PDA

View Full Version : GOP Fears Gas Price Anger May Spill Over


Brock
08-25-2005, 10:09 AM
GOP Fears Gas Price Anger May Spill Over By Richard Simon and Mary Curtius Times Staff Writers
Thu Aug 25, 7:55 AM ET



WASHINGTON — As consumers feel pain at the pump, record high gas prices are registering as a political problem with congressional Republicans.

At a town hall meeting this week, Rep. Jack Kingston (news, bio, voting record) (R-Ga.) wanted to talk about Social Security and Medicare, but the session quickly turned to gas prices.

When Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (news, bio, voting record) (R-W.Va.) toured a Veterans Affairs clinic Wednesday, the first question put to her was: "What are you going to do about the high price of gasoline?"

And a growing number of GOP officials worry that, as the party in power, Republicans will pay their own high price — at the ballot box. They are scrambling to find ways to respond.

"People are mad as hell," Sen. Lindsey Graham (news, bio, voting record) (R-S.C.) said.

Oil prices, which hit an all-time high Wednesday, and gasoline prices are expected to be top items on the agenda when Congress returns from its monthlong recess after Labor Day.

As one of its first orders of business, the Senate will hold a hearing to examine the causes of the price increases, and oil executives might be summoned to testify.

"You can safely predict, with more accuracy than any TV weatherman, that the first blizzard of the year will be the blizzard of gas price legislation introduced this September when Congress comes back to town," said Stuart Roy, a former House GOP leadership aide.

But it is unclear what lawmakers can do to reduce gas prices in the short term — and whether voters will accept the argument that they have few tools to provide immediate relief.

"We should be nervous," said Kingston, vice chairman of the House Republican Conference.

Polls show that the public blames politicians — after oil companies and foreign oilproducing countries — for the high prices. A Harris Poll released Wednesday found that Americans ranked gas prices among the top five issues for the government to address. Compounding the problem for the GOP, Democrats are spotlighting fuel costs in their campaign to wrest control of Congress.

Republican candidates facing tough races in 2006 should be worried, said Tony Fabrizio, a Republican political consultant.

"If I were a guy in a marginal race, I would be all over the oil companies," he said. "I'd be getting ahead of the curve right now, hauling them before my committee, holding hearings throughout my state — maybe introducing legislation to cap their CEO salaries."

Rep. Christopher Shays (news, bio, voting record) (R-Conn.) predicted: "When [voters] start to see that this is not the end but the beginning [of high prices], they are going to be kind of harsh."

He said he had been hearing complaints from constituents this summer and expected them to intensify.

Gas this week reached a record nationwide average of $2.61 for a gallon for self-serve regular, according to AAA. Experts project that oil prices will remain above $55 a barrel through next year.

Republicans "still have the majority," Shays said. "We still get to set the agenda. I'm very concerned. Under our watch, we're seeing this happening."

Republicans have been considering not only what to do about gas prices but how to talk about them. GOP pollster Frank Luntz said Republicans should argue more effectively to the public that the recently passed energy bill would eventually bring down prices by increasing supply.

That legislation — the first overhaul of national energy policy in more than a decade — offers tax breaks and other incentives to spur production and to encourage consumers to buy cars that are more fuel-efficient. It also aims to diversify domestic energy supplies.

"If Republicans explain that the legislation takes time to have an impact, they're inoculated" from the political risk of sustained high prices, Luntz said. "The only way Democrats can get an advantage on gas prices is to show that their policies would bring them down. It is not enough to blame Republicans; you need a solution."

Still, an increasing number of Republicans say Congress needs to do more.

Backers of President Bush's longtime goal of opening a portion of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy exploration hope that the high prices will prod Congress to give final approval to the drilling measure, perhaps as early as next month.

Opponents of Arctic drilling argue that it would take years to tap the oil, and that the amount of oil beneath the tundra has been exaggerated.

Congress members are also expected to push to let states opt out of a decades-long moratorium on new offshore oil drilling.

Some Republicans have joined Democrats in calling on Bush to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. But Bush adamantly opposes using oil from the nation's emergency stockpile except in a national security crisis. The Republican chairman of the Senate Energy Committee has argued that the gas price drop was negligible when President Clinton tapped the reserve in 2000.

Such measures are aimed at increasing the supply of gas and oil. Republicans are showing less enthusiasm for proposals to reduce demand. Although the Bush administration this week did propose higher fuel mileage standards for most sport utility vehicles, pickups and minivans, some lawmakers and activists say the government could require even more fuel efficiency without sacrificing safety or auto performance.

