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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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Comment Preferences

  •  So Democratic leaders should be teaching (0+ / 0-)

    and talking real. I don't know what more real now than the fact that gas price hikes, after a year of the greatest corporate profits in the history of the world, are the natural and inevitable result of Republican policies.

    You can say global warming is a "natural" event too, and you can say global terrorism developed without our assistance, but I don't think you'd be right.

    (none / 0), (none / 0), it's off to kos we go, with a...

    by doorguy on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 11:51:43 PM PDT

    •  Sadly ... (0+ / 0-)

      Democratic party line right is a form of demagoguery that doesn't help to solve the problem ... there was a memo that went out calling on candidates to hold press events at gas stations ...

      So, George W Bush goes to innovative energy factories/research institutes and spouts lies ... while Democratic candidates are encouraged to scream loudly about gas prices ..

      Let's scream about gas prices until the last drop is out of the ground!

      9/11/05, Day 1469, A count worth keeping? Or, Osama Bin Forgotten?

      by besieged by bush on Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 09:08:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Disagree. (0+ / 0-)

    All the person in power has to do is investigate why the oil companies are not refining more oil because that's where the problem lies right now, now with supply.

    Refine more oil and the price will drop. Of course, they don't want to do that which is how they keep the price high.

    •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We definitely need more refinery capacity, and have needed it for a while now. However, even if they were building new refineries, that takes time. And when refinery capacity isn't the issue, the main driver of price is crude oil prices. The California Energy Commission has a great Q&A about gas prices, as well as some historical data on gas prices and price components. As you can see, refinery costs haven't risen that much, but crude oil prices have--now over 3x what it was on average from 1997-2001...

  •  There are relatively easy ways to lower price... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, michael1104, Arken

    ...even in the short term, if there was the political will to do so. A well managed transition to a non-oil economy doesn't have to be especially painful, given the political will to make it happen.

    For instance, a Democratic president would be in a position to say/do the following immediately:

    1. Everyone has seen the price we pay by having an oil-based economy. We are no longer willing to let our economy be hijacked by the Middle East. We are no longer willing to threaten the future of our planet and our children by contributing to global warming. We are GOING to make a transition to alternative fuels [insert specifics of plan]
    1. I am asking Congress to repeal the $12 billion in new tax breaks to the oil companies passed by the previous administration, effective immediately. That money will go to a down payment in making the transition to alternative fuels.
    1. You've all seen what our demand for fuel does to oil prices. To cut demand immediately, I am appealing to the patriotism of the American people. For the next 90 days, I ask all of you to observe a 55 MPH speed limit, which will immediately cut this country's oil demand by 10% [I think the figure is actually higher, but don't have it handy]
    1. To further cut oil prices, I will release a million barrels of oil a day from the strategic petroleum reserve for the next six months. The oil will be sold at market value and the proceeds used to help finance the transition.
    1. At the end of World War II the Marshall Plan rebuilt the shattered economies of Europe and yielded incalculable dividends to the United States. I call on Congress to immediately enact a Marshall Plan for freeing our economy from its dependence on oil.

    Prices would fall immediately, and fall hard. And at that point there would be no going back.

    Economic -5.00 Social -5.49

    by Swordsmith on Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 12:04:57 AM PDT

    •  George W Bush (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      is in a position to say and do all of those things.

      If he wanted to.

      I'm kind of stalling for time here...They told me what to say. George W Bush, 03-21-2006 10:00 EST Press Conference

      by Tamifah on Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 02:53:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rationing (0+ / 0-)

      Everyone has seen the price we pay by having an oil-based economy. We are no longer willing to let our economy be hijacked by the Middle East. We are no longer willing to threaten the future of our planet and our children by contributing to global warming. We are GOING to make a transition to alternative fuels [insert specifics of plan]

      So ration gasoline.  Regressive taxes may reduce consumption but they hurt the poor.  If keeping consumption is part of the problem then rationing could be the answer.

      Of course, it is too anti "free market" to gain traction and has many practical problems.  But the problems of rationing may be better than the current situation.

      Television is the opiate of the masses.

      by i dunno on Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 03:39:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  funds for alternative energy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arken, TMP

    are going to come from people looking for a cheaper fix.  Most gas taxes, except for the regular sales tax are a flat rate per gallon, so an increase in the price won't increase revenue.  In fact, it will decrease due to (theoretically) decreased demand from higher prices.

    You are correct that gas prices will be used against those in control, but it's more effective if we pin it on them now.  Most people know that W's an oil man and they have ties to business.  Push that angle hard.  The only reason to drill in Alaska is to get more money for their buds.

    It pains me to say it, but I don't think we can fix gas prices and oil addiction until there is another shock to the system, and one that lasts long enough to make people accept changes.  The only moment we had in the past few years was 9-11.  Had President Gore stood on that pile of rubble and declared energy independence, we would be well on our way and already reaping the benefits.  By no means am I advocating another event like that, but I can imagine little beyond a catastrophic event or an announcement from a major country that we are out of oil that would give politicians the political capital to pull off some of the changes.

    Re the refining comment, they have a good racket with that.  It can easily be blamed on Democrats because of the so-called permitting process.  They've successfully blamed the enviro movement on the reason more refineries aren't built.  However, they've closed beaucoup plants to restrain capacity in the meantime.  That way they can have their giant profits and blame it on liberals.  My former colleague used to work at a refinery in Michigan before it closed for no reason.  He never believed it was for environmental costs.  

    (-7.25, -5.85) "Talk amongst yourselves. The Christian Right: neither Christian nor right. Discuss." --Linda Richman

    by Slartibartfast on Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 12:13:09 AM PDT

  •  Oil Companies (0+ / 0-)

    Big oil is enjoying -- and bragging about -- record profits.  The inevitability of "prohibitive" gas prices is many years down the road.  For the short term (3-5 years), the price of a gallon of gas is going to rise until it starts to affect demand.  Then it will even out.  Big oil has PLENTY of margin built in to eat some price changes without passing them on.  But as long as it doesn't hurt demand -- and you'll notice it hasn't yet -- and as long as Congress doesn't kick their collective asses they have no incentive to cut into their margins.

    There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right with America. -- Bill Clinton

    by ThirstyGator on Tue Apr 25, 2006 at 02:51:41 AM PDT

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