As recently as last month, Raphael Warnock was saying “the most important thing we can do this Congress” is a federal takeover of our elections.
…and then he read the polling data.
Now, as Warnock tours Georgia pretending to care about a politically-motivated gas tax bill panned by economists and experts as “gimmicky” and a “stunt,” it’s helpful to remember how we got here. Warnock has been saying one thing:
- Warnock: “This is the most important thing that we can do this Congress. And no matter what else we do, if we fail to get this done, we will have failed in the trust that the people have given to us.” (Ailsa Chang, Connor Donevan, and Courtney Dorning, “Sen. Warnock says voting rights legislation is a moral issue,” NPR, 1/6/22) MIN 6:53
- Warnock: “The most important thing that we can do this Congress is to get voting rights done.”(“Senator Warnock Calls for Senate Rules Change to Pass Voting Rights Legislation,” C-SPAN, 12/14/21) MIN 18:00
But voters clearly disagree:
- Gallup, January 2022: Only 1% of respondents say “elections/election reform” is the most important problem facing the country today. 23% say “the government/poor leadership,” 8% say inflation/costs, 6% say economy in general, 8% say another specific economic issue.
- Pew, January 2022: 71% of respondents say “strengthening the economy” should be a top priority, compared with 52% who say “improving the political system”
- AP-NORC, December 2021: 68% of respondents say the economy is an important issue for the government to address in 2022 (14% specifically say inflation), compared with 6% who say “Voting laws/voter fraud/voting issues”
And the kicker? Voters are blaming the Democrats and Joe Biden for their pain:
- YouGov/Yahoo News, February 2022: 52% of respondents disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy
- CNBC/Change Research, December 2021: 38% of respondents blame Biden for the rising prices of goods, more than any other response. 72% disapprove of his handling of the price of goods, 66% disapprove of his handling of “helping your wallet,” 60% disapprove of his handling of the economy.
- Fox Business, December 2021: 47% of voters believe Biden is hurting efforts to get inflation under control
Hence, Warnock’s half-baked bill. But experts all agree: this bill is for optics’ sake and won’t meaningfully reduce the pain at the pump voters are feeling:
- Former Obama Treasury official Gilbert Metcalf said, “the bulk of the tax cut will not be going to consumers…” (Mike Dorning, “Democrats’ Muscle-Flexing on Inflation Meets Reality and There’s No Easy Fix,” Bloomberg, 2/17/22)
- Larry Summers called the idea of a gas tax holiday “short-sighted, ineffective, goofy, and gimmicky.” (Tony Room and Jeff Stein, “White House, congressional Democrats eye federal gas tax holiday as prices remain high, election looms,” The Washington Post, 2/15/22)
- House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) said “Suspending the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax is not going to give consumers significant relief—if any at all.” (Jessica Wehrman, “Bill to suspend gas tax is panned by transport groups,” Roll Call, 2/17/22)
- Bill Sullivan of the American Trucking Association said the proposal “seems driven by short-term political interest and poorly targeted to relieve the drivers of fuels and other inflation.” (Jessica Wehrman, “Bill to suspend gas tax is panned by transport groups,” Roll Call, 2/17/22)
The moral of the story: Warnock is caught between a rock and a hard place of his own creation by voting for reckless big-spending Democratic bills that kickstarted inflation. His latest stunt on the gas tax should be regarded as nothing more than a transparent attempt to sidestep accountability for the pain he has inflicted on everyday Georgians.
“Raphael Warnock is just another typical Washington politician who says whatever he thinks voters want to hear. Unfortunately for him Georgians are fed up, they see through his transparent campaign stunt, and they are ready to hold him accountable at the ballot box for wrecking family budgets across the state.” -SLF Communications Director Jack Pandol