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Congress is on a two-week break that will be its longest hiatus until August when down-ticket election campaigning will be in full swing. The Republican leadership is urging GOP House members to take this opportunity to pound away on something just about every politician is already thinking about at the moment—rising gasoline prices. It's an "opportunity to highlight Washington's failed energy policies," says Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee, a vice chairwoman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. She wrote a memo delivered to House Republicans and candidates as the break commenced.
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.

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.

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.

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."

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 11:44 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  'Pubs want to focus on gas prices... (5+ / 0-)

    which are less than 5% of most people's budgets, because they can be controlled (read: manipulated) easier.  The heads of most major oil-gas companies are, shall we say, much more sympathetic to the GOP, so raising prices would be in their political interest.

    In addition to that political interest they would continue to make record profits.  

    "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Candide08 on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 11:55:44 AM PDT

    •  Team Obama's ad tying Mitt's campaign to (7+ / 0-)

      Big Oil and their prices was brilliant.

      "What profit a man, if he gain the world, but has to pay taxes on it?" Paul 8:36

      From the Gospel of St. Ron Paul in the Teachings and Misunderstandings of the Words of Adam Smith

      by ontheleftcoast on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 12:01:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The pushbacks are obvious (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mayfly, antirove, Judge Moonbox, IdaMena2

        Wall Street speculation drives up gas prices more than any other factor in the summertime.  Will Republicans agree to a punitive excess-profits tax on speculators holding oil assets for short term profit?

        Refineries are exporting gasoline now.  Will Republicans agree that Obama should issue an executive order banning gas exports until the price falls below $3.50 a gallon?

        The Koch brothers and God knows how many other oil zillionaires are holding back crude supplies in hopes of rising profits.  Why don't we slap an excess-profits speculation tax on them too, and consider nationalizing offshore supplies sitting in tankers waiting for the price to rise higher?

        Do Republicans want to see gas prices come down if it means less profit to their main bankrollers?  It's an interesting question, and it ought to be brought forward if they're going to make this an issue.

        When Free Speech is outlawed, only outlaws will have Free Speech.

        by Dallasdoc on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:18:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Gas prices are already set to stifle our incomes. (0+ / 0-)

      Or mine.

      It takes a sizable chunk of my post-tax income to go to work and make my pre-tax income.

      #occupywallstreet: Although I know the rhythm you'd prefer me dancing to, I'll turn my revolt into style.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:11:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And Repubs want to dey us alternatives. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        For all their complaining that gas prices under Obama have come close to where they were just before the Great Recession hit, they demand that any attempt to alleviate this should meet their standard of political correctness. Solar is out, opening up ANWR is in. Public transit is out, nuclear is in.

        Greg McKendry, Linda Kraeger, Dr. George Tiller, Steven Johns. Victims of Wingnut violence

        by Judge Moonbox on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 07:03:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I was listening to some commentary from the (6+ / 0-)

    CEO of FedEx. Did you know as a company they use over a BILLION gallons of fuel per year? Anyways, it started out pretty cool, he's looking to switch his delivery vans to electric in less than 5 years. He was estimating it could save him up to 75% a year in fuel costs. For his planes algae biofuels are where he hopes to go. But then he got to his long haul trucks and he turned into Frackenstein's monster. Frack baby frack. Who cares if we're killing ourselves? At least we're not buying gas from Iran! Sigh...

    "What profit a man, if he gain the world, but has to pay taxes on it?" Paul 8:36

    From the Gospel of St. Ron Paul in the Teachings and Misunderstandings of the Words of Adam Smith

    by ontheleftcoast on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 11:57:36 AM PDT

    •  The World Desperately Needs us To Understand That (5+ / 0-)

      THERE IS NO CLIMATE CHANGE for the 1%. They will always be able to thrive, they and plenty of economy for them, no matter how distorted it gets.

      They're not going to have to sacrifice a penny fighting climate change before mid century, even under the more extreme predictions.

      Now a lot of the next lower 9-20% will take a helluva hit once displacements and severe regional effects unfold, but not the 1%.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 12:08:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I saw a frightening piece in Nat'l Geographic... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        about the plight of Bangladesh:

        Bangladesh is, after all, one of the most densely populated nations on Earth. It has more people than geographically massive Russia. It is a place where one person, in a nation of 164 million, is mathematically incapable of being truly alone. That takes some getting used to.