Rep. Joe L. Barton (R-Texas), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that with gas above $2.50 a gallon in Texas, his constituents were complaining plenty about prices. But when he lists for people the possible short-term fixes — "price controls, mandatory carpooling, lowering speed limits — they say, 'No, we're not for that.'

"People would love to be paying about half what they're paying for gasoline, but they're not willing to subject themselves to the loss of personal freedom and convenience that that would require," Barton said.

The executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Steven Nadel, said many lawmakers hesitated to adopt ideas for reducing gasoline demand because they were philosophically opposed to government intervention in the market.

In addition, he said, some fear that attack ads might say, "Senator so-and-so is trying to take away your pickup truck," because the auto industry asserts that significantly tougher fuel-economy standards would lead to lighter, less-safe vehicles.

Lawmakers also are jittery because of the limits on what they can do to bring down prices.

"Unfortunately, this is a difficult problem that doesn't have an easy solution," said Capito, the West Virginia lawmaker. "People don't want to hear that, and I don't want to say it. But that's the truth."

In an earlier generation, energy problems created trouble for President Carter. But today's situation is different, said John J. Pitney Jr., a former Republican National Committee staff member who teaches government at Claremont McKenna College.

"In the 1970s, many people believed in price controls and the breakup of the oil companies," he said. "Those ideas have fallen out of favor. Back then, there were urban legends about oil-filled tankers anchored just over the horizon, waiting until shortages drove prices up. This time, there doesn't seem to be an obvious target. Any politician who tried to scapegoat SUV drivers would soon find a district office full of angry soccer moms and NASCAR dads."

Some GOP strategists say they don't see any greater risk for Republicans than for Democratic incumbents.

"I think anybody in office — Republican or Democrat — is somewhat concerned, because, unlike a lot of other big issues out there, this one impacts people where they care about it most, and that's their pocketbook," said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Carl Forti.

Barton, the House Energy Committee chairman, said complaints about high prices were hard to escape.

Because his car has a congressional license plate, people have come up to him and asked, "Are you Congressman Barton?" But with public irritation so high, he said, "My temptation is to say, 'No, I'm just working for him.' "

Bowser
08-25-2005, 10:16 AM
A buddy of mine owns his own business dealing with two way radio repair, and travels a TON. He owns an Expedition to haul all this crap around everywhere, and he said it's costing him $140 a week in gas. Utterly ridiculous.

I don't understand the raising costs of oil, when (I thought) it has been reported that our reserves and stockpiles have never been higher. Are we still blaming China for their increased consumption?

Amnorix
08-25-2005, 10:16 AM
Democrats should pounce on this by emphasizing the recent energy bill. I didn't pay too much attention to it, but my casual understanding was that it gave a tax break to big oil. If not too many Democrats voted in favor of the bill, then it'd be an excellent source of fodder when appealing to the lowest common demoninator of voters.

Realpolitick at work.

Brock
08-25-2005, 10:19 AM
Democrats should pounce on this by emphasizing the recent energy bill. I didn't pay too much attention to it, but my casual understanding was that it gave a tax break to big oil. If not too many Democrats voted in favor of the bill, then it'd be an excellent source of fodder when appealing to the lowest common demoninator of voters.

Realpolitick at work.

It's definitely a huge card to play next year. The question is if the Democrats can get their crap together enough to play it.

Donger
08-25-2005, 10:23 AM
A buddy of mine owns his own business dealing with two way radio repair, and travels a TON. He owns an Expedition to haul all this crap around everywhere, and he said it's costing him $140 a week in gas. Utterly ridiculous.

I don't understand the raising costs of oil, when (I thought) it has been reported that our reserves and stockpiles have never been higher. Are we still blaming China for their increased consumption?

The cost of crude is set by market speculation. They look at everything from supply and demand, to weather, politics, etc.

Add in the fact that our refining capacity is at near 100%, strong demand from us, China and India, and this is what you get.

oldandslow
08-25-2005, 10:25 AM
Americans need to look in the mirror.

We are the cause of high energy prices. We refuse to conserve in any meaningful way. We refuse to change, in any meaningful way, our ways of wasting energy.

To blame this on republicans is idiotic. They are simply doing what they were elected to do. The dems are no better. Neither party wants to show any leadership in this matter.

Energy IS the only issue that matters. And we had better come to grips with that.

Radar Chief
08-25-2005, 10:33 AM
http://www.americanrhetoric.com/images/networkmadashell1.JPG

I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!!

