04/19/2005: More Implied Consent
More implied consent…G.W. apparently thinks the public, us John Q. and Jane Doe Citizenry, should just provide our “implied consent” to what ever hair-brained” agenda he now wishes to stoke the fire of boondoogle proposals with. It’s on to his “Energy Policy” as some magical carpet ride solution to lower current Pump Prices at your favorite Filler-Up station in yet another the text-book conflation of issues as ever dreamed up on a Texas Ranch.
Dan Froomkin (Washington Post) has this great piece on the issue now making the rounds of G.W. Public Dog & Pony Shows nationwide: Bush’s Gas Attack:
”Stung by a dramatic fall in his approval ratings at least partially due to public distress over rising gas prices, President Bush used his weekly radio address on Saturday to announce a new "first order of business": Getting Congress to pass his controversial and long-stalled energy bill.
"American families and small businesses across the country are feeling the pinch from rising gas prices," he said.
"In the coming days and weeks I'll talk more about what we need to do in Washington to make sure America has an energy policy that reflects the demands of a new century."
But what has one got to do with the other?
The president, famous for his implied linkages (remember Saddam and September 11?) certainly appears to be suggesting that passage of the energy bill would lower gas prices.
But energy experts agree that the bill's effects wouldn't be felt for years, and that gas prices in particular might not be affected much at all.
Opponents of the bill charge that its salient feature is massive tax breaks for the energy industry -- the very folks who have been profiting from the recent run-up in gas prices, even as their executives contributed to Bush's reelection campaign.
Nevertheless, if Bush can somehow persuade the public that there is a relationship between skyrocketing gas prices and passage of his energy bill, the political effect could be overpowering. (Remember Saddam and September 11?)
Judy Keen writes in USA TODAY with a preview of the tightrope Bush will walk Wednesday, when he talks about energy issues at a U.S.-Hispanic Chambers of Commerce event.
"President Bush will lament the high price of gas in an energy policy speech this week but doesn't plan to promise an immediate solution," Keen writes. His message will be "that passage of an energy bill that's been stuck in Congress for four years would have helped prevent soaring prices."
Dan Bartlett, Bush's communications guru, telegraphs to Keen that the president won't make any specific promises. "There's no magic wand that can reduce the price of gas overnight," he tells Keen.
But that doesn't mean he won't suggest linkages. "This is an issue that requires national debate as well as substantive change of policy and habits over time," Bartlett said.
As for things that could potentially bring gas prices down in the short term, the White House has rejected calls to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. "Bush spokesman Scott McClellan says the reserve should be kept for emergencies," Keen writes.
McClellan said that Bush will talk about gas prices when he meets next week with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah. But Keen writes: "Bush has not lobbied members of OPEC, the consortium of oil producers. In 1999, he criticized Vice President Gore for rising prices and said President Clinton 'must jawbone OPEC members to lower prices.' "
Richard W. Stevenson writes in the New York Times: "The White House has neither proposed nor backed any steps to address the immediate surge in gasoline prices."
As for Bush's energy legislation, Stevenson writes: "Although the bill would do little or nothing to address the current spike in crude oil and gasoline prices, Mr. Bush suggested that the legislation was necessary to deal with the underlying causes of it: the rapid worldwide growth in demand for energy and the reliance of the United States on foreign oil. . . .
"But some Democrats and their allies have said they intend to use the current climate to press their case that Mr. Bush has not gone nearly far enough in calling for conservation, tighter fuel-efficiency standards on cars and trucks, and development of alternative energy sources."
For more information, click on the link above to get the White House Web site's page on Bush's energy policy the Public Citizen's website.
Karen on 04.19.05 @ 08:41 AM CST