09 March 2012

Pouring Gasoline on OIP Derangement Syndrome

At a press conference on 6 March, a Fox News correspondent asked President Barack Obama about gasoline prices. (Curiously, that correspondent described in advance what Republicans in Congress were going to say. How, I wonder, would he know?) In any event, the question was:

Your critics will say on Capitol Hill that you want gas prices to go higher because you have said before that will wean the American people off fossil fuels onto renewable fuels. How do you respond to that?
In fact, President Obama has never said that higher gas prices “will wean the American people off fossil fuels,” but this is Fox News, a principal network of transmission of OIP Derangement Syndrome, which involves making claims unsupported by evidence or logic that can justify one’s visceral dislike of seeing Obama as President.

Back in 2008 Obama responded to a fast rise in gas prices by saying:
The fact that this is such a shock to American pocketbooks is not a good thing. But if we take some steps right now to help people make the adjustment, first of all by putting more money into their pockets, but also by encouraging the market to adapt to these new circumstances more quickly, particularly US automakers, then I think ultimately, we can come out of this stronger and have a more efficient energy policy than we do right now.
Nothing about “weaning.” Recently Politico did use that word in a story about Energy Secretary Steven Chu that it quickly had to correct. Chu had actually said, “We agree there is great suffering when the price of gasoline increases in the United States, and so we are very concerned about this.”

And at his news conference, Obama’s answer to Fox News began:
Ed, just from a political perspective, do you think the President of the United States going into re-election wants gas prices to go up higher? Is that—is there anybody here who thinks that makes a lot of sense? Look, here’s the bottom line with respect to gas prices: I want gas prices lower because they hurt families.
That seems clear, logical, and sympathetic. But OIP Derangement Syndrome is a powerful malady that affects even the most grandiose intellects. In fact, the more grandiose a person, the harsher the case can be.

Later that same day, Newt Gingrich stated:
I thought today, in one of the most shallow and self-serving comments by a president I’ve heard in a long time, he was candid in his press conference. He said, you know, I’m really worried about higher gas prices because it will make it harder for me to get re-elected. I did not make this up. It was just nice to know that the president once again has managed to take the pain of the American people and turn it into his own personal problem.
Of course, Gingrich did make that up. He projected his own psychological demons onto a stereotype of the President, and thus made clear who’s really “shallow and self-serving,” willing to “take the pain of the American people and turn it into his own personal problem,” and in thrall to OIP Derangement Syndrome.

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