McCain on Gas Prices: ‘I Don’t See How it Matters’ (Corrected)
In a recent interview with the Orange County Register‘s Martin Wisckol, John McCain said that, not only doesn’t he know how much gas costs, it doesn’t matter. (Tangentially related: “Nothin’ Matters and What If It Did” was an excellent album title. The album itself was so-so.)
When was the last time you pumped your own gas and how much did it cost?
Oh, I don’t remember. Now there’s Secret Service protection. But I’ve done it for many, many years. I don’t recall and frankly, I don’t see how it matters.
I’ve had hundreds and hundreds of town hall meetings, many as short a time ago as yesterday. I communicate with the people and they communicate with me very effectively.
Well, apparently not. The price of gas is the number one issue on the minds of just about every voter these days. It’s an issue that virtually transcends class. Most of us know, to the penny, what we’re paying for gas and where the cheapest gas is in our area. (Both my wife’s car and mine require high octane gasoline. The station where I generally buy has been stuck at $4.32 for quite some time now. Prices vary radically from block to block, with some charging as much as $4.65.)
I get that McCain is sheltered from many of the mundane details of everyday life because of his position. It wouldn’t bother me in the least if he didn’t know how to operate a modern gas pump. Nor would I expect him to know the price with the specificity that those of us who pump it regularly do. But, given the amazing amount of attention this issue has gotten in recent months — so much so that he’s pandering about “gas tax holidays” and the like — it’s not unreasonable to expect him to answer with something like, “It’s been so long since I pumped my own gas that I don’t remember what it cost. But I do know that it’s now over $4 a gallon and people are pissed.”
As an aside, this is one of those incidents that, absent the blogosphere, would probably have escaped people’s attention. Even apart from the interview being originally published on Wisckol’s blog, it didn’t get any notice until it got picked up elsewhere and started spreading.
“The price of a gallon of gas in America stands at more than four dollars. Yesterday, a barrel of oil cost about 134 dollars” said McCain. “And various oil ministers and investment firms have confidently informed us that soon we can expect to pay 200 dollars for every barrel, and as much as seven dollars for every gallon of gas.”
It stands to reason, then, that McCain knew the price at the time of the interview. It would seem, then, that he’s guilty merely of giving an irritated and dismissive answer to what he perceived as a “gotcha” question rather than being out of touch. He’d have been far better off, however, giving the answer I suggested above.