        So imagine Bangladesh in the year 2050, when its population will likely have zoomed to 220 million, and a good chunk of its current landmass could be permanently underwater.

        They take the concept of "mobile homes" to the next level, literally moving their homes to avoid flooding.

        Le sigh...

        Let The Wild Rumpus Begin!

        by dclawyer06 on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:15:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Long-haul trucks could be replaced... (6+ / 0-)

      ...with far more energy-efficient rail even if rail continued with the inefficient diesel locomotives now in use. Electrify that and you made a huge difference. See Steel Interstate Coalition.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:17:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  All my life every Spring, gas goes up for the (6+ / 0-)

    driving season and goes down in the Fall, just in time for the election.  Just more dishonesty the GnoP.  Using public money to increase the gas supply doesn't work since it goes on the open market anyway and likely will be exported by the gas industry anyway.  Amazing how they get upset when the free market and supply and demand actually work.

    Tea Parties are for little girls with imaginary friends.

    by J Edward on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 11:59:22 AM PDT

    •  not an expert but my understanding is that each (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, NormAl1792, Eric Nelson

      winter the refineries shut down for maintenance since they run balls-out all year. There wasn't much of a winter this year and now they have to change formulations for spring...a double whammy.....icbw.

      •  that must mean it's time to let the winter air (0+ / 0-)

        our of my tires, too?

        i'll get right on that.

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:07:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  perhaps, but crude prices are rising as well (5+ / 0-)

      the US refinery situation is confusing. East coast refineries are closing, while gulf coast is expanding. I have heard that the east coast ones that close are old and at a disadvantage since they cannot use sub-standard crude, such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia can produce ... so they have to pay the world price for light crude, which is high now ... the gulf coast refineries are set up to handle all types of crude, including the heavies, which sells for less, and including the tar sands product. They get some tar sands "crude" now and will get more if these pipelines go through.

      I guess the upshot is that gasoline from gulf coast is cheaper than from east coast USA.

      Still don't feel I totally understand it, though.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 12:31:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  'Reckless' is right.......I suspect that the GOP (4+ / 0-)

    pander to high gas prices won't work this time.....A National Energy Plan is required and it should be obvious to anyone but your average Limbaugh listener that the GOP are the one's who have blocked this from day one. So they'll be preaching the choir.

  •  The President's Avoidance of Climate Change (3+ / 0-)

    is a philosophical matter. He'll probably win re-election and that will become clear as he's no longer under (electoral) pressure about it.

    As to the Republican strategy, well they certainly picked an aspect of the economy they're well positioned to coordinate with. It only requires a few refinery maintenance cleanings to game the market for a few months.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 12:04:37 PM PDT

  •  I suspect there will be crickets from Dems (3+ / 0-)

    pushing back this nonsense that it's Obama's fault that gas prices are so high. Either that or pie charts and lectures.

  •  So where is the administration and its voice? The (3+ / 0-)

    Democratic representatives are possibly going home as well, and I hope to heck they have a simple but truthful message to deliver and to counteract the Tea Bag/Republican lies-to-facts, fabrication machine.

    Or am I expecting to much.......?


    “The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” — Marcus Aurelius

    by LamontCranston on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 12:14:42 PM PDT

    •  Obama has been speaking up on this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      not always in the way I like, but ... Obama did make a speech about a month ago clearly putting the onus on the long-term increase in demand from countries such as China, India, and Brazil. He is right about that.

      and last week's Cushing speech (two wks ago?) was another jab, pointing out that US oil & gas production is growing and more pipelines are being laid under his admin.

      But there is a lot more to ponder ... how much of the current spike is due to Iran sanctions? clearly taking 100,000's of barrels of the world market will have an effect. The admin says this gap can be covered by Saudi Arabia and releases from strategic reserves. I have to wonder.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 12:27:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, the supplies are there. It's the price that's (0+ / 0-)

        ... at issue. And Yes, supply for a commodity that can be managed so as to become more plentiful should depress the price, shouldn't it?

