Ms. Black encouraged candidates to aggressively seek local news coverage on gasoline prices and even visit service stations to pump gas for voters. “Make sure to take pictures at these events so you can promote through social media networking and newsletter e-mails,” she said.But the leadership is leaving nothing to chance. The House Energy Action Team has put together a how-to-frame-it messaging document that lays it all out for what Republicans should be telling the folks in the home district. It's not just drillbabydrill. It's frackbabyfrack. And digbabydig.
The encouragement to focus on gas prices back home was just part of the press Republicans were putting on fuel costs as a central election-year issue. Speaker John A. Boehner gave the party’s weekend radio address, emphasizing House-passed energy bills that have stalled in the Senate. And the House Energy and Commerce Committee has scheduled events in Montana on April 11 and Arkansas on April 13 to highlight party support for the Keystone XL pipeline.
No surprise. The 26 House Republicans who formed HEAT last May have received $4 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry during their congressional careers.
Included in the HEAT package is specific advice on answering potentially hostile questions: tax subsidies for Big Oil? Deflect; first extended increase in oil production in 40 years? That's all Bush's doing. There's also a model Op-Ed that includes the line "Since President Obama took office, average gas prices have risen 107% from $1.84 per gallon to $3.81. Today, that figure is $3.92 for a gallon of regular." No mention by HEAT of the fact that on Bush's watch in July 2008, gasoline rose to $4.11 a gallon (adjusted for inflation, that's $4.35).
You might expect that in an energy document with the acronym HEAT, there would be at least one mention of climate change. As Steven Lacey says, it just goes to show "how disconnected Washington politicians are from what scientists are telling us."
The unfortunate part is that, after years of obfuscation and twisted propaganda on the subject, funded by the likes of Exxon Mobil and Koch Industries, the politicians aren't disconnected. As noted, they get oil and gas contributions up the wazoo. And the percentage of Americans who worry about climate change is at a 14-year low, just 51 percent, compared with 72 percent in 2000. That meshes just fine with the growing percentage of outright climate-change "skeptics" in Congress, based on the 2010 midterm election results.
This isn't just a surreal win-the-election strategy. It IS the Republican energy plan. A reckless plan that ignores scientific evidence and the reality of our predicament. The HEAT document off-handedly mentions renewable energy once. It's all about kowtowing to Big Oil, opening up more and more public land to energy production. Wilderness land, Arctic land, off-shore land. And ignoring the consequences.
Some argue that any Democrat who injects "climate change" into the campaign risks votes. And that may well be true. President Obama certainly has avoided the term at every opportunity. But as Lacey so rightly says, "Ultimately, that’s the only common-sense way to neutralize the 'drill-everywhere-exploit-everything' energy mantra."