25 Apr 2006

Republican Lemmings Racing For the Cliff

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Today’s Wall Street Journal notes the disgraceful appropriation of the democrat party’s politics of envy by the current so-called Republican Congressional leadership. I don’t know exactly who was managing the candidate and leadership selection processes over the last several years, but it’s only too clear that the current Republican Congressional majority was built on a foundation of non-conservative opportunist politicos, who would make late unlamented Everett McKinley Dirksen and Charles A. Halleck (me-too Republican minority leaders of the early 1960s) seem like rock-ribbed examples of Conservative Republicanism. We’re facing an electoral disaster in November, and this Congressional leadership will deserve exactly what it gets.

Few things are less becoming in a political party than desperation, as Republicans are now demonstrating as they panic over rising oil and gas prices. If blaming private industry for Congress’s own energy mistakes is the best the GOP can do, no wonder its voters may sit out the November election.

Oil prices hit $75 a barrel last week, while gas has reached a national average of about $2.85 a gallon. The Republican response has been to put on Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi fright wigs and shout about corporate greed and market manipulation. House Speaker Denny Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist fired off a letter to President Bush yesterday demanding the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department investigate “price fixing” and “gouging.” Senator Arlen Specter wants to go further and impose stricter “antitrust” laws for oil companies, as well as a “windfall profits” tax. Mr. Hastert also delighted the class warriors in the press corps by lambasting recently retired Exxon CEO Lee Raymond’s pay “unconscionable.”

There’s been unconscionable behavior all right, most of it on Capitol Hill. A decent portion of the latest run-up in gas prices–and the entire cause of recent spot shortages–is the direct result of the energy bill Congress passed last summer. That self-serving legislation handed Congress’s friends in the ethanol lobby a mandate that forces drivers to use 7.5 billion gallons annually of that oxygenate by 2012.


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