By now, Mitt Romney's rampant hypocrisy is pretty well-documented. He's attacked President Obama for providing women with the very same access to contraception and preventive care that Romney did as governor. He rails against federal spending and earmarks even though he happily solicited and received $1.3 billion from the taxpayers so he could claim to have rescued the Olympic games.
So it's not altogether surprising that two of Romney's current favorite lines of attack against the President—gas prices and light bulbs—could also be an attack on the job he did as Massachusetts governor.
Let's start with gas prices.
Republicans like Romney have been trying to score political points off rising costs at the pump. What they're not telling you as they attack the President is that oil prices are largely out of the control of domestic policy. The price of crude oil is set on the world market and is affected by things like soaring global demand from China and India and instability in the Middle East. So even though domestic oil development is at an eight-year high, we can't just drill our way to lower gas prices.
Romney, however, is placing the blame squarely on the President's shoulders. He would have you believe that the Obama administration is "on a mission to drive up the price of gasoline and all energy." Beyond the mendacity, that kind of statement is a huge departure from Romney's rhetoric and actions as Massachusetts governor. The New Republic reports that back then, Romney said spikes in the price of gas were a natural result of global market pressures. Upon taking office, Romney increased a tax on gas by 400 percent—and rejected a suspension of the gas tax in the midst of a price spike: "I don't think that now is the time, and I'm not sure there will be the right time for us to encourage the use of more gasoline. I'm very much in favor of people recognizing that these high gasoline prices are probably here to stay." And like President Obama, he called for increases in fuel efficiency.
So while President Obama is doing everything in his power to help families with the cost of gas, the latest Romney political incarnation opposes increasing fuel-efficiency standards and wants to repeal the reforms that prevent corporations from manipulating the energy market.
He's also become opposed to light bulb efficiency. Romney's been getting applause at speeches and rallies for claiming that President Obama has banned "Thomas Edison's light bulb." So blatantly false, it's a line that's received "three Pinocchios" from the Washington Post fact checker. It was President Bush who signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 after the bill passed both houses of Congress with major bipartisan support. Instead of banning the incandescent light bulb, the law requires bulbs to meet new efficiency standards—a win for both consumers and environmental advocates, since these new standards will save billions of dollars in electricity costs and reduce carbon emissions.
As Massachusetts governor, Romney understood that. He actively pushed for more energy-efficient light bulbs. In 2005, he signed into law a $600 tax credit for the purchase of energy-efficient products, including lamps. Just one year earlier, he pledged to encourage energy efficiency standards, noting that improvements to lighting efficiency "offers a significant opportunity for the state and for municipalities to save energy and money."
Talk about talking out of both sides of your mouth. Time and again, Romney shows no shame in taking both sides of a position—it's up to us to make sure he doesn't Etch A Sketch away his blatant hypocrisy.