John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Energy on Energy

Posted on August 5, 2008

             A great deal of energy is being spent on the energy debate, and for good reason.  Right now, it is the hottest issue of the campaign.


            Republicans have refused to leave the House chamber as a way to protest Congressional inaction.   They have taken to this issue like a dog to a bone, and they are not letting go.


Speaker Nancy Pelosi has signaled to members of her caucus that they are free to vote their own way when they come back into session after the Republican convention.   But Congressional inaction might seal the fate of some of her most vulnerable members before they get the chance to vote against her.


John McCain has demanded that Pelosi bring the Congress back into session and has said that he will gladly come back to vote on a package that allows offshore drilling.   He has basically thrown the gauntlet down to Barack Obama and Pelosi and dared them to engage on the issue.


Obama has gingerly endorsed a bipartisan Senate plan on the issue but says that he won’t change his position on offshore drilling.  He has mocked McCain’s call to drill here and drill now, and he has tried to blame the oil companies, oil speculators, and just about anybody else you can think of for high costs.  He has also helpfully urged the American people to fill up their tires as a way to get better fuel mileage.


Obama is in a tough position.   He can’t go where McCain can go on drilling.  His environmentalist base would go completely bonkers if he did.  And since most of his young supporters are rabid environmentalists, he knows it will kill the energy that makes his campaign so unique. 


Obama also can’t go where McCain can go on nuclear energy.  Nuclear is the future, but Obama, the supposed futurist, can only look to the past.


Obama also is inconsistent.  He voted for the energy package endorsed by Vice President Cheney that he now condemns.  But at the same time, he condemns John McCain for not voting for it. McCain voted against it because he said it was full of pork, while Obama voted for it because it was full of Illinois pork.


Obama condemns McCain for taking contributions from Big Oil, while failing to mention that he has received almost a half million in contributions from Big Oil.


The American people want solutions to this issue.  McCain is winning this debate because he is proposing a simple and direct solution.  Obama is offering nothing but excuses and attacks.


The pundits tend to forget that the Paris Hilton ad was all about drilling and energy.   While I doubt the ad changed many votes, it certainly reminded voters that Obama was on the wrong side of the drilling debate. 


The energy on energy is all on the Republican side.  Democrats are on the defensive, and they will likely stay there until Pelosi and Obama capitulate to reality.  

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