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I'm pretty nervous about people using gas prices as a tool against Republicans in 2006. The problem is that they're going to go up anyway. As soon as the price jumps up five cents Republicans, even if they still have a Senate advantage, will blame it on Democrats and environmentalism.

Now I'm not being naive. It will be used anyway, so it is necessary to pin it on Republicans or else they'll pin it on us. The key, I think, is to pay attention to the details. People have to be aware that gas prices in the long run aren't just going to stay this high, they're going to be twice this high, eventually turning prohibitive. Democrats are unable to stop that. In fact, funds for alternative fuel research are likely to come from increased gasoline taxes.

The key question is what we're doing to counteract that, to ease the pain; and how does that compare to what Republicans are doing? Well, that's a simple one. The Republicans are doing a pretty perfect job of making it worse. From handing out tax breaks to oil execs making windfall profits, to trying to cut open the golden goose in the Middle East, to outsourcing the jobs that help pay for that gasoline, throughout a veritable cornucopia of issues, the Republicans can be counted on wherever they hold office to drive gas prices higher. They have no solutions except to dig for a few pointless barrels in Alaska.

What will hurt Dems is if every penny increase in the gas price is seen as a point against those in control, which Bill Clinton had to deal with when prices were $1.50 a gallon. The public has to gain a deeper understanding of the problem and, therefore, the solutions. Then they will know how to keep score. The public concern now is to our advantage because now they're listening. And they already know that war with the Middle East won't solve a goddamn thing.

Originally posted to nitrate21 on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 11:48 PM PDT.

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