Post image for A Drive down Memory Lane on Memorial Day

Driving is an American pastime on Memorial Day weekend. Indeed, today’s holiday is THE road trip occasion in American culture. This acute association explains why American politicians choose the lead up to Memorial Day to trot out plans to address high gasoline prices.

This year, it was dueling votes in the Senate. Roughly speaking, the Republicans tried to increase the supply of oil by ending the Obama administration’s de facto moratorium on domestic drilling, wrought by bureaucratic foot-dragging. The legislation already had been passed by the Republican-controlled House. On the other hand, the Democrats wanted to raise taxes on “Big Oil” companies, by eliminating tax breaks enjoyed by many—and in some cases, all—businesses. Neither party wooed enough votes to survive a filibuster, so they both failed. Of the two, the Republicans’ ideas were better this time, but there have been instances in the past when both parties were equally bad in the run up to Memorial Day weekend.

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by Marita Noon on May 26, 2011

in Blog

Post image for Apologize

The hit song “Apologize” could become the theme song of the 2012 Republican Presidential campaign.

Mitt Romney won’t shed his “Romney-care” baggage through a simple apology. Instead he is embracing his controversial plan, claiming that he is no “flip-flopper.” While he is pulling strong poll numbers, pundits believe this one issue will make it tough for him to garner the support of conservatives and may cost him the nomination.

Likewise, Gingrich was thought to be a strong candidate with layers of people and policy carefully in place. Instead of catapulting to the top, as he likely expected with his May 11 announcement, he has been in the forefront of the news with his apology to Paul Ryan for his Sunday morning gaffe regarding the Ryan Plan. He has made several fumbled attempts to recover from this violation of Ronald Reagan’s famed “eleventh commandment,” but most cannot forgive him for sitting on the sofa with Nancy Pelosi and agreeing with her that “our country must take action to address climate change.” No worry. He has not asked for forgiveness and, in fact, refuses to apologize. As recently as a year ago, Gingrich claimed that he would still do a commercial, only this time with the spin that both conservatives and liberals should be prepared to stand on the same stage.

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Post image for Media Gift: Republicans, Pickens’s New Subsidy and the ‘Circular Firing Squad’

The Wall Street Journal has a long piece today about the prospect of using the state to move part of the U.S. transportation fleet from oil to natural gas. It gives prominent voice to the massive public affairs campaign of T. Boone Pickens to add billions to his natural gas fortune as a swansong to a prosperous career.

This campaign takes the form of a bill embraced by ostensible fiscal hawks, causing an uproar from those conservatives who took umbrage at Members abandoning their pledges of fiscal sobriety at the drop of a billionaire’s phone call. This enabled the media to describe the Republicans’ ‘circular firing squad.’ Well played, gentlemen.

The vehicle was not Pickens’ first choice. His first choice was a windmill mandate, transparently pushed by a handful of gas interests, including Chesapeake Energy’s Aubrey McClendon, to put a green hat on their efforts to use the state to displace coal’s market. In this effort, they found natural allies in environmentalist special interests.

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Post image for New Hampshire Republicans Waffle on Energy Rationing

Republicans in the New Hampshire Senate continue to dither like a eunuch in a brothel lobby, more than two months after the State House of Representatives enacted HB 519, legislation that would withdraw New Hampshire from a regional energy-rationing scheme known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, by a 246 to 104 vote. In late February, after the Republican-controlled House acted, it was widely thought that the Senate would quickly follow suit, as Republicans hold a 2 to 1 majority in the upper chamber. However, the environmentalist lobby mobilized and frightened many Members of the Legislature. Last week, the Senate Natural Resources Committee voted against HB 519 companion legislation. Nonetheless, the full Senate is expected to enact the measure this week, although it is unclear that there will be enough votes to override a promised veto from Governor John Lynch (D), even though Republicans have a veto-proof majority.