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July 26, 2005

Let Us All Give Thanks

Bush's energy bill is headed for passage, and thankfully so.  Save for substantive modernization of our electricity grid, an increase in CAFE standards, an actual stance on global warming, a coherent framework for reducing our oil consumption, a serious investment in natural gas, an actual interest in new technologies for alternative sources, and really anything that'd have any sort of worthwhile impact on our energy situation at all, this bill has just what we need.  Subsidies.  Giveaways.  Handouts.  Protection.  Guidelines.  Bureaucracy.  All sprinkled with liberal amounts of Corporate Love and put on the Senate's desk.

I've long thought the Energy Bill, more so than any other legislation, is the perfect metaphor for the modern GOP, both in substance and process.  The substance of it is a mash of giveaways to Big Business, pork, and policy that makes no sense.  And the process?  Well you'd think they were a bunch of liberal crusaders:

From the start, Bush and GOP lawmakers have sold their energy policies as a means of reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil. "Our dependence on foreign oil is like a foreign tax on the American dream, and that tax is growing every year," Bush said in May. During the Senate debate on the energy bill last month, Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said: "We must take steps to reduce our dependence on foreign countries and thereby enhance our energy security at home. When we rely on other nations for more than half our oil supply, we simply put our security at risk."   

Like the Medicare bill, this is a mess corporate cronyism sold using the language of serious progressive reform.  Listening to them, you'd think Jimmy Carter was passing his dream energy legislation.  That the reality has no increase in CAFE standards and was held up for a year while Tom DeLay tried to retroactively protect MTBE manufacturers from lawsuits is too perfect.  This isn't conservatism.  And it's only sold as progressivism.  In reality, it's modern Republicanism distilled, a perfectly pure mixture of incoherence and corruption publicly aimed at solving a serious problem but privately written to ignore the issue in favor of industry demands.

July 26, 2005 in Energy | Permalink

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» Ah, The Crappy Energy Bill... from The Oil Drum
I haven't felt much like discussing the Energy Bill...because I have felt it would be a waste of our time. It's going to pass. Hot diggity damn. [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 26, 2005 5:22:06 PM

» Addressing Energy from CommonSenseDesk
Congress is about to pass an energy bill, finally. Of course, it misses as much as it catches. The NYTs account is here and WaPo is here. Ezra commented yesterday (hat tip The Oil Drum).Like the Medicare bill, this is [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 27, 2005 11:17:23 AM

» BillBlast: The Energy Bill That Shouldn't Be from Beltway Blogroll
The national energy bill moving through Congress is generating plenty of criticism from bloggers. Political strategist Dan Carol for one sees the inertia behind the current legislation as a bad thing for America. While rising gas prices, an insatiable ... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 27, 2005 12:16:10 PM

» Energy Bill Almost There... from sustainablog
I did pretty well keeping up with the Energy bill's movement through the Senate, but fell behind on the activities of the conference committee meetings to hammer out differences between the House and Senate versions. [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 27, 2005 12:46:55 PM

» BillBlast: The Energy Bill That Shouldn't Be from Beltway Blogroll
The national energy bill moving through Congress is generating plenty of criticism from bloggers. Political strategist Dan Carol for one sees the inertia behind the current legislation as a bad thing for America. While rising gas prices, an insatiable ... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 9, 2005 4:56:14 PM

Comments

Now if only we could get the Democrats to vote straight party line against, but they won't. I'll bet you that there are enough ethanol subsidies in there to get Ben Nelson to vote for it. Tom Daschle voted for it last time, when it included the horrid MTBE liability liability waiver, because South Dakota grows so much corn.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Jul 26, 2005 11:04:07 AM

modern Republicanism distilled

High octane corporate coddling? Premium-grade giveaways? Summer-blend bullshit?

Posted by: TJ | Jul 26, 2005 11:23:43 AM

Definitely "summer-blend bullshit". High octane corporate cuddling is more the bankruptcy bill, and premium grade giveaways were Medicare.

Posted by: Ezra Klein | Jul 26, 2005 11:39:03 AM

Echoing Bostoniangirl. Maybe we ought to start a betting pool: How many Dems will sell out?

Posted by: sglover | Jul 26, 2005 1:07:30 PM

Along Boston girl's thoughts, is this energy bill substanially different than those enacted by Democratic administrations/legislatures?

Pork is one issue that has a lot of bi-partisan support in Washington and anyone who thinks Republicans are soley guilty of corporate giveaways and Democrats are pure is the driven snow in this issue is crazy.

