Pelosi Gets Feisty
Future House Speaker Pelosi, on gas prices:
If you want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and therefore improve our national security situation, you can't do it if you're a Republican because you are too wedded to the oil companies. We have two oilmen in the white house. The logical follow-up from that is $3 a gallon gasoline. There is no accident. Tt is a cause and effect. A cause and effect. How dare the president of the United States make a speech today in April, many, many, many months after the american people have had to undergo the cost of home heating oil. A woman told me she almost fainted when she received her home heating bill over this Winter. And when so many people making the minimum wage, which hasn't been raised in eight years, which has a very low purchasing power have to go out and buy gasoline at these prices? Where have you been, Mr. president? The middle class squeeze is on, competition in our country is affected by the price of energy and of oil and all of a sudden you take a trip outside of Washington, see the fact that the public is outraged about this, come home and make a speech, let's see that matched in your budget, let's see that matched in your policy, let's see that matched in and you're separating yourselves yourself from your patron, big oil, cut yourself off from that anvil holding your party down and this country down, instead of coming to Washington and throwing your Republican colleagues under the wheels of the train, which they mightily deserve for being a rubber stamp for your obscene, corrupt policy of ripping off the american people.
This is a great rant because it appeals to common sense, that's why it's so great. "Two oilmen in the White House." This is something that people not attuned to politics tend to forget unless they're reminded. It is no accident that politicians wedded to Big Oil put in policies that maximize Big Oil's profits at the expense of (indeed, with the total indifference to) the public.
Great job by Nancy. She's held the caucus together on a lot of crucial votes. The next step is to foreground the Democratic plan for energy independence, which does exist. There is a plan, there is a vision, but beyond this tough talk (which is needed) that plan has to come forward.
UPDATE: Incidentally, there's a great series over at Kos called "Energize America," a kind of Wikipedia for energy policy that has come up with some great proposals. The goal generally is to make America the leader in renewable technology, equipment, and production, reducing oil imports in the process. Anyone that thinks the Democrats don't have any ideas needs to take a look at this page. These kind of smart legislative solutions are going to continue to bubble from the bottom up. An active and engaged constituency will eventually lead where the politicians will have no choice but to follow.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Just got an email from Harry Reid touting Sen. Menendez' bill to suspend the gas tax for 60 days, which he says would lower prices at the pump by 18 cents, and pay for it by repealing the tax breaks for Big Oil. It's a nice theory, but it's a temporary solution. Plus, what would stop the oil companies from then raising prices, precisely by 18 cents, to make up for their reduction in revenue as a result of the “tax increase”? I agree that tax breaks for Big Oil should be repealed, but Menendez’ idea sounds like a shell game to me, with even more revenue going back to Big Oil after they raise prices. They can always loophole their way back into the tax breaks.
What is good is that Democrats are offering solutions to these problems. I hope they keep at it, and that they get a fair hearing in the media.