        I think a major issue - from extraction to gas station pump - is the impact of cartel-like behavior in supply and price. Is this the occasion we want to take to jawbone cartel members? (Just asking.)

        Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

        by TRPChicago on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 07:31:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Obama released some from our reserves last year (0+ / 0-)

        And it stabilized prices for quite a while. If worse comes to worst I expect that he'll simply do the same later this summer if prices have not come down. The GOP may well shoot themselves in the foot on this.

  •  Interesting these polls on Global warming (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the Gallup poll you cite doesn't sound good, but it does look as if we may have reached a minimum ... Interesting that the max was in 2007-08, the years after "Inconvenient Truth" but before climategate and the wave of denial. I guess that had an effect.

    On the other hand , this poll shows a recent increase in the number of people answering "yes" to the question, "Is the solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer?"

    I very much believe that people take cues from media and political elites on these questions.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 12:39:11 PM PDT

    •  More people believe its happening... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, mightymouse, 417els

      ...fewer are worried about it. A conundrum.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:21:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  some need help putting it together (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

        by mightymouse on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:39:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The term "global warming" is so misconstrued. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          In my opinion, the term should be avoided.  

          People in the Midwest, who experience 65F days in January and plants blooming a month early may be able to conceive of things warming.  But then they see TV footage of Europe in the grips of record-breaking, devastating cold and ice.  Boom!  There goes the warming "evidence".

          Climate change is much easier for most of us to wrap our minds around in trying to understand what's happening.

          As a sound bite, "Global Warming" is a misnomer. Climate changing...unusually warm in the Midwest while unusually cold in a concept people on Main Street can grasp.

          "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

          by 417els on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 11:16:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  One phrase the repubicans will never say... (0+ / 0-)

    ...refine, baby, refine. All the drilling in the world will make no difference if refining capacity remains where it is.

    Releasing oil from the reserve won't do anything either. To be effective, the government would need to have a complete supply chain - a government-controlled refinery and distribution.

    •  disagree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      tank the price of oil, even if just for a week, will do wonders for the price of gas.

      i expect at least two, maybe three big countries to release some oil from their reserves.  that price pressure will get the direction reversed.

      -You want to change the system, run for office.

      by Deep Texan on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 01:45:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  High Gas Prices (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    are the most common thing I hear from friends who are not that political when topics switch to the economy or gov't.  Democrats have to come out with a strong message on this before the Republicans come up with something regular people relate to.   Democrats can't afford to lose this messaging topic.

    Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote.

    by Renie57 on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:49:29 PM PDT

  •  just waiting to see (0+ / 0-)

    Cathy McMorris Rodgers pumping gas for for the 5th district folks before her re-election.

    ..."For beauty," I replied. "And I for truth,-the two are one; We brethren are"... E. Dickinson

    by peagreen on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:54:44 PM PDT

  •  GM sells record fuel efficient vehicles in March (3+ / 0-)

    According to GM sales numbers, people are getting off the SUVs and into fuel efficient cars ...
    That's the way to do it.

  •  If R candidates are going to take this propaganda. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cany, Harkov311, weinerschnauzer, antirove

    ..home to impress their constituents it may back-fire if Democrats put together a montage of republicans saying just the opposite in GWB defense.
     There are so many republicans to choose from to counter that gas price lie, like this (and this video links up to more videos): ..that the Presidents team might not have to say a word about it. Or just let Romney tell it.

    Mitt Romney on Wednesday said that President Obama shouldn’t be held directly responsible for rising gas prices.

     “I think people recognize that the president can’t precisely set the price at the pump,” Romney told CNBC on Wednesday [...]"

    And there are many, many more republicans  captured on video saying the same thing. Plus Bernie Sanders talking about Wall Street speculation upping the price at the pump

    All in all if this is really how republicans have decided  to respond to peoples needs they're f**ked imo.

    People want to here about jobs, not a blame game.

    Thx MB this might be good news looking at how thin their plans are.

  •  I welcome republicans talking about our need (0+ / 0-)

    for electric cars.

    Bully for them!

