House conservatives have been engaging in political stunts to demand a vote on oil drilling. Last Friday, they stormed the floor after Congress adjourned “to attack Democrats for leaving town without doing something to lower gas prices.” Today, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) brought to the floor a “large garish photo” of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) with the words, “I am trying to save the planet” written beneath it. (Watch some of Friday’s shenanigans here.)
These conservatives are desperately trying to convince the American public that this crude political stunt is actually important. To do so, they are casting the protest as historic, akin to what happened at the founding of the nation:
— “Today is the 2008 version of the Boston Tea Party.” [Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ), 8/1/08]
— “Without your help we won’t be able to do anything…like the founders of this country we’re going directly to the American people.” [Rep. Tim Price (R-GA), 8/4/08]
— “Tell your congressman- we don’t want you back home. We want you in Washington. This could be America’s greatest hour. Insist that we come back to vote.” [Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL), 8/4/08]
— “As a part of their history-making efforts to continue the fight to lower gas prices, House Republicans held a press conference just a few moments ago to demand that Speaker Pelosi allow a vote on the American Energy Act.” [Blog of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), 8/4/08]
But even the White House refuses to endorse this political theater. Last Friday, Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Mike Pence (R-IN) asked the White House to “convene an immediate energy special session of Congress.” The Hill reports today that administration officials have rejected this request, deciding to sit out the so-called 2008 Boston Tea Party:
The White House has rejected calls from House Republicans that it convene a special session of Congress on energy, saying it wouldn’t make a difference.
“We don’t have plans to call Congress into session — it won’t make a difference if Democratic leaders are unwilling to bring up a bill for an up-down vote,” said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.
The conservative stunt is a waste of time. As even the White House has admitted, there is no “short-term” solution to high gas prices. Both the Energy Information Administration — and McCain’s own economic adviser — have stated that expanding offshore drilling “would not have a significant impact” on oil prices.
Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) today channeled Moses, stating, “Madam Speaker, let my people vote!” He received “rousing applause” from his fellow conservatives.
A real “tea party” would have people dumping the offending product. Bad analogy, once again.
Opening up drilling is “America’s greatest hour”? If so, welcome to disaster capitalism.