Brock
08-25-2005, 10:37 AM
Well, at least this is a real issue, and not some trumped up BS about outing a CIA undercover receptionist. The Dems really could make some hay with this.

Bowser
08-25-2005, 10:46 AM
Well, at least this is a real issue, and not some trumped up BS about outing a CIA undercover receptionist. The Dems really could make some hay with this.

You're right, but I think you are more right in your first post. The Dems have as much continuity as a fart in a whirlwind right now.

Michael Michigan
08-25-2005, 11:17 AM
Democrats should pounce on this by emphasizing the recent energy bill. I didn't pay too much attention to it, but my casual understanding was that it gave a tax break to big oil. If not too many Democrats voted in favor of the bill, then it'd be an excellent source of fodder when appealing to the lowest common demoninator of voters.

Realpolitick at work.

Dems should have pounced on a lot of things.

WTF is it those folks do exactly?

|Zach|
08-25-2005, 11:19 AM
WTF is it those folks do exactly?
It seems they do enough to make a lot of conservitives around here and other places blame them for the countries problems. :hmmm:

KCTitus
08-25-2005, 11:20 AM
Americans need to look in the mirror.

We are the cause of high energy prices. We refuse to conserve in any meaningful way. We refuse to change, in any meaningful way, our ways of wasting energy.

not quite...

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3947

jiveturkey
08-25-2005, 11:23 AM
Dems should have pounced on a lot of things.

WTF is it those folks do exactly?Pouncing requires cat like abilities.

The Dems more closely resemble 3 toed tree sloths.

StcChief
08-25-2005, 03:03 PM
We are not hearing the 'adjusted for inflation price' story anymore, that gas is still relatively cheap.

Big oil will have to do something given the record profits

Amnorix
08-25-2005, 03:48 PM
Dems should have pounced on a lot of things.

WTF is it those folks do exactly?

Apparently sit around and figure out which mediocre, unelectable candidate they ought to try to run for office. Or, at least, that's what they did last Presidential election.

Donger
08-25-2005, 03:54 PM
We are not hearing the 'adjusted for inflation price' story anymore, that gas is still relatively cheap.

Big oil will have to do something given the record profits

Actually, pretty much every story I've read recently still inserts that fact.

Boyceofsummer
08-25-2005, 11:26 PM
http://www.hbo.com/billmaher/episode/

Chris Rock was obssesed with the high price of gas. Funny muther ****er!

Michael Michigan
08-25-2005, 11:55 PM
Apparently sit around and figure out which mediocre, unelectable candidate they ought to try to run for office. Or, at least, that's what they did last Presidential election.

They are indeed one confused party.

At some point they may want to start listening to the DLC.

As bad as the GOP comes across in polls, they are actually worse.

chappy
08-26-2005, 12:14 AM
we need to drill the sh!t we got up there in that Alaska sh!thole.

alanm
08-26-2005, 12:41 AM
The cost of crude is set by market speculation. They look at everything from supply and demand, to weather, politics, etc.

Add in the fact that our refining capacity is at near 100%, strong demand from us, China and India, and this is what you get.
Refining capacity may be at or near 100% but the lack of refinerys continues to be a problem also. They need to get off their collective asses and start building some new ones and tell the enviormentalists to STFU. Plus rolling back some of the strict fuel regulations which California, for example, has mandated should be shelved.

BigMeatballDave
08-26-2005, 02:20 AM
Refining capacity may be at or near 100% but the lack of refinerys continues to be a problem also. They need to get off their collective asses and start building some new ones and tell the enviormentalists to STFU. Plus rolling back some of the strict fuel regulations which California, for example, has mandated should be shelved.Yep. Liberals scream at Republicans for high fuel prices, and tree-huggers haven't allowed a refinery built since '76...

Otter
08-26-2005, 05:22 AM
we need to drill the sh!t we got up there in that Alaska sh!thole.

Never been to Alaska Eh?

You don't have to answer that.

Radar Chief
08-26-2005, 06:40 AM
http://www.hbo.com/billmaher/episode/

Chris Rock was obssesed with the high price of gas. Funny muther ****er!

I must be missing the part ‘bout gas prices.
This was funny though.

On Bush's Vacation
"I think the more he's away, the less bad he can do." – Chris Rock


Agreed.

jiveturkey
08-26-2005, 07:31 AM
Refining capacity may be at or near 100% but the lack of refinerys continues to be a problem also. They need to get off their collective asses and start building some new ones and tell the enviormentalists to STFU. Plus rolling back some of the strict fuel regulations which California, for example, has mandated should be shelved.Great idea. We'll build the first one in your backyard and pump all of the extra smog from the rolled back California rules into your house. :hmmm:

Brock
08-26-2005, 07:33 AM
Great idea. We'll build the first one in your backyard and pump all of the extra smog from the rolled back California rules into your house. :hmmm:

I'll take the refinery, you can have the smog.