    #occupywallstreet: Although I know the rhythm you'd prefer me dancing to, I'll turn my revolt into style.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:09:56 PM PDT

  •  I look forward to when gas prices are irrelevant. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    I don't own a car right now; it's a bit inconvenient where I live at the moment, but I manage. I lived in a larger city and near the subway before that, so owning a car was actually a negative back then! I've owned cars in the past when I've had to commute.

    I realize it's a major part of most Americans' budgets. People are forced to commute in cars since that's how we've built out our broken transportation system. But I haven't owned a car in years now, and I hope I never do again.

    I'm planning on moving again soon, probably to somewhere where I'll be near a subway again. I realize this isn't feasible for most Americans, and even owning a car is needed for many folks who do live in the city.

    Of course, the true answer is better rail transportation. Will we get there in my lifetime? I don't know. The road system and burning fossil fuels has to break down at some point, though. And things like driverless cars actually lead to more automated transport...and then to rails and the like for longer trips.

  •  We Should Focus On The Tankers Parked Off Shore (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, antirove

    Owned by the KOCH Bros® driving the price up.  

    Where's the Google map snaps of the KOCH Bros® Crude Oil Flotilla?

    "The Internet is the Public Square of the 21st Century"- Sen. Al Franken

    by Kdoug on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:13:30 PM PDT

  •  Democrats need to counter with their own pics (0+ / 0-)

    They need to (1)  expose the memo for what it is, (2)  suggest price-fixing at the start of Obama's administration with the intent to damage him later, and (3) highlight the higher prices during the Bush administration.  They also need to (4) grab hold of the supply increase and link it directly to Obama.  Fight fire with fire.

    by Ozark Homesteader on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:18:27 PM PDT

  •  Makes perfect sense for Republicans. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Rising gas prices -- and the rising food and other prices that come with them -- inject serious pain into the electorate.

    Worse for Democrats -- they are the party in power as gas prices go up, and have done next to nothing that makes them seem sympathetic to the pain ordinary Americans are suffering as a result.

    And -- shucks -- just to show how clueless they are, the best Democrats seem to have up their sleeve is trying to deny common business deductions to oil producers.  Clever.

    Even so, it's a winning issue for Democrats if only they will frame it correctly and -- GASP!! -- act as well as speak.

    Free market economics says that gas is doomed to become more expensive as we go because it costs more to get it out of the ground and a whole lot of Chinese, Indians, and others are in the market who didn't used to be there.

    The only rational approach is to develop more sources of energy, and remove our reliance on a single source for so much of our economy.

    That, I believe, is what the President has been saying and it is absolutely right.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 05:30:15 PM PDT

  •  Of course the Kochsters and like ilk have NOTHING (0+ / 0-)

    to do with the rising prices (major snark)!

    If there were ever any is perfectly clear that the elections of 2012 are about who will rule...the people or Corporatists?

    "I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are?" Barry Goldwater

    by ranton on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 06:24:23 PM PDT

  •  Hold on: the answer to high gas prices ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... is to argue about climate change? Lacey has GOT to be kidding.

    Start a response to the overly simplistic "drill-frack-dig" with "a warming planet requires other sources..."? No matter how reasonable a drawn out explanation like that may be, it's (1) a huge yawner and (2) assumes sympathy and concern for the climate change issue. You wanna wager how that'll come across? It's much too smart an answer to a lame-brained slogan.

    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

    by TRPChicago on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 07:17:42 PM PDT

  •  Yes focus on rising gas prices, because... (0+ / 0-)

    ...Republican-crony speculators will ensure those prices keep rising.

  •  Gas price ≠ energy policy (0+ / 0-)

    If you fall for this deception you're an easy mark.

    Energy is a lot more than fossil fuel.

    And gas prices fluctuate more at this time due to commodity speculation than actual demand.

    The more the GOP talks about war with Iran the higher oil prices will go as it promotes speculation.

  •  From a headline on the API's very own front pg: (0+ / 0-)
    The roller coaster rise and fall in gasoline and diesel prices over the last couple of years tracks changes in the cost of crude oil. Those changes are determined in the global crude oil market by the worldwide demand for and supply of crude oil. See the document below for detailed information.
      With a link to a pdf file.  I haven't read it, but I'm going to when I find the time.

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