Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Parsing Pelosi

It could be a case of the blind leading the blind…or at least the weak guiding the willing. You decide where the label goes.

Nearly two weeks ago, Congress recessed for their traditional summer break without reaching any accord on an energy package for the country. Ordinarily, Congress’ inability to legislate is a good thing. But not when we’re spending more and more dollars on fuel instead of food and other necessities of life.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has refused to call Congress back into session, and last night appeared on Larry King Live to pimp her “best-selling” book.

Mr. Microphone asked Madam Speaker point-blank, " why don't you bring them back?” and the answer was typical Washingtonese: The Queen Speaker responded by deflecting the blame.

“Well, it's interesting to hear Senator McCain talk about bringing Congress back. He wasn't even in Congress this last session when we really had two very important bills on energy -- one to give tax credit for wind, solar and other renewable resources, and another about hybrid cars and the rest. So he wasn't in to vote when were in session and now he's saying call it back in," she dodged.

“And then one of the others said to the president, call Congress back in. And the president said no. The president said no. But the point is this, the point is this. The American people are suffering. We have to do what is best for them,” quoth the Speaker.

Yes, ma’am, but what about bringing ‘em back?
A question King didn’t press for an answer.
Instead, he asked Speaker Pelosi how she would propose to bring down gasoline prices, which was a scary revelation:

"The fastest way to do this is -- in 10 days the price can come down if you will free our oil. Over 700 million barrels of oil the president is sitting on of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” opined the Speaker. “Number one, free our oil.”

She’s wrong of course; the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is not supposed to be used as a tool against prices at the pump. It’s to prevent supply disruptions in the event of a catastrophe. Those 700-million barrels would have negligible effect on what you’re paying at the pump because it’s literally a drop in the bucket. 30-days later, we’d be right where we are now, only worse—with no emergency supply on hand, and the worst of Hurricane Season still in front of us.

Undaunted, and deaf to my rant, the Speaker spake on:
“Number two, they want to drill. If they want to drill, we have 68 million acres in the lower 48 that they can drill in that are permitted and all the rest,” she said.
Uh, Nancy—if there was oil there, they’d have drilled it and pumped it out.

“Three, stop the speculation,” said Pelosi.
I used to agree with the Speaker on this point.

I’m beginning to have a slightly different take: Until we get a grip on this problem, treat oil as a strategic commodity…But remember that even if the US restricts speculation in our domestic markets, the energy market is a global one, and we might actually hurt ourselves by such restrictions. We don’t like $116/bbl oil, but we sure like the tax revenues, and we’re going to appreciate the additional exploration and research such pricing enables.

Speaker Pelosi continued to count down her talking points for a Pelosi Plan for energy: “Four, renew -- invest in renewable energy resources, which will bring a faster return than drilling offshore, which will take 10 years and produce two cents reduction in 10 years off the price at the pump.”

Again, the Speaker misspeaks.

When the President lifted the executive ban against drilling last month, the price of oil dropped several dollars a barrel, not a couple of cents…and it happened overnight.

“And then use natural gas. Natural gas is so plentiful. It's better for the environment and it is cheaper,” she chirped.

Until it’s not so plentiful, and then what?
Remember here in Texas when all the utility companies switched to “cheap” natural gas for power generation? What has happened to your electricity bill—and your gas bill, too? It’s not so cheap, and when the supply becomes stressed, prices climb through the roof.
Not a good plan, Madam Speaker, because it’s short-sighted.

But she couldn’t hear me.
“So there are things that Congress can do,” Madame Speaker continued to Larry King, “and we have voted on this over and over again. But the Republicans and the president have resisted. Instead, they have this thing that says drill offshore in the protected areas. Well, we can do that. We can have a vote on that. But it has to be part of something that says we want to bring immediate relief to the public and not just a hoax on them.”

King then asked the Speaker, “would you vote yes on a package that includes drilling?”

First she responded that she would not.
Then she waffled and acknowledged, “it depends how that is proposed, if the safeguards are there. Now, mind you, 68 million acres -- 10 million more acres in Alaska where they can drill,” she feinted.