Radar Chief
08-26-2005, 07:39 AM
Great idea. We'll build the first one in your backyard and pump all of the extra smog from the rolled back California rules into your house. :hmmm:

What did they “roll back”?
If they got rid of that MTBE crap, that’s a good thing and won’t effect emissions output much if at all.

jiveturkey
08-26-2005, 07:44 AM
What did they “roll back”?
If they got rid of that MTBE crap, that’s a good thing and won’t effect emissions output much if at all.I was just being a little obnoxious. :)

morphius
08-26-2005, 07:48 AM
Big oil will have to do something given the record profits

Too me that is the real kicker of the whole issue.

Duck Dog
08-26-2005, 08:11 AM
The cost of crude is set by market speculation. They look at everything from supply and demand, to weather, politics, etc.

Add in the fact that our refining capacity is at near 100%, strong demand from us, China and India, and this is what you get.

Not to mention the OPEC is bracing for an unexpected halt in production due to terrorist threats. They want to make up for a possible loss in revenue by over charging now.

I wish the Iraq really was a war for oil. I wouldn't mind a few American flags flying over one of their oil fields.

KCTitus
08-26-2005, 08:13 AM
I wish the Iraq really was a war for oil. I wouldn't mind a few American flags flying over one of their oil fields.

It's ironic...remember when the bats were singing from page 4 of the hymnal, 'war for oil'. They must have ripped out that page.

Duck Dog
08-26-2005, 08:24 AM
It's ironic...remember when the bats were singing from page 4 of the hymnal, 'war for oil'. They must have ripped out that page.


And the lovely hymn from page 5, 'Bush and the Saudi's are in bed'.

KCTitus
08-26-2005, 08:31 AM
And the lovely hymn from page 5, 'Bush and the Saudi's are in bed'.

Another goodie...I could never get the chorus right however. I think it was:

'Bush flew the terrorists families home when all the other planes were grounded' or something like that.

Radar Chief
08-26-2005, 08:34 AM
I was just being a little obnoxious. :)

:thumb:

Duck Dog
08-26-2005, 09:17 AM
Another goodie...I could never get the chorus right however. I think it was:

'Bush flew the terrorists families home when all the other planes were grounded' or something like that.

Was it ironic that Bush sang "I never promised you a rose garden' in the rose garden?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/duckdog/04-26_DU.jpg

KCTitus
08-26-2005, 09:20 AM
Was it ironic that Bush sang "I never promised you a rose garden' in the rose garden?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/duckdog/04-26_DU.jpg

LOL...

PastorMikH
08-26-2005, 09:47 AM
It is good to hear that someone is starting to take notice. If gas prices don't go down - and down considerable, there won't be too many republicans winning elections.

Personally, I think the real issue here is greed. The oil companies are jacking the price for more profit. Why is it that gas prices in Kansas are the same as Oklahoma when there is 20 cents more per gallon tax in Kansas? The oil companies are regulating the prices which tells me they can afford to drop the price if they want to.

Problem is, right now it is gas prices, but if they continue at this high rate, or worse yet, climb more, the price of everything is going to skyrocket. Farmers aren't going to be able to pay their fuel bills which means crop production is going to drop which will drive up the price of food. - Say, there's an idea, those ME countries are dependant upon the countries they sell their oil to for food. How about a coalition that raises the price of grains that get imported into those countries?


What bothers me the most is I have yet to here 1 good reason for the price hikes.

jiveturkey
08-26-2005, 10:04 AM
What bothers me the most is I have yet to here 1 good reason for the price hikes.How about two? India and China.

At least that's what I've read and I can't say that it doesn't make sense. It's a world economy and the world demand is increasing rather quickly.

Adept Havelock
08-26-2005, 10:08 AM
Was it ironic that Bush sang "I never promised you a rose garden' in the rose garden?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/duckdog/04-26_DU.jpg

Awww. They are holding hands. How Sweet. That must be what they mean by Bush's Man-Date.

KCTitus
08-26-2005, 10:46 AM
What bothers me the most is I have yet to here 1 good reason for the price hikes.

This might help explain it...

