NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The press release issued late on Wednesday by the White House previewing President Obama's appearance at the Cushing, Okla. oil hub on Thursday doesn't make for an entertaining read. It's also hard to imagine that it will shift the debate about high gas prices. Earlier in the day, when the market drove up the price of WTI crude oil, at least in part based on the expectation that the Cushing Pipeline - running from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast - would move full speed ahead, Republicans downplayed the White House offensive as a game of strategic misdirection. The grand prize, the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, which would connect the Cushing Pipeline to the oil riches of Canada and North Dakota, still isn't moving anywhere, caught up in the contentious battle between big money political interests on both sides of the aisle.
The pain-at-the-pump election year issue is not likely to be decided by a wonky discussion of bureaucratic processes.
Leaving that political fracas aside, the White House plan to convince Americans that it understands the pain-at-the-pump and has the consumer's back sure didn't read as such in the mind-numbing, bureaucracy-bundled words that are to be on Obama's lips at Cushing. Here's a glimpse of the Executive Order on Improving Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects: "Because many permitting and review decisions for significant infrastructure projects involve multiple Federal agencies, the Executive Order sets up a Steering Committee chaired by the Office of Management and Budget's Chief Performance Officer and composed of relevant Federal agencies and directs it to develop a Federal government-wide plan by the end of May that includes clear deliverables and timelines for reducing the amount of time it takes to make permitting and review decisions. This Federal Plan will institutionalize permitting and review improvements like conducting permitting analyses and reviews concurrently rather than sequentially to eliminate duplication; enhancing coordination with State, local, and tribal governments; engaging early with stakeholders; and using information technology to replace outdated paperwork." Is it just me, or how can a plan so laden in bureaucratic speak possibly connect with voters? It helps little in my estimation, if it is the White House goal to gain the upper hand in the debate over gas prices, when the White House adds, "The Executive Order will significantly reduce the amount of time it takes the Federal government to make permitting and review decisions for infrastructure projects such as roads and surface transportation, aviation, ports and waterways, water resource projects, renewable energy generation, electricity transmission, broadband, and pipelines." It took me so long to get to this summation paragraph that the last thing on my mind was anything about being on any fast track.