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Nancy Pelosi’s Asinine Views On Energy

From ABC’s “This Week with George Stepanopoulos” and the Chicago Tribune:


Pelosi’s oil slick

August 4, 2008

by Frank James

It was hard to not get twisted up in pretzel knots listening to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose explanation on “This Week with George Stepanopoulos” about why she hasn’t allowed a vote on Republican energy legislation that would ease restrictions on offshore drilling was, to be polite, confusing.

It may have left some in the audience feeling bewildered as a seabird fouled by an oil spill.

Pelosi, a California Democrat, accused Republicans of being monomaniacal on the drilling issue and of suggesting to voters that drilling would immediately lower gas prices. She wasn’t going to play along with something that would mislead voters, she asserted.

Here’s the problem with that. Anyone who has listened to the debate has heard House Republicans say they are willing to consider a range of options from the use of renewable energy sources to new alternative fuels to conservation so long as they can get a vote on off-shore drilling.

Evidence for this is found in energy legislation introduced by House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, the American Energy Act which includes the language to encourage conservation and alternative-fuels research though it obviously places the stress on getting drilling opened up on the Outer Continental Shelf of the U.S. coasts.

REP. PELOSI: What we have presented are options that would really make a difference at the pump. Free our oil, Mr. President. We’re sitting on 700 million barrels of oil. That would have an immediate effect in 10 days. What our colleagues are talking about is something that won’t have an effect for 10 years and it will be two cents at the time. If they want to present something as part of an energy package, we’re talking about something. But to single-shoot on something that won’t work, and mislead the American people as to thinking it’s going to reduce the price at the pump — I’m just not going to be a party to it.

But then, she seemed to later suggest that she would indeed be a party to that, if only House Republicans are smart enough to push the right parliamentary buttons. Her statement came in response to Stephanopoulos’s insistent questioning as to why she didn’t permit a vote if her faith in her position was so strong.

REP. PELOSI: They’ll have to use their imagination as to how they can get a vote and they may get a vote. But I’m trying to — we have serious policy issues in our country. The president of the United States has presented this — but for this our economy would be booming, but for this, gas would cheaper at the pump. It’s simply not true. And even the president himself in his statement yesterday and before then has said, there is no quick fix for this by drilling.

So she will allow the American people to be misled, in her view, by Republican legislation that she says only offers the illusion of addressing high gas prices, so long as Republicans are smart enough to figure out how to get their legislation to the floor? That doesn’t make a lot of sense, but that’s what she appeared to say.

Pelosi seems to be subtly trying to adjust her position given the pressure she’s coming under from not just Republicans but Democratic House members too as the public has shifted with a majority now favoring more domestic drilling.

On one hand, what kind of leader would she be if she didn’t acknowledge that movement in public opinion? After all, the leader of her party, Sen. Barack Obama, the assumed Democratic presidential nominee, has now opened his mind to off-shore drilling so long as it’s part of comprehensive energy legislation.

But on the other hand, she hails from California where there’s long been a “No way, Jose”, or better yet “No way, San Jose” attitude about off-shore drilling. So she can’t just give up on opposing such drilling without inviting a severe backlash from her constituency.

Anyway, here’s a transcript of the relevant part of Pelosi’s discussion with Stephanopolous. Maybe Swamp readers will have more success finding a logical consistency than I did:

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me get to the substantive point he was raising there. You’ve been getting a lot of heat for not allowing a vote, an up or — straight up-or-down vote on expanding drilling off the coasts of the United States. Why won’t you permit a straight up- or-down vote?

REP. PELOSI: What we have presented are options that would really make a difference at the pump. Free our oil, Mr. President. We’re sitting on 700 million barrels of oil. That would have an immediate effect in 10 days. What our colleagues are talking about is something that won’t have an effect for 10 years and it will be two cents at the time. If they want to present something as part of an energy package, we’re talking about something. But to single-shoot on something that won’t work, and mislead the American people as to thinking it’s going to reduce the price at the pump — I’m just not going to be a party to it.

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Except that it’s not just Republicans calling for this. Members of your own caucus say we must have a vote. Congressman Jason Altmire — let me show our viewers right now — is saying there’s going to be a vote. Here he says exactly, “there’s going to be a vote. September 30th will not come and go without a vote on opening the outer continental shelf. The message has been delivered. The issue can’t be ignored any longer.” He says he speaks for a lot of Democrats. He’s talked to the leadership, and a vote must happen.

REP. PELOSI: Well, maybe it will as it’s part of a larger energy package. But let’s step back, call a halt, and put this in perspective. What we have now is a failed energy policy by the Bush- Cheney, two oilmen in the White House — $4-a-gallon gasoline at the pump. And what they’re saying is, let’s have more of the same. Let’s have more of big oil making record profits, historic profits — you see the quarterly reports that just came out — who want to be subsidized — they don’t really want to compete — and let them use those subsidies to drill in protected areas.

Instead, we’re saying, free the oil. Use it, don’t lose it. There are 68 million acres in lower 48 and 10 or 20 million more acres in Alaska where they’re permitted, where they can drill anytime. This is a diversionary tactic from a failed energy policy.

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: But if you feel you have the better arguments, why not give a straight up-or-down vote for drilling?

REP. PELOSI: Because the misrepresentation is being made that this is going to reduce the price at the pump. This is a, again, a decoy. It’s not a solution.

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, but if you’re right, why not let it be debated out and have the vote?

REP. PELOSI: We have a debate every single day on this subject. What you saw in the Congress this week was the war dance of the hand maidens of the oil companies. That’s what you saw on the Republican side of the aisle. Democrats and Republicans are not right down party lines on this issue. There are regional concerns as well as some people concerned about what this means back home for them. But we have a planet to save. We have an economy to grow. And we can do that if we keep our balance in all of this, and not just say, but for drilling in unprotected — in these protected areas offshore, we would have lower gas prices.

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: So what exactly are you trying to say? You say you might allow a vote as part of a comprehensive package, but you won’t allow a straight up-or-down vote on drilling oil?

REP. PELOSI: Well, I’m not going to — we have put on the floor free our oil; strong bipartisan support for that. Use it don’t lose it; strong bipartisan support for that. End undue speculation; strong bipartisan support for that. We’ve talked about these things. Invest in renewable energy resources so that we can increase the supply of energy for our country; strong bipartisan support for that. Over and over again —

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: And yet, you’ve brought those measures to the floor in a way under the suspension of the rules so that it couldn’t be amended with a drilling proposal.

REP. PELOSI: Well, we built consensus and have a strong bipartisan — this is what’s going to make a difference to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, to stop our dependence on fossil fuels in our own country, to increase the supply of energy into — and immediately, and immediately to reduce the price at the pump to protect the consumer.

So this is a policy matter. This is very serious policy matter.

It’s not to use a tactic of — one tactic in order to undermine a comprehensive energy package, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, which is a national security issue, to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels in our country. Now, we should be talking about natural gas. That’s cheaper, better for the environment.

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: But why not allow votes on all that? When you came in as speaker, you promised in your commitment book, “A New Direction for America” — let me show our viewers — you said that bills should generally come to the floor under a procedure that allows open, full, and fair debate consisting of a full amendment process that grants the minority the right to offer its alternatives. If they want to offer a drilling proposal, why can’t they have a vote?

REP. PELOSI: They’ll have to use their imagination as to how they can get a vote and they may get a vote. But I’m trying to — we have serious policy issues in our country. The president of the United States has presented this — but for this our economy would be booming, but for this, gas would cheaper at the pump. It’s simply not true. And even the president himself in his statement yesterday and before then has said, there is no quick fix for this by drilling.

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: And Senator Obama has agreed with you. He says, listen, this is not the answer. Drilling is not the answer. But he said over the weekend that he might be willing to sign on to drilling as part of a comprehensive proposal.

REP. PELOSI: What Senator Obama said is what we want a president to say. Let’s look at all of the options. Let’s compare them. And let’s see what really does increase our supply, protect our environment, save our economy, protect the consumer, instead of a single-shot thing that does none of the above. While we give subsidies to big oil to drill in environmentally protected areas and instead of letting them —

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: So just — I want to move on to other issues. Just to be clear, you’re saying you will not allow a single up-or-down vote on drilling, but you will allow a vote on a package that includes drilling?

REP. PELOSI: No. What I’m saying to you is, as far as I am concerned, unless there is something that — you never say never to anything. People have their parliamentary options available to them. But from my standpoint, my flagship issue as speaker of the House and of this 110th Congress has been to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and to save — reverse global warming. I’m not giving a gavel away to a tactic that will do neither of those things, that supports the big oil at the cost — at the expense of the consumer.

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: So you will not permit a vote. You may get beat, but you’re not going to permit a vote on your own.

REP. PELOSI: Well, again, we take this one step at a time, but while we’re spending all of this time on a parliamentary tactic when nothing less is at stake than the planet, the air we breathe, our children breathe, we have —

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: But that’s what I don’t understand. If you could get votes on everything else you care about, which you say there is strong bipartisan support, why not allow a vote on the drilling as well?

REP. PELOSI: Because the president will not allow any of these other things to come forward. Why are we not saying to the president, why don’t you release oil from the SPRO? In 10 days, we can have the cost of — the price at the pump go down? Why are you opposed to ending undue speculation in the oil markets? Why do you not insist that people who have leases on our land with permits ready to go use those?

The oil companies don’t want competition. And what we would do by saying, go ahead, give them their subsidies, allow them to drill in areas that are protected now instead of where they’re allowed to drill is to diminish all of the opportunity that we have for an electricity standard for our country where we set out standards that makes the competition for renewable energy resources better; which says to the private sector, invest here, because there is a standard that they have to honor. If you just say, it’s drill, drill, drill, drill, drill, what is the — and we’re going to subsidize it, we’re going to subsidize big oil — what is the motivation for the private sector to come in and say, we’re going to support these renewable energy resources —

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me move on to another —

REP. PELOSI: — wind, solar, biofuels, plug-in cars, natural gas, and other alternatives?

Things have come to a pretty pass when even some members of the media start to call you out for being (ahem) logically inconsistent.

But the problem is Mrs. Pelosi is literally a moron.

And, worst still, she hates capitalism — and indeed, this country.

It is a disgrace to our political system that she holds such a powerful position.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, August 4th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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