Then the political blinders went on, and she went into programmed talking point mode, brain disengaged from mouth:

“If we can get some great things, in terms of renewable energy resources; a renewable electricity standard; wind, solar, biofuels and the rest in that context, because if you make a decision only to go with the offshore drilling, you are increasing our dependence on fossil fuels and you will never free yourself of that addiction unless you invest in the renewable energy resources that are good for the environment, cheaper for the consumer and will reverse global warming.”

How quickly the Speaker slips into mumbo-jumbo land…or should we call it Jibber-Jabber?

She says she is against drilling, then qualifies her answer with caveats that have already been covered: safe drilling technology exists and is in use. The problem is that the Speaker is trying to make the solution more intricate than necessary. It’s the injection of politics that is slowing down the process: We’ll do this if you’ll do that. Let’s drill, but let’s not forget wind and solar and biofuels. And if we drill we’re still dependent upon fossil fuels, and don’t forget the global warming fairy tale.

She makes my hair hurt.

Speaker Pelosi—it’s real simple: Drill now to provide the immediate energy needs that we have , which will provide us with a margin of time in which to enact, enable, and engage the American public in the alternative energy choices that need to be made with wind, solar, and bio.

Pelosi likes to return to the notion that “the consumer is our first responsibility. The American taxpayer owns this oil offshore, by the way. Let me make this one final point. This oil is owned by the American taxpayers. The oil companies drill. We give them money to drill there. But we get very little in return."

Uh huh.
Except for those taxes you’ve clobbered the oil companies with, and want to increase…

“So I think as we have this debate, which is a very healthy one to have and I welcome it, we have to review and realign the relationship between our oil, big oil's profits and what it means to the consumer and the taxpayer.”

Right, so if the debate is so healthy to have, then why are you adamantly refusing to allow it to occur, Madam Speaker?
Pelosi never answered the core question.
But she did allude to an eventual vote on the issue.

She said, “when we have this vote, when we really define it and where the choice is clear to the American people -- I mean, do you know what -- Exxon Mobil, their last quarter, their profits were historic. Last year, they were historic. They outdid themselves this year already in this second quarter. And they insist that we pay them to drill. They need an incentive to drill in order to make over $11 billion in one quarter. And it just doesn't make sense. We should be using that money to invest in renewable resources, tax credit for wind and solar, etc. and invest in the technologies that will develop the battery and the rest, instead of giving big oil more profits.”

Nancy Pelosi is so THICK.

She jumps on the quarterly profits bandwagon, and is blind to the whole business equation with the oil companies. Yes, Exxon had record profits---but a less than stellar profit margin: The difference between what Exxon earned and what Exxon had to pay out to operate for the quarter. Why does the Speaker refuse to acknowledge this…or is it that she is just unable to comprehend it?
I believe it’s the latter.

She at one point in the interview said, “I will not subscribe to a hoax on the American people that if you drill offshore, you're going to bring down the price at the pump. Even the president says that's not true.”

Well, they’re both wrong, and don’t speak for the President, Madam Speaker.
The President lifted the Executive ban, and the price of oil futures immediately dropped. It’s not a hoax: you produce more oil, thus meeting demand, the price will fall.

Pelosi’s perspective is “Ten years, two cents -- we're saying 10 days, bring down the price, if the president would free our oil from the strategic petroleum -- from our stockpile -- owned by the taxpayers, purchased by the taxpayers."

It got worse…almost nauseating.

“In the next election,” said Pelosi, “I know that we will strengthen our majorities, increase their numbers and we will have a Democratic president in the White House and we will be able to address more fully really what I think is the challenge to our generation -- energy security and global warming.”

The Speaker is missing the mark.
The biggest challenge to all generations at this point in American history is security and economics. Energy security is a part of that equation…but economic security is equally as important.

Don’t expect the eggheads in Washington to get this, since they use smoke-and-mirror math to justify all their reindeer games, funding pork barrel projects while the rest of the country’s needs languish. It's a sad commentary on our national leadership when Paris Hilton has a better take on an energy concept. The presentation wasn't bad either; Paris wasn't reading from cue cards or notes.

By the way, that "best selling" book of Nancy's debuted at something like 1,750 on the book sellers' lists.
That's hot.

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