by Jonathan Singer, Sat Apr 22, 2006 at 06:32:42 AM EDT
Reading through an article on the soaring energy prices in CQ Today's Midday Update (a free email service) yesterday, a key fact jumped out at me.
The escalating pump prices, less than a year after the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (PL 109-58) was enacted to establish a national energy policy, puts the Bush administration and Republican congressional leadership in a political bind. An ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted April 6-9 found that 74 percent of Americans disapprove of the way President Bush is handling gasoline prices. While Republican-backed proposals to boost long-term domestic petroleum supplies remain stalled in Congress, the options for doing anything that would impact short-term gasoline prices are limited. [emphasis added]
As President Bush, stumping in California this weekend, tries to distract Americans' attention away from gasoline prices in excess of $3 a gallon by pushing a nostrum called hydrogen, let's not forget for one second that the White House and the Do Nothing Republican Congress had ample opportunity to address America's very real energy crisis in last year's energy bill. While the times called for the insertion of language that might either lead to a short-term decrease in the price of oil or help wean the country off of Middle East petroleum in the long term, the Republicans instead wrote legislation to help pad the wallets of their energy industry allies. Talk about dereliction of duty.
This abysmal record on energy gets to the heart of one of the major problems with Republican rule over Washington. Earlier this week over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall asked his readers to think of a single instance in which President Bush took action that in the short run was perceived to be politically-unwise but would be vindicated in the long term. Thusfar neither Josh nor his readers have come up with an example to fit the constraints of the question, and the Republican "Energy Reform" certainly doesn't.
By passing an energy bill last year, the Republicans gave the public the impression that they were actually concerned about the very imminent gas crunch. But less than one year later, we can already see that the bloated and expensive bill did little to nothing to alleviate either the immediate or systemic problems facing the America's energy supply.
To be fair, the Republicans cannot solely be blamed for the rising gas prices as increased worldwide demand undoubtedly has put an unbearable strain on the international market. That said, they cannot be absolved by the market either. And as voters become increasingly less happy with their tab at the local gas station, they must come to understand that respite can come with a vote for a Democrat on November 7.