Sometime last week I started thinking about a potential blog post that would discuss the rising cost of gas and how that affects who I may vote for President. That’s largely because I am one of the countless parents who uses their car to put their baby to sleep. Five days a week I throw baby G in his car seat around mid-morning and drive south until he passes out. It’s the only way to get him to sleep without me holding him and that precious hour while he does so is one of the most productive periods of my day. I make calls, I write, clean, whatever.
Some days G falls asleep before we get to the top of the hill but that is rare, most of the time it’s a 15 minute round trip. That may not seem like much, but when you have such little funds that you only put $10 in the gas tank at a time, it all adds up, or rather subtracts. So I began to think how I might vote for President based on who can keep gas the cheapest.
Then on Sunday the New York Times ran an article titled Rising Gas Prices Give G.O.P. Issue to Attack Obama. “A gallon of gas had dropped to $1.89 when Mr. Obama took office in 2009, in large part because of the fall in oil demand caused by the financial crisis, and has almost doubled since,” it said. “Iran’s recent warnings of a disruption in the global oil trade have pushed the price of a barrel of domestic oil to more than $103, a six-month high and up about 34 percent since September. That has helped drive the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States to $3.52, a 30-cent increase in the past two months. It is already approaching $4 in some places.”
In my area it was $3.55 when I stopped on Sunday to put $12 in the tank. That is something I feel directly, as I will have to stop today and spend more money on gas. If a candidate for president were to directly speak to this problem it would catch my ear. Yet another Republican debate is being held tonight, and if one of the remaining players were to look at the camera and say, “All you stay-at-home parents, I know the cost of gas is draining your bank account. If I’m elected president, I will do something about that.”
Yet, if Republicans do mention it, it will likely only be to attack Obama. In that case, I won’t be able to take it too seriously. Under George W. Bush the cost of gas rose 272 percent from $1 something when he started to over $4 sometime in 2008, before falling precipitously as our economy crashed. The price of oil seems directly tied to tension in the Middle East, and most Republican candidates seem primed to start a war there again, this time with Iran. For instance, Rick Santorum recently used similar talk to that employed before the advent of the Iraq War, saying on NBC’s Meet the Press: “I would be working openly with the state of Israel and I would be saying to the Iranians, you either open up those facilities, you begin to dismantle them and make them available to inspectors or we will degrade those facilities through air strikes–and make it very public that we are doing that.”
Sadly, Obama is not handling the situation much better–and likely won’t, if the past represents the future–so it looks like I will not be able to vote for either major party candidate unless something drastic happens. What if we stay-at-home parents were to unite and demand action? We could pledge to vote for the candidate who will look out for our interests and reduce the cost of living for those of us who are harboring the next generation of Americans. If not, I am casting my vote elsewhere. Is Nader running in 2012?
An article in the New York Times today reports on a study that found that the more time men spend caring for their children the more their testosterone drops. Lest we men who watch our kids full-time feel any more depressed, the article tries to reassure us that their findings are actually a positive. “The real take-home message,” says some Harvard professor, is that “male parental care is important. It’s important enough that it’s actually shaped the physiology of men.”
That actually is kind of fascinating but not necessarily what I want to hear. I think it’s hard for a lot of stay-at-home dads to deal with occupying what was traditionally seen as a woman’s place in the home. I know I have at times, I’m not saying that it’s right, but there are times when I feel like I should be out there being the manly breadwinner. Now, the notion that I am actually morphing physically takes it to an altogether different level. Damn.