"Faced with mounting economic and political concerns over rising gas prices, President Bush is pitching his energy plan."
Anybody who thinks that the Bush administration has an energy plan that’s designed to do anything besides line the pockets of his energy cronies for as long as possible…well, I have some prime swamp land in Arizona that will be of great interest to you.
Have we all forgotten the energy high jinks that began almost the minute George W. Bush stepped away from the inaugural podium in 2000? The rolling blackouts in California, hatched by the major energy companies, and carried out by honorable sorts who circulated emails about "screwing grandmas," scant months after Bush took office? Gasoline prices attaining immediate volatility, consistently soaring over $2 per gallon during the peak usage months, from Memorial Day through Labor Day?
Let’s take a quick look at that phenomenon. Every year, since Bush ascended to the presidency in 2000, gas prices have begun a meteoric rise in spring, reaching ever-increasing highs by the end of May, only to fall back dramatically in September. Even this year; crude oil prices rose sharply in December, but we didn’t see much increase in pump prices until April. Am I the only person in the country who detects the earmarks of unsavory manipulation in this pattern? Could it be that the powers-that-be understand that people would never stand for consistently inflated gas prices? So they hatch a plan to "make hay while the sun shines," profiteering during the summer months when people are more likely to rack up more driving miles, then scaling back prices during the winter months. Just to confuse things. Just to keep everyone off balance. And, of course, we buy right into this ruse by immediately hopping into our gas guzzling 4 x 4’s and driving all over creation between Memorial Day and Labor Day. But that’s a different rant.
The September 11th terrorist attack, and the ensuing foreign policy implosion, redirected the Bush Administration’s focus…for awhile. They managed to transmute that national tragedy into an excuse to advance their energy agenda on an international scale. Unfortunately, that little escapade has not expediently produced the desired product (a U.S.-friendly democracy in the middle of some of the Middle East’s prime oil fields.) Theaim now seems to be to as quickly as possible wrap up that less-than-successful endeavor, in the form of fast-tracking Iraqi elections and speed-training Iraqi security forces, presumably in preparation to hand them back their country, now that we have devastated it.
Realizing that time is growing short, the administration is now poised to take advantage of the golden opportunity of out-of-control energy prices (and I have a hard time believing those prices have escaped control without some covert assistance)to advance its agenda of returning a thousand-fold the investments that big energy interests made in both of Mr. Bush’s campaigns, by pushing the administration’s "Energy Bill."
"Mr. President, polls show that the American people are seriously concerned about rising energy costs…particularly the price of gasoline!" "Hmmm…gas prices…energy prices…energy policy… Hey wait! I have an energy policy! That one that Dick Cheney and Ken Lay came up with back in 2001! Let’s shove that back into Congress and tell my fellow Americans that I have a plan to solve all their energy problems." So Mr. Bush is now engaged in appearing, for the sake of the political mileage, to be concerned about how energy prices are affecting John Q. Public. All the while, seizing the opportunity to present his energy industry backers with profits, tax breaks, and favorable rollbacks in environmental standards for decades to come. And let’s not even talk about yesterday’s gratuitous photo op between Mr. Bush and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. How I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at that tea party!
Despite the oily grandstanding of Republican leaders who staged a press conference stumping for the Bush Energy Bill at a local D.C. gas station, directing cameras to zoom in on the price on the pumps, claiming the bill was "about gas prices, gas prices, gas prices," even Mr. Bush is careful to pronounce the caveat that the bill is not designed to provide immediate relief at the gas pumps. Of course it isn’t. We should begin to expect real relief in about…let’s see…three years, eight months, and twenty-four days. That is, if we can manage to elect a president in 2008 who is NOT bankrolled by big energy interests.