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3947

As far as gas prices, in the summer months, the EPA regulates what types of gas can be used by which location--different blends cost different. Also, there hasnt been a new refinery built in 30 years--while demand for gas has increased.

alanm
08-26-2005, 12:21 PM
Great idea. We'll build the first one in your backyard and pump all of the extra smog from the rolled back California rules into your house. :hmmm:
Got one close by in Cheyenne. Not a problem. People need to walk and bike more in California anyway. :thumb:

Hydrae
08-26-2005, 04:46 PM
I don't like paying more for gas than anyone else. However, it is like any other commodity. If you don't like the price, don't buy it. Pretty simple if you ask me. That is how a free market is supposed to work. Not relying on the government to "fix" the problem.

Boyceofsummer
08-26-2005, 08:40 PM
Americans need to look in the mirror.

We are the cause of high energy prices. We refuse to conserve in any meaningful way. We refuse to change, in any meaningful way, our ways of wasting energy.

To blame this on republicans is idiotic. They are simply doing what they were elected to do. The dems are no better. Neither party wants to show any leadership in this matter.

Energy IS the only issue that matters. And we had better come to grips with that.

For literally decades now, liberals have championed energy conservation, reducing America's dependence on Middle Eastern oil and alternative fuel. Conservatives, on the other hand, have legislated tax breaks that favor wealthy oil companies, pissed on stiffer emission regulations and tout only the pristine Alaska wilderness as the only oil reserve left to supplement a voracious appetite for fossil fuel. This political wild card will play-out in the next election.

mlyonsd
08-26-2005, 08:47 PM
For literally decades now, liberals have championed energy conservation, reducing America's dependence on Middle Eastern oil and alternative fuel. Conservatives, on the other hand, have legislated tax breaks that favor wealthy oil companies, pissed on stiffer emission regulations and tout only the pristine Alaska wilderness as the only oil reserve left to supplement a voracious appetite for fossil fuel. This political wild card will play-out in the next election.

No, your post is total bullshit.

The dems had total control of both houses and the presidency during the 90's after the Gulf War.

The blame is just as much on them for not stepping to the plate as it is the republicans. If you don't believe that then you're sticking your partisan head in the sand.

Boyceofsummer
08-26-2005, 08:52 PM
No, your post is total bullshit.

The dems had total control of both houses and the presidency during the 90's after the Gulf War.

The blame is just as much on them for not stepping to the plate as it is the republicans. If you don't believe that then you're sticking your partisan head in the sand.

where you can stick your partisan head. Blaming the (other) party is ludicrous. I'm unrolling the tin foil!

mlyonsd
08-26-2005, 09:01 PM
where you can stick your partisan head. Blaming the (other) party is ludicrous. I'm unrolling the tin foil!
Earth to dumbshit.

What I'm saying is both parties are guilty and should shoulder the same blame. Seeing as we knew about this problem since when....maybe the 70's?

If you can't see that then you're just wasting oxygen and contributing to ruining the ozone.

whoman69
08-27-2005, 11:59 AM
Americans need to look in the mirror.

We are the cause of high energy prices. We refuse to conserve in any meaningful way. We refuse to change, in any meaningful way, our ways of wasting energy.

To blame this on republicans is idiotic. They are simply doing what they were elected to do. The dems are no better. Neither party wants to show any leadership in this matter.

Energy IS the only issue that matters. And we had better come to grips with that.
Republicans have been fighting energy conservation, alternative energy, and fuel efficient cars for years. They were against the department of energy and quickly worked to erase any positive steps to energy policy that the Democrats came up with as soon as they came into power. They have been turning their heads to the issue in return for big oil money for years.

Baby Lee
08-27-2005, 12:55 PM
Great idea. We'll build the first one in your backyard and pump all of the extra smog from the rolled back California rules into your house. :hmmm:
Give me my own pump and it's a deal. Wood River,IL is 20 miles to the north, and I drive through it every day. Further, I worked at a law firm that operated out of a building on Amoco property for 3 years, and would love to still be working there.

KC Jones
08-27-2005, 02:51 PM
We need a real energy policy. One that takes into account where we are today and where we want to be in 10, 20, and 30 years. The policy should have major milestones and initiatives to reach them. Of course it can't be written in stone as we will need to adapt to changing circumstances. However going forward without such a plan is certain folly. Yes the market will correct itself, but corrections can be very painful.

As long as the two party system revolves around doing whatever it takes to get elected NOW, we won't get a real energy policy. We'll get finger pointing, promises of more monery being wasted on whatever silver bullet initiative sounds good, and deeper into the 'looming' energy crisis hole.