on Oil Drilling
Is it too much to ask Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to conduct themselves and their party honorably in the energy debate?
The closer you look at the Democrats' conduct in the oil drilling controversy, the more deceitful and dishonest it looks.
That's the clear and unmistakable message that comes through in a scathing and impassioned article by Joel Himelfarb, writing for Family Security Matters.
The mantra from Barack Obama and congressional Democrat leaders is that they represent "change" - and when it comes to gas prices, they certainly have a point. The cost to heat and air-condition American homes is certainly "changing" in very negative ways for the American consumer, as is the cost of getting to work or taking a trip with the family.
As Himelfarb writes, there is no denying the ideological nature of the Democrats. Their lack of constructive action on drilling comes not from an "if-they-only-knew" obtuseness. Rather, the Democrat leadership knows exactly what they are doing, and is wedding to a course of action which is deeply inimical to the energy needs of the country's economy.
The Democrat Party ... is controlled by elitists who think they can profit politically by demagoguing against oil companies and commodities traders and making empty threats to induce OPEC to produce more. In reality, their policies would ensure that Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez and corrupt government officials and pipeline saboteurs in Nigeria cement their power to send American energy prices sky-high.
Republicans as the minority party, have at last seized the political advantage on drilling. In making their case to the public, they have shed much-needed light on the machinations of the Democrats. And what that light reveals is both shocking and disgusting.
For example, on January 29, 2007, when gas was $2.22 per gallon, Congress voted on "Congratulating the U.C. Santa Barbara Soccer Team." On September 5, 2007, when the price had risen to $2.84, "it was "National Passport Month." By February 6, 2008, ($3.03), Congress was voting on "Commending the Houston Dynamo Soccer Team." On May 14th, the issue was "National Train Day," ($3.77) and on May 20th it was "Great Cats and Rare Canids Act" ($3.84). By June 10th, with the price at $4.09, Congress was considering the "International Year of Sanitation" and by June 17th, having pushed the price up to $4.14, the great change agents on Capitol Hill were discussing the "Monkey Safety Act."
To their credit, House and Senate Republicans appear to have found their voice on the energy issue: contrasting their efforts to support offshore oil drilling and exploration in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) with the Democrat leadership's efforts to block it at every turn. House Minority Leader John Boehner and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell have spent the past two months doing everything possible to show the link between the Democrat leadership's intransigent opposition to drilling and the crushing burden of higher energy prices the American people.
The Democrats have come under enormous public pressure to end a painful and utterly unnecessary crisis of their own making. Sadly, as Himelfarb shows, they have chosen to respond in a way that promises only to prolong the crisis and bring further discredit upon themselves.
The Democrat Leadership in Congress has embarked on a two-part strategy to pretend to support drilling while continuing the status quo - that is, continuing to carry water for the radical environmentalists. Before the Congress left town on a five-week break, the Democrats pushed though the House an energy bill titled the "Drill Responsibly in Leased Lands (Drill) Act." The bill doesn't open new lands to exploration. Instead of opening ANWR, which contains known reserves of 10.6 billion barrels, it opens something called the National Petroleum Reserve (NPR), which contains an estimated 10.4 billion barrels. But a careful examination of the Democrat bill shows it to be laden with booby traps.
We've reached a point in the energy debate where no trust can be placed in any Democrat proposal. Everything they say and do has to be looked at with a microscope. Their latest energy bill is no exception:
For one thing, it contains boilerplate language mandating that oil leasing be done in an in an "environmentally responsible manner" (ill-defined wording that sounds reasonable but in reality will ensure that environmentalist lawyers keep the issue tied up in litigation for years)
Is it any surprise that Barack Obama is implicated in the deceit which is woven into the heart of this bill, the Democrats' much-touted "Use It or Lose It" gambit?
... the Democrat bill contains language that Obama, Reid and the entire Democrat Party have embraced that would cripple new exploration: so-called "use it or lose it" language which bars the government from issuing any new exploration or production leases unless the applicant can certify to lawyers' and judges' satisfaction that every lease currently held is being "diligently developed."
Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann supplies a pin-point demolition of the insane logic behind "Use It or Lose It":
"In the real world," Rep. Bachmann notes, "forcing companies to 'use' their leases immediately or lose them means making exploration more cost-prohibitive. It will ensure that less exploration will take place. It's akin to forcing a pharmaceutical company to develop a cure for cancer in some arbitrary number of years or else lose the ability to seek the cure."
Himelfarb's conclusion is stark:
...in a nutshell, that's exactly what the Democrat Party's energy solution is: offering phony "solutions" and "compromises" which guarantee that new drilling never takes place and that OPEC and hostile foreign powers remain in the drivers seat - and betting that the American people are to dumb to catch on.
The Democrat leadership, defiant and duplicitous to the bitter end, leaves Republicans with no choice but to press on without compromise. Democrats are not our partners. They do not share our goals. Because they will spare nothing in advancing their vision of a diminished, impoverished America, we can spare nothing in advancing ours: an empowered and growing America. Achieving this will, it appears, require the complete and unconditional defeat of the Democrats on this issue. There is no other way.
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