Republicans Running Scared

You know Republicans are running scared when they turn on those who helped them get elected. In the 2004 election cycle the oil industry gave $20,581,289 to the Republican Party according to opensecrets.org while giving less than $5,015,135 to Democrats.

It seemed to be money well-invested last year when The House approved an energy bill that provided “billions of dollars in tax breaks to boost domestic energy production, over the objections of lawmakers [i.e. Democrats] who called the measure a costly giveaway to the energy industry.“ Though even President Bush complained that the bill granted too many tax breaks, “the president, who began pushing for the bill with Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force four years ago, has been urging Congress to send him the legislation, especially as polls show widespread public frustration at the rising costs of gasoline.“

When the legislation was passed Bloomberg.com noted that “Oil companies such as Exxon Mobil and utility owners such as Southern spent $367 million over the past two years lobbying Congress on energy legislation, according to data from PoliticalMoneyLine and the Center for Responsive Politics. The legislation contains tax breaks of $1.6 billion for oil and gas producers and refiners and $3.1 billion for utilities.“ Though it seems unlikely that such lobbying efforts would sway savvy politicians, it does cast some doubts on the sincerity of recent Republican politicians who argue that such subsidies should be withdrawn now that voters are outraged by record prices at the gas pump.

Today, though, nearly all Republicans, including the President, are calling for those tax breaks to be repealed. On Tuesday Bush called on “Congress to rollback $2 billion in tax breaks for oil companies over the next 10 years for items such as write-offs of certain geological and geophysical expenditures or for research and development for deep water drilling.? according to CNN.

Perhaps not unexpectedly, though, he also announced that he would “grant temporary waivers of some environmental regulations“ and renewed calls for drilling in the Arctic, though it was unclear how these efforts might help stem gas price increases in the near future.

Far be it from me to suggest that this sudden reversal of policies smacks of hypocrisy and to wonder if such concerns will last beyond the next election. Of course, one might also wonder if voters‘ memories will stretch even that far.

One thought on “Republicans Running Scared

  1. I suspect when it’s all said and done, we’ll find that those tax breaks are still nestled safely in their little beds. The Republicans will make noises about repealing them now, but they’ll depend on the great unwashed masses to forget about them in a few months.

What do you think?