former Presidents Bush Jr, and Obama to bring down costs. Temporary federal aid to domestic producers of oil and natural gas to help them ramp up production in exchange for price relief for consumers and a discount to restock oil reserves. Finally, show empathy do not laugh off voters’ pain if they see you trying they will give you more leeway than if you mock them.

(I still think nationalizing our oil industry is the best way to deal with pain at the pump and have written about the cost of it. But I acknowledge special interest will never allow that so this is the best set of tools we have as of now.)

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