IS THERE SOMEONE TO BLAME FOR HIGH GAS PRICES? YOU BET YOUR ASS THERE IS!
"A Texas oil man becomes President, and the price of gas triples. Why should anyone be surprised by that? And when will people learn?"
-Alan Grayson, progressive candidate for Congress from Orlando, Florida
One of Blue America's most successful projects in the last cycle was to help North Carolina Democrat Larry Kissell make the very visceral point to voters in his district that the Bush-Cheney energy agenda led directly to much higher prices at the gas pump. Nervous that voters will continue to turn against the GOP as gas continues on its predictable surge towards $5/gallon, Republican hacks Miss McConnell and John Cornyn, are trying, desperately, to preempt the attacks they know are coming.
"Mr. President, on another issue," hissssed Miss McConnell on the Senate floor today, "two years ago today the Democrats announced they had a commonsense plan to lower gas prices. When Democrats took over control of Congress last January, the average price of a gallon of gasoline was $2.32. Today it's $3.53, according to AAA. Apparently, their commonsense plan is not working as intended. In fact, since taking control of Congress last year, Democrats not only failed to deliver on their promise to lower gas prices, they have repeatedly pushed for policies that would not lower but raise prices at the pump."
One of the very first things Cheney did after he and Bush stole the election in 2000 was to assemble a still secret conclave of oil and gas industry executives and tell them that in return for underwriting GOP electoral efforts they could write the Bush Regime energy policies. Which is what they did and which is precisely why I spent $53.75 yesterday to fill up the same car that used to cost me $20-something dollars to fill up. On December 16, 2003 the L.A. Times wrote that "the Sierra Club, an environmental group, and Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest group, sued Cheney, contending that as head of the energy task force he had violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, which generally requires open meetings whenever outsiders offer advice to high government officials. During the litigation, Cheney refused to turn over documents detailing who met with his energy task force, and he has argued that the Constitution forbids private lawyers from asking for the information."
Bush and Cheney worked on energy policy with the ultimate scam outfit, their heroes at Enron, another Republican Culture of Corruption operation that transferred billions of dollars from average Americans into the pockets of a wealthy few-- including the Bush family-- and into the campaign warchests of the GOP. All the way back in 2002 the NY Times was already sounding the alarm about how Bush and Cheney were setting up one of the biggest rip-offs in American history: "Enron representatives met six times with Vice President Cheney or his aides on the nation's energy policy, including a discussion in mid-October just before the company's sudden collapse. In a letter to Congress, vice presidential counsel David Addington disclosed the number of meetings between the Bush White House and the former energy giant whose CEO, Ken Lay, has been among President Bush's top political supporters. One of the meetings between Lay and Cheney occurred on April 17 to discuss 'energy policy matters, including the energy crisis in California.' The day after meeting with Lay, Cheney said the Bush administration would not support price caps on wholesale energy sales in California."
But the most outrageous symptom of Miss McConnell's screaming hypocrisy is how he has personally obstructed-- with narrow partisan filibusters-- every bipartisan and Democratic initiative that has tried to deal with the energy crisis. McConnell has been a far greater danger to this country than Osama bin-Laden could ever wish for. In the middle of last December, for example, McConnell successfully filibustered and killed "an amendment that would require new corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards of 35 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks, and require 36 billion gallons of biofuels to be blended with gasoline by 2022. It also would direct the Energy Department to set new energy efficiency standards." This was just a week after Miss McConnell successfully led a Republican filibuster on amendments "to the bill that would require new corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards of 35 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks, and require 36 billion gallons of biofuels to be blended with gasoline by 2022. It would require electric utilities to produce at least 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020 and direct the Energy Department to set new energy efficiency standards. It also includes a $21.5 billion package of tax incentives that would be offset in part by eliminating or reducing $13 billion in subsidies for major oil and gas companies." And six months earlier (June 21, 2007), the same Miss McConnell-- and I'm talking about the reactionary gay closet queen from Kentucky here, not some other Miss McConnell-- successfully led a filibuster of right wing Republican obstructionists on an amendment by conservative, business-oriented Democrat Max Baucus which sought to "establish $32.1 billion of tax incentives for alternative energy sources while imposing taxes on the oil and gas industry. It would create $3.6 billion worth of renewable energy bonds, establish $11 billion in tax incentives for renewable energy and authorize $2.5 billion for the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act. The substitute would overhaul national energy policies including requiring the annual use of 15 billion gallons of biofuels by 2015, increasing the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 and making petroleum price gouging a federal crime in a "national energy emergency." It would also encourage carbon sequestration research, require the federal government to purchase 15 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015 and direct the State Department to pursue strategic partnerships with major energy-consuming and energy-producing nations."
Mitch McConnell is the living, breathing, lisping embodiment of Republican hypocrisy. The GOP has one proposal to high gas prices: more tax cuts and subsidies for robber baron oil companies. Nicole over at Crooks & Liars nailed House Republicans today for the same bad faith demonstrated by McConnell. She posted a great video of "Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) railing against the Republican special interests that prevent any real progress from being made on getting control over skyrocketing fuel prices and huge profits being realized by oil companies while consumers struggle with high fuel costs." Watch:
I think every one of our Blue America endorsees, like Alan Grayson up top, has been attacking their rubber stamp opponents for being on the Big Oil dole while voting for the Big Oil agenda. Retired Navy Commander Eric Massa, who is running against Randy Kuhl, a garden variety GOP lemming in an economically hard-pressed upstate New York district, has been hammering Kuhl for being one of Congress' worst Big Oil pawns. "Randy Kuhl and George W. Bush refuse to take responsibility for our skyrocketing gas prices. Exxon-Mobil has been raking in billions of dollars while middle class families are struggling to fill up their tanks just to get to work. Randy Kuhl has voted to continue corporate welfare handouts for Big Oil, and I think this is the wrong direction. I continue to reject corporate contributions while Randy Kuhl has taken $29,600 from Big Oil-- it is clearly time to change the way things are done in Washington." Kuhl continues getting wingnut welfare from Big Oil and voting for what they want. 293 Blue America supporters have sent in donations through our ActBlue page to help Eric continue to get his message out. And, Alan, a newer Blue America candidate has 76 donors on our site. Would you consider being #294 or #77?
While you think about it, why not contemplate how high oil prices could go with a president like John McCain and congressmembers like Randy Kuhl and Ric Keller? Here's a little oil-Republican-contemplative music courtesy of Richard Butler and his psychedelic friends: