Democratic Energy Crisis

If you go to page A17 of today’s New York Times, you see two interesting stories about the Democrats and their varied positions on energy.

First, you have Al Gore and his man-to-the-moon strategy (“Gore Calls for Energy Shift to Avoid a Global Crisis”). He believes that the world is going to end fairly soon unless we dramatically cut our emissions by getting rid of pretty much all coal-powered plants and by stopping the use of gas-powered cars. He believes that we can make this conversion in a decade. He acknowledges that this will dramatically increase costs, but then he proposes a “payroll tax cut to offset higher prices for fuel and electricity.” So, what Gore proposes is to financially weaken the Social Security Trust Fund (which is already teetering) to pay for the sharply increased costs of all forms of energy that will come with the Gore plan.

Gore then says that he has no interest in running for elective office again. No kidding! He couldn’t get elected President of the Moon with that plan.

Under the Gore story, appears one about the travails of the House Democrats (“House Republicans Block Democratic Efforts on Oil Leases, Calling the Bill a Sham”).

The headline belies what truly happened this week on the House floor.

House Democrats are on the run. They do not want to allow more exploration of domestic energy resources in the continental United States, Alaska or off the coasts, for that matter. But Republicans keeps pushing them on the issue, and Democrats are desperate. Polls show that by wide margins, the American people want us to drill here, drill now and get lower costs for gasoline.

In a sign of desperation, they rushed a plan onto the House floor, without any committee consideration and by an irregular procedure that requires a two-thirds vote, that says that oil companies would be allowed to drill on land where they are already allowed to drill. Because of the procedure, they knew that it was going to go down, but the Democrats were trying to make the point that the oil companies — and not them — have been negligent.

Of course, that is not the case. With the market being what it is today, if oil is available, somebody is going to drill for it. The leases that the Democrats have been talking about have already proved to be full of dry holes.

Oil companies don’t need to drill in places where oil can’t be found. They need to drill in places where it can be found.

And this is where it gets interesting. Perhaps House Democrats don’t want to more oil to be found. Perhaps they only want to appear that they want more oil to be found. Perhaps they secretly want the Gore plan, but they can’t support that because, well, that would be political suicide.

In either event, the stunt pulled by the Democrats will do nothing to make us more energy-secure in the future. And the more Al Gore talks, and the less the House Democrats do, the more that American people are going to understand that the Democratic Party is not with them when it comes to lower energy costs. They are with the man on the moon, I mean, Al Gore.


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