Dave — You know, I actually don’t mind a little bit of showboating; if there are indeed people breaking the law via price gouging, I’m all for prosecuting them. A LITTLE bow to politics is okay… but only if such a misleading bow isn’t the sum total of one’s efforts. The problem, as you so well noted earlier, is that there are a lot more and a lot more substantive reasons for the high prices than “gouging,” but the House GOP seems unable to make a case for correcting those real problems. It is that combination of an inability or unwillingness to do REAL solutions along with the mostly empty (and wholly ineffective) rhetoric on price-gouging that is so, well, let’s call it flat-out offensive. In contrast, my old boss Bob Livingston of Louisiana was on Fox News last Friday at the same time as Eleanor Clift, and HE actually took the fight to her. She started in with all the tommyrot about how the high prices are Bush’s fault, but he blew her out of the park with a concise list of policy mistakes for the last 30 years that led us to this point. E.g., Regs that keep refineries from being built. Regs that pretty much killed (until last year’s energy bill, in one of that bill’s few good provisions) the development of nuke energy here for 30 years. Prohibition of drilling within about a zillion miles of the oh-so-precious Florida coast, and in ANWR, AND off the coast even of states that want drilling (or appear to) such as Virginia. And so on. Note that all these policies go back to the Jimmy Carter days. Livingston made the case; he made it strongly and effectively. And there’s no reason why these nimrods now in Congress can’t do the same, if they only find some vertebra and some principle.
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