Washington Post: Obama taps oil reserve to save his campaign

You know you’re in for a long, strange day when American Tradition Partnership and The Washington Post agree, at least on one point.

ENERGY SECRETARY Steven Chu announced Thursday that the federal government will release 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve , a complex of salt caves that contain 727 million barrels in case of national emergency…

…Therein, perhaps, is a political emergency, at least in the White House view: President Obama’s reelection prospects will be harmed if national discontent over high gasoline prices continues. The oil release could be seen as a way for the president to take credit for gas prices that are falling anyway, or as an indirect, pre-election stimulus.

Whatever the rationale, it is a bad idea.

The government should not tap the reserve absent a genuine crisis. America consumes much more oil than it produces, and by using the petroleum reserve, it can’t expect to do anything but nudge oil prices, and only for a short time…