I think that posts like these would be more persuasive to more people if the substance was talked about without the heavy partisan bashing.

I have no problem with people being partisan where the issues are split along party lines, but claiming that a single party is the source of all evil in Washington loses my respect quickly.

Posted by: Dave Justus | Jul 26, 2005 1:49:28 PM

Go read Kerry's energy plan or look into what Carter did.

Posted by: Ezra Klein | Jul 26, 2005 2:11:09 PM

Reports indicate that all renewable energy programs have been stricken from the House bill.

I think the best we can hope for is that the Senate fails to accept the conference report, and no bill is passed. This is one of those times when no change is positive for the country.

Lots of rhetoric about this bill, but nothing substantative to really change the situation and make us less dependent on hydrocarbons. This is 'no oil company left behind' legislation.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jul 26, 2005 2:11:29 PM

I have no problem with people being partisan where the issues are split along party lines, but claiming that a single party is the source of all evil in Washington loses my respect quickly.

When it comes to energy, both parties are only interested in out-pandering each other. Remember how Gore wanted to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to combat the 'crisis' of a minor spike in oil prices?

In fairness, the politicians are simply following the head-in-the-sand policies that their constituents plainly want. The only national politician I can think of who was serious about weaning us away from our Mideast oil dependance was Carter, and of course that was one of the things for which he was so widely ridiculed....

Posted by: sglover | Jul 26, 2005 3:54:45 PM

Dumb question: When they finally do get around to crafting a bill that gives everybody's pet goat a place at the public trough, are the fucking congresscreatures even gonna bother to read the damn thing before they vote 'yea'?

Posted by: sglover | Jul 26, 2005 3:57:10 PM

Here is something I never understood about the MTBE controversy. It appears as thought MTBE, while not directly required by the federal government, is required for compliance with clean air rules: http://www.epa.gov/mtbe/gas.htm

If that is the case, and MTBE was/is later to have been found to be harmful, why not give the MTBE manufacturers some sort of limited liability, as long as they were manufacturing, storing, etc. not in violation of EPA requirements?

Posted by: Chris | Jul 26, 2005 5:05:46 PM

Chirs -- The oxygenate requirement was put into the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments by midwestern Senators of both parties (chiefly Dole and Daschle) to sell more ethanol (ETBE is the ethanol-based oxygenate) over the vehement objections of Northeastern states in particular. It was not anything that EPA or most environmental groups wanted either at the time or later. Pork and congressionally-mandated formulae triumphed over performance standards and functionality.

Then the oil industry thumbed their noses at the Corn Belt by turning what had been largely a hazardous waste product of oil refining into a highly profitable, the second-highest volume synthetic organic chemical produced in the world, MTBE. Which tells you all you need to know about why Tom DeLay took the lead trying to keep it in.

As long as Congress is looking at screwing around with this mandate, let them take it out entirely, and just require gasolene that produces lower levels of toxins and carbon monoxide (which it was ostensibly mandated to reduce) without requiring it to be produced with a certain formula (the law requires 10% oxygenates). But gee, that's the only thing that would unite the porkers of the Corn Belt and the oil industry.

Posted by: Steady Eddie | Jul 26, 2005 5:20:04 PM

Thanks.

Posted by: Chris | Jul 26, 2005 6:03:45 PM

I don't count Kerry's plan. It is easy to have a great plan in a campaign. Making it real is what counts.

I will give you Carter I suppose. Even then, if you have to go that far back, doesn't that prove my point? And I don't know that Democrats want to run on Carter's energy policy, rightly or wrongly it probably wouldn't sell well.

Posted by: Dave Justus | Jul 27, 2005 8:40:30 AM

This isn't Bush's energy plan. If you've been following the developments, Bush has been outspoken against many of the house initiatives, which he says gives too many tax breaks to energy industries who don't need it. He has actively fought to get rid of these, yet possibly due to his weak political stance has been ineffective. Blame the house for this debacle, not Bush, who this time actually was arguing for more sensible energy legislation.

Posted by: Jeff | Jul 27, 2005 11:54:30 AM

The way I look at it. Given the choice, these legislators were offered the option of full throttle on status quo energy usage, or a serious reflection on change. They're pushing ahead with the old ways. The quicker we get there, the quicker change will be thrust upon us. Who keeps electing these crackers without foresight?

Posted by: jjr | Jul 27, 2005 10:28:47 PM

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Posted by: peter.w | Sep 17, 2007 2:33:06 AM

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