Feckless To Reckless, Pelosi Should Resign
By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, July 14, 2008 4:20 PM PT
Leadership: With oil hitting $147, Nancy Pelosi finally admits energy is a problem. But instead of drilling for it, she’s cooked up a new drain-the-reserves scheme. It’s pure politics at a time of crisis. She ought to resign.
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Any leader with an energy record as derelict as Speaker Pelosi’s ought to step down. Where she once was just incompetent and irresponsible, she has now — with her latest scheme to fix oil prices — become dangerous.
Despite polls showing Americans in favor of drilling more oil from America’s huge untapped supplies, Pelosi won’t allow it. She just wants to empty our Strategic Petroleum Reserve for a short-term fix to get through Election Day.
It’s an irresponsible suggestion, signaling not only an ignorance of how the economy works but also a willingness to place the nation at risk in the case of emergency.
Last Tuesday, Pelosi sent a letter to President Bush urging him to release a “small portion” of the nation’s 706 million barrels of strategic-reserve oil to bring down prices. Regardless of how one feels about whether reserves should be held at all, two big problems stand out with Pelosi’s tiny demand.
One, she’s proposing a misappropriation of the reserves. The U.S. oil stockpile is a 58-day cushion for emergencies that today are all possible. If Israel attacks Iran, for example, and prices double again. Or if Hugo Chavez cuts off his supplies, as he threatened to do as recently as Sunday.
The reserve is there to cushion the blow of a market disruption; it’s not an open-market mechanism to manipulate prices for political ends.
Two, Pelosi has finally admitted that supply matters, something that contrasts with her entire legislative record. We count 14 energy actions to suppress supply on her Web site just since 2005.
She has blocked efforts to open Alaska to drilling, denounced fossil fuels, blamed oil companies for high gasoline prices, voted for biotech boondoggles and condemned speculators.
“Our coasts need lasting protection from oil and gas drilling,” she declared Dec. 6, 2006, after Democrats won control of Congress. Missing are any moves against petrotyrant regimes who drive prices skyward, or even lip service to the idea of ensuring supply through drilling.
Pelosi downplays her proposal as modest because it’s a “small” portion of the reserves to spend. And look what happened in 2000, she says, when an SPR release authorized by President Clinton lowered gasoline prices nearly 20%.
But she’s not fooling anyone. Then, like now, an election was coming up.
With Congress’ public approval at a subterranean 9% and falling, the speaker must be starting to realize that November may not be the Democratic cakewalk that pundits predict.
President Bush, however, isn’t about to be suckered into releasing the reserves just long enough for pump prices to fall by Election Day, thereby saving Democrats’ skins so they can carry on their drill-nothingism for an additional two years.
The president needs to do two things with Pelosi’s proposal: First, tell her “no,” unless she comes up with a plan to open up more drilling. Second, expose it for what it is — a bid to paint Bush as the problem to distract from her own sorry record.
In playing politics with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the speaker has moved beyond the incompetence and irresponsibility that have characterized her leadership to date.
It borders on reckless, something we cannot tolerate in such dangerous times.