Reid, Pelosi redeploy over the event horizon on gas prices
posted at 9:59 am on August 1, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
Congress has adjourned, and normally that would cause great rejoicing among the multitudes who fear for their life, liberty, and property. Unfortunately, in this case, Congress failed to take necessary action to end our dependence on foreign sources of energy as well as reverse the huge price increases on fuel through boosting American supply. As the Wall Street Journal points out, this is not benign neglect, but malicious inaction in preventing a majority from adopting common-sense policy:
Hell — otherwise known as Congress — has officially frozen over. For the first time since the 1950s, Members will skip town today for the August recess without either chamber having passed a single appropriations bill. Then again, Democrats appear ready to sacrifice their whole agenda, even spending, rather than allow new domestic energy production.
Or even a mere debate about energy. The Democratic leadership is stonewalling any measure that might possibly relax the Congressional ban on offshore drilling. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid know that they would lose if a vote ever came to the floor, and they’re desperate to suppress an insurrection among those Democrats who are pragmatic about one of the top economic issues. Behind this whatever-it-takes obstructionism is an ideological commitment to high energy prices. The rulers of the Democratic Party want prices to keep rising. …
Normally, the spending hiatus would be a useful byproduct of Congressional bickering. But in this case the shutdown is malign neglect. Surging energy prices act like a huge tax increase on the economy, since energy demand is relatively fixed over the short term. The price spike is imposing genuine hardships on middle-income and working-class voters across the country.
The Democratic leadership isn’t oblivious to this man-at-the-pump reality. But Al Gore’s vision of the apocalyptic tides of climate change perfectly expresses their mentality: Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid see soaring prices as a public good — the mechanism that will force energy enlightenment on the U.S. If anything, they think the price of gas is too low. As recently as June, the Senate debated a multitrillion-dollar carbon tax-and-regulation scheme that was designed to boost energy costs. A new version will be a priority in the next Administration.
The carbon regulation scheme wasn’t the only example of Democratic efforts to raise the costs of fuel even further. James Oberstar (D-MN) proposed raising the federal gas tax another ten cents per gallon, purportedly to cover a deficit in the highway fund. However, while calling on Americans to sacrifice to cover that deficit, porksters like Oberstar had larded up transportation bills with earmarks well in excess of the deficit.
Translation: We need to sacrifice so Oberstar and his cronies can get their pork.
But that’s not the real reason why Democrats wanted to see the prices go up on energy. Barack Obama himself hinted at it during an interview:
It’s not just about reducing demand and environmental concerns. They want the price to keep escalating so that they can spend billions of dollars on pet mass-transportation projects, as well as impose more and more government control over energy production. Maxine Waters and Maurice Hinchey made the mistake of explicitly revealing this during Congressional hearings on gas prices, but it’s the direction in which Democrats have headed since the Malaise Speech, 31 years ago.
Democrats want to maximize the pain felt at the pump and at the grocery store in order to make Americans mad enough to support their vision of nationalized energy production and energy rationing. However, the Democrats apparently didn’t count on the rise being as rapid or as enlightening as it became. While Reid and Pelosi demonized oil companies, Americans quickly understood who the real villains are — the Democrats who have blocked domestic oil production for more than a generation.
Reid and Pelosi didn’t block these votes because they’re winning; they blocked them because they’ve lost. The adjournment is a retreat, an attempt to get around the fact that they belong to shrinking minority of Cassandras who shriek about global warming as a cover for their true designs on energy. If Americans continue awakening from their slumber, it could be their last retreat.