The Futile Crusades of Dem Quixote - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Futile Crusades of Dem Quixote

Groucho Marx once observed, “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” And with that he perfectly described the modern Democratic Party’s approach to solving America‘s problems.

You name the issue, and the party led by Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi has diagnosed it incorrectly and applied the wrong remedy. Let’s consider just a few of today’s ills: oil prices, Iraq, and obesity.

First, the price of oil. Simply put, oil is so expensive because worldwide demand is rising faster than supply. The answer is to increase supply and, if possible, trim demand. Yet the Democratic leadership in Congress has proposed three methods for reducing the price of oil: 1) regulate speculators; 2) force oil companies to drill on land they already lease; 3) tax oil producers.

Not one of these ideas would increase supply or reduce demand. And the Democrats in Congress know this because experts testifying before their committees have told them. The chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission testified last week that there was no evidence speculators were significantly driving up the price of oil. They ignored him.

Economists have filled the pages of the Wall Street Journal and other financial publications with commentary explaining that drilling for more oil will reduce current oil prices even if not a drop is pumped for a decade. It’s basic supply and demand. The value of a barrel of oil today will drop if investors think it will be worth less in the future. Democrats in Congress stare blankly and demand the heads of “Wall Street speculators.”

As for the 68 million acres Democrats accuse oil companies of deliberately leaving undrilled so they can keep prices high, there isn’t a single shred of evidence to support the theory. On the contrary, oil companies don’t drill in those leases for three main reasons: 1) the oil underneath is already being tapped from a nearby lease; 2) the land was leased to protect a tapped well from competitors; 3) there’s no oil there. Democrats literally would force oil companies to drill where there is no oil. And meanwhile they continue to forbid drilling in areas known to contain vast reserves.

And, of course, slapping a “windfall profits tax” on oil companies will not produce a single additional drop of oil. Nor will it reduce demand. It will reduce the profits of pension funds and other oil company shareholders and leave less money to be invested in oil exploration, though.

When it comes to oil prices, the Democratic Party’s response is to attack Wall Street and Big Oil. There’s a good reason for this. Any step that would actually increase the supply of oil would negate the party’s claims that Republicans are the paid lapdogs of evil oil companies. The moment Democrats allow offshore drilling, for example, they will be forced to concede, if only by their actions, that the Republicans and the oil companies were right all along: drilling really is the answer. And, yes, it’s actually environmentally safe, too.

Unwilling to do that, they just scream even more loudly that Big Oil is to blame.

NOW, TAKE IRAQ. The Democratic Party in general and Barack Obama in particular have been proven completely wrong on Iraq. Obama opposed Gen. David Petraeus’s surge strategy from the moment it was offered. He not only said it wouldn’t work, he said it would make the situation worse.

Now that the surge has led to the realization of almost all of the benchmark goals the United States set for Iraq, does Obama change his tune? No, he continues to call for retreat. He continues to say we must withdraw all combat troops within 16 months of his inauguration, regardless of conditions on the ground.

What makes this even more interesting is that commanders in Iraq have made perfectly clear that Obama’s plan is insane. Gen. Petraeus told Congress that premature withdrawal would make the situation much worse. And this month the Washington Post interviewed numerous commanders in Iraq. When told of Obama’s plan, each commander, from captains to generals, opposed it. They all said any withdrawal would have to be based on ground conditions, not a preset timetable.

But just as Congress ignored the oil and financial experts who testified before their committees, they have ignored the commanders in Iraq, too.

Instead of winning this winnable war, Obama wants to pull out our combat forces and move them to Afghanistan. Why? Because that’s the position he took in the beginning. As with Congress and oil prices, Obama cannot change his position without acknowledging that he was wrong and John McCain was right.

FINALLY, LET’S LOOK at the alleged obesity epidemic. Supposedly, Americans are dangerously fat, and growing. What to do? Well, blame McDonald’s, naturally.

In New York City, the answer was to ban transfats. In Los Angeles, it is to ban fast food restaurants from poor neighborhoods. L.A. City Council member Jan Perry (guess which party?) wants to ban new fast food restaurants from South Central Los Angeles. She notes that the city health department has found that 29 percent of South-Central children are obese vs. 23 percent in L.A. County. From that statistic alone, she concludes that fast food is to blame.

“Some people will say, ‘Well, people just don’t have to eat it,'” she told the Washington Post. “But the fact of the matter is, what if you have no other choices?”

Marqueece Harris-Dawson, executive director of Community Coalition, based in South-Central, said, “You try to get a salad within 20 minutes of our location; it’s virtually impossible.”

But, um, McDonald’s serves salads. In fact, the AP photo that accompanied the Post story on Perry’s crusade featured a South Central McDonald’s. The largest single object in the photo was not the golden arches, but the sign advertising McDonald’s “new fruit & walnut salad.”

The Post story mentioned Taco Bell, Quiznos and KFC as some of the fast food restaurants supposedly offering South Central residents “no other choices,” in Perry’s words. But Taco Bell’s “Fresco” menu offers nine items with fewer than 9 grams of fat, including a salad with 8 grams of fat and only 350 calories. Quiznos offers eight subs, four sandwiches, three salads and four meals with 500 or fewer calories. KFC offers six different salads.

Evidently Marqueece Harris-Dawson doesn’t frequent any of the fast food restaurants she hopes her city council will shut down.

Obviously, it’s not the fast food restaurants that are making South Central kids fat. All of those restaurants offer low-calorie options. The residents of South Central just aren’t choosing them.

But, again, confronting the real problem — the eating and exercise habits of local residents — is not nearly as easy as blaming the corporations, which is what Democrats do best. And again, confronting the real problem would undermine the argument South Central politicians have used for years — that their ills are caused by outside forces.

IT WOULD BE GREAT to see Democrats do things like acknowledge facts, learn economics, and tell voters to take responsibility for their own actions. But then, if they did that, they wouldn’t get to tilt at windmills. The party has become a sort of bad parody of Don Quixote. Every fear is met with a charge at the nearest convenient target, even if everyone within earshot is shouting that it’s just a windmill. But the party charges on, convinced — or hoping to convince others — that it is on a just and brave crusade.

Unlike Don Quixote, however, this story isn’t funny. Because of Dem Quixote’s delusions, we’re still paying $4 a gallon for gasoline, fighting stupid regulations, and faced with the real possibility that we might retreat from a war we